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The City of London Corporation is committed to providing high quality services within the resources available for all users of the Development Management Service. We aim to deal with everyone in an open and fair manner.

This page sets out the standards for the Development Management Service. It is not a statement of the law and you should seek independent planning advice when appropriate.

Before undertaking any works to a property or changing a use you should ensure the correct permissions or consents are in place.

Development management

Development Management is the term used for the process of promoting proper planning and sustainable development and deciding whether to grant or refuse planning permission and other related consents.

This is primarily through the Town & Country Planning Act 1990, the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990 and subsequent amendments, Orders and Regulations.

These require local planning authorities to regulate the use and development of land in the public interest and to make decisions in accordance with their statutory plans unless other material planning considerations indicate otherwise.

What the development division does

The Development Division deals with applications for planning permission, listed building consent, advertisement consent, works to protected trees and other planning matters. It deals with planning enforcement investigations and, where necessary, takes action against breaches of planning control. It provides advice, information and guidance through meetings, correspondence and telephone and is staffed by experienced Planning Officers, supported by administrative officers.

The Development Division processes over 1,000 planning applications a year and deals with some of the largest and highest profile cases in the UK. In order to process these applications the department ensures that it has the expertise and resources necessary to provide a high quality Development Management Service.

The Division is divided into three sections; Development Management, Design and Historic Environment. Its work is carried out under the direction of the Chief Planning Officer and Development Director who reports to the Director of the Built Environment. These officers are involved in development proposals, major policy implications, reporting to committee and making decisions. The Development Division provides expert advice on development management matters including highways, urban design, heritage assets, conservation and archaeology.

Advice on planning policy is provided by the Planning Policy and the Transportation and Public Realm Divisions. These divisions are involved in negotiations and discussions as appropriate. Information is also drawn from other departments and from statutory and other consultees.

Processing applications

The Development Division aims to determine all properly submitted applications within the following time scales:

  • 60% of all major applications (over 1,000sq m or over 10 residential units) in 13 weeks
  • 65% of minor applications (under 1,000sq m) in eight weeks and
  • 75% of "Other" applications (listed building consent, conservation area consent, advertisement consent and applications for change of use) in eight weeks.
  • Applications in respect of works to trees, telecommunications, etc. within the deadlines set out in legislation unless there are valid reasons for not doing so.

Where an Environmental Statement is submitted the planning authority is given 16 weeks to determine the application by the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations.

The Division undertakes to:

  • Notify applicants within five working days that their application has been treated as complete, registered and allocated to a case officer, or that further information is needed in order to make the application complete.
  • Advise at the earliest opportunity if further information and/or amendments are needed in order to determine the application.
  • Inform the applicant, upon request, of progress in respect of the application.
  • Inform the applicant of the progress of the application four weeks after it has been registered and allocated to a case officer.

Applicants and other parties are requested to assist the efficient running of the service by giving early replies to correspondence, submitting appropriate drawings and materials in the quantities necessary and in digital format, providing revised details and information and arranging site visits and meetings.

Pre-application advice

The City Corporation attaches considerable importance to providing applicants with advice before an application is submitted. This helps speed up the process, helps understanding of the planning considerations and reduces the likelihood of planning permission being refused.

A charge is made for many pre-application meetings and a schedule of charges is available on the pre-application advice webpage.

Appointments to discuss proposed development or specific planning issues are arranged to take place within two weeks or such other time as is convenient to the parties concerned.

The City Corporation offers the following services:

  • Advice - assistance and guidance is given to applicants before and after applications are submitted. Advice is provided at meetings, in writing, by telephone and by email.
  • Negotiations - proposals are discussed with applicants to ensure that technical and other advice is provided and that the development meets the development plan policies and achieves the highest standards of sustainability and design.
  • Enquiries office - a public counter service is provided where information may be obtained in person between 9.30am and 4.30pm, Monday to Friday.
  • Planning officer - A professional officer is available to give general advice without an appointment between 9.30am and 4.30pm, Monday to Friday.
  • Website - the planning section of the website contains information on town planning in the City of London, including planning policy documents, application forms, advice on what information is needed with applications and records of planning applications previously submitted.

Publicity and consultation

An important part of the development management process is to provide information and to seek and hear the views of all those with an interest in the planning process. The City Corporation informs people of planning applications in a number of different ways.

All consultations are carried out within seven working days of validating an application. Newspaper publicity takes place as described below.

The following methods are used:

  • Website - details of current applications and the weekly list are on the website. The public may submit comments on any valid planning application by going to the view or comment on planning applications
  • Site notices - a public notice is displayed on or near the site within ten working days of receipt of all valid and relevant applications for planning permission, listed building consent, conservation area consent, works to trees with preservation orders and removal of trees in conservation areas.

The following methods of consultation are additionally used in appropriate cases:

  • Neighbour notification - letters are sent to residents in the vicinity who may be affected by the proposal and in certain circumstances, to owners and occupiers of public buildings such as churches. The City Corporation will consult residents in other local authorities who are considered to be affected by development proposals in the City. Normally, 21 days will be provided to comment although sometimes there will be a shorter response period.
  • Newspaper - when required by law, on alternate Tuesdays an advertisement will be placed in the Evening Standard. This relates to some applications for planning permission, listed building consent and conservation area consent.
  • Content of applications - the City Corporation will require applicants to provide appropriate illustrative material to assist the public in understanding proposals, which may include photo-montages, perspectives and models.
  • Consultation with other bodies - the City Corporation consults specific organisations in accordance with the statutory requirements and other bodies when appropriate, including the City of London Conservation Area Advisory Committee and the City of London Access Group.
  • Comments can be submitted by letter, emailing the team or via the view or comment on planning applications page.
  • Grounds for objection - the issues raised must involve planning matters; non-planning matters cannot be taken into consideration when a decision is taken. Further guidance on what constitutes a relevant matter is on the view or comment on planning applications page.
  • Availability of applications to view - applications are available to view at the Department of the Built Environment enquiries desk which is open between 9.30am and 4.30pm Monday to Friday, where an officer is available to assist and at other times by appointment. Applications can be viewed on the view or comment on planning applications page.
  • Site visits - application sites are visited by planning officers. Neighbouring premises may be visited if a neighbour asks for assistance in understanding a proposal or wishes to demonstrate a concern.
  • Consultation by Applicants - The City Corporation greatly encourages applicants to engage with the community at the pre-application stage. Such engagement should be proportionate to the nature and the scale of any proposed development. Whilst there is currently no statutory requirement to carry out pre-application consultation for most forms of development, the National Planning Policy Framework indicates that such engagement at an early stage can improve the speed at which applications are determined and the more issues resolved at the pre-application stage the greater benefits for all the parties.

Decision making

The City of London Corporation undertakes to:

  • Acknowledge all comments on applications in writing or by email within three working days of receipt. People making representations will be told who the Case Officer is and their contact details. Comments will be available to view on the view or comment on planning applications page.
  • Consultation on revised proposals. Comments are conveyed to applicants and where significant revisions are made the City Corporation will notify those it considers would be affected and who have commented on the proposal.
  • Committee and Delegated Reports. When an application is referred to the Planning and Transportation Committee, a summary of all relevant comments or objections are included in the report and the comments are attached or placed in the Members' Reading Room. In the case of delegated decisions, the comments are summarised in the report and held on the planning file.
  • Public speaking at Committee – When an application is considered by the Planning & Transportation Committee, individuals and persons representing organisations may speak at the Committee meeting, subject to current guidelines (65KB). Everyone who has made comments on an application being considered by the Committee will be advised of the date and the arrangements for public speaking at the committee.

Informing people of decisions on planning applications

It is important that planning decisions are open and transparent. Decisions on planning applications are made exceptionally by the Court of Common Council and more usually by the Planning and Transportation Committee, the Chief Planning Officer or other nominated officers. The criteria for determining who takes the decision are set out in the Planning & Transportation Committee's terms of reference and the Delegation Instrument, you can email the team and request a hard copy.

Reports to Committee or for a delegated decision set out the material considerations of a planning application. Conditions of planning permission or reasons for refusal are attached to the report.

When applications for planning permission accord with the policies contained within the development plan, no more than four objections to the proposal have been received and the proposal raises no major planning issues the decision is normally taken under Delegated Powers by a nominated senior planning officer. Over 90% of planning applications are dealt with in this way.

Major applications and planning applications that have received more than four objections or are recommended for refusal are considered by the Planning and Transportation Committee, which normally meets on a three-weekly cycle. Agendas and committee reports are available from the Town Clerk six working days before the meeting and can also be viewed via the Planning and Transport Committee meetings and agenda page.

  • Issue of decisions - decisions on planning applications are issued within two working days of the decision being made and are available via the Public Access page.
  • Notification of decisions - People and organisations that make representations in respect of an application are notified of the decision within three days of the decision being issued.
  • Weekly list of applications determined – this is available on the City of London's weekly list page.

Environmental Impact Assessment Cases

Some applications require an Environmental Impact Assessment.

Such applications require a number of distinct and separate procedures and requirements. The City of London undertakes to carry out its duties in respect of scoping, screening and processing such applications and notifying its reasons in accordance with the requirements set out in the Regulations.


Under the planning system the applicant has a right to appeal against a refusal of consent or against conditions attached to a planning permission. The City of London's approach to pre-application discussions, negotiations and seeking amendments, leads to very few appeals. Over 95% of planning applications made to the City of London are granted and less than 1% go to appeal each year.

When appeals are made the Development Division will:

  • Notify people and organisations about the original application and other people who made observations on the original planning application will be notified about the appeal as required by the relevant government regulations. The regulations specify that in the case of a householder or minor commercial application, in the event of an appeal that proceeds by way of the expedited procedure, any representations made about the application will be passed to the Secretary of State and there will be no opportunity to make further representations.
  • Prepare its evidence for a public local inquiry, informal hearing or written representations in accordance with its statutory duties pursuant to the planning inquiry rules and procedures.
  • Provide experienced witnesses and appropriate statements and be effectively represented at public local inquiries.


The Development Division will investigate alleged breaches of planning control which are brought to its attention. Please go to the Planning Enforcement page for details.

Dissatisfied with the service?

Every effort will be made to ensure that you receive a good quality service. If you have a complaint about our service please email us - the Performance and Standards Officer at the Department of the Built Environment. Your complaint will be investigated and you will be written to within ten working days with an explanation or a progress report if it has not been possible to deal with your complaint within that period. If you are still dissatisfied you may make a complaint under the City of London Corporation's Complaints Procedure.


All enquiries for information relating to Town Planning and related matters should be made to the City's Contact Centre on 020 7332 1710 or email the team

The Department's public counter service is open between 9.30am and 4.30pm Monday to Friday. It is located on the Ground Floor of Guildhall, North Wing, entrance A on the map on the how to find us page.

The Department of the Built Environment
PO Box 270
London EC2P 2EJ
020 7332 1710
Email the team