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Service standards

Date updated: 21/12/2023

The City of London Corporation is committed to providing a high-quality service with the resources available for all users of the Development Management Service, provided by the Development Management Division.

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

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

These statutes 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.

The Division is divided into two sections; Development Management and Design (including Historic Environment). The head of the Division is the Chief Planning Officer and Development Director who reports to the Executive Director, Environment.

The 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 and where necessary acts against breaches of planning control.

It provides information and advice at both pre-application and post application stages, through meetings, site visits, correspondence and by telephone on, amongst other matters, development management, urban design, heritage assets, conservation, archaeology and highways.

The Division considers that pre-application advice is very important. It ensures that the applicant receives technical advice and that the development meets the Development Plans policies and achieves the highest standards of sustainability and design before the planning application is submitted.

Advice can be provided in writing, by telephone or in a meeting. The Division offers two types of pre-application advice schemes; the Pre-planning application advice scheme provides individual meetings, arranged one by one as necessary, paid for individually. Alternatively, for proposals that raise complex issues the Planning Performance Agreement scheme provides an agreed schedule of meetings for a one-off fee.

We aim to process a request for pre-application advice within a week of receipt of the documents and fee, if one is applicable. If a meeting is needed, this will be arranged as soon as possible thereafter at a time convenient to the applicant applicant.

There is a duty planning officer available at the Planning Enquiry Desk between 9.30am-4.30pm, Monday to Friday.

The Division's approach results in over 95% of planning applications being granted and fewer than 1% going to appeal each year.

The Division aims to determine all properly submitted applications within these timescales:

  • 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.
  • The Division must determine an application where an Environmental Statement has been submitted within 16 weeks.

It is permissible to ask the applicant for an extension of time where necessary.

The Division undertakes to

  • Notify the applicant within five working days when the application is complete, registered and allocated to a case officer, or that further information is needed in order to make the application complete.
  • Advise the applicant as soon as possible if more information and/or amendments are needed in order to determine the application.
  • Inform the applicant, on request, of progress in respect of the application.
  • Inform the applicant four weeks after it has been registered, of its progress
  • Consult in accordance with the Statement of Community Involvement
  • Acknowledge comments on applications in writing or by email within three working days of receipt. The acknowledgement includes the Case Officer’s name and contact details.
  • Re-consult those people who have commented on a proposal that has been significantly revised.
  • Include the comments in the Planning Subcommittee report if the decision is made by the Committee, which is available on the website or include a summary of the comments in the report, if the decision is made under Delegated Powers, which is held on the application file.
  • Issue a decision on a planning application within two working days of the decision being made and make it available on Public Access
  • Notify people and organisations that made comments of the decision, within three days of the decision being issued.
  • A planning officer is available at the Planning Enquiry Desk service between 9.30am-4.30pm, Monday to Friday to give general advice without an appointment.

Some applications require an Environmental Impact Assessment. These applications require several other requirements and procedures. The Division undertakes to carry out its duties in respect of scoping, screening and processing these applications and notifying its reasons in accordance with the requirements set out in the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations.

An important part of the development management process is to obtain the views of those with an interest in a planning application. Consultations are carried out within seven working days of validating an application. An application is valid when sufficient information is received to consider it.

The Development Management Division consults in a number of ways

Comments on applications can be submitted via view or comment on a planning application or direct at Public Access. This is the preferred method of receiving comments.

A site notice is put up on or near the development 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 site notice provides information on how to comment on the application.

Applications are available to view at the Planning Enquiry Desk between 9.30am-4.30pm Monday to Friday and at other times by appointment.

Comments must be in writing. Comments can be submitted by letter or by email to Planning Comments.

In appropriate cases following methods are used

  • Letters are sent to residents in the vicinity of the proposal who may be affected by it and in certain circumstances, to owners and occupiers of public buildings such as churches. The Division consults 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.
  • An advertisement is put in City A.M. when required by law on alternate Tuesdays. This relates to some applications for planning permission, listed building consent and conservation area consent.
  • The Division consults specific organisations when statutorily required and other bodies when appropriate, e.g. the Twentieth Century Society, the City of London Conservation Area Advisory Committee and the City of London Access Group.
  • The Statement of Community Involvement encourages the applicant to engage with the community at the pre-application stage in accordance with the National Planning Policy Framework which advises that engagement at an early stage can improve the speed at which an application is determined and the more issues resolved at the pre-application stage the greater benefits for all the parties.

It is important that planning decisions are open and transparent. Decisions on planning applications are made by the Planning and Development Director, the Planning Subcommittee and exceptionally by the Court of Common Council. The criteria for determining who makes the decision are set out in the Planning and Transportation Committee's Terms of Reference and the Delegation Instrument which grants Delegated Powers to officers. You can ask for a hard copy by emailing the Planning Team.

When an application complies with the relevant Development Plans policies, there are no more than four objections and the proposal does not raise any major planning issues the decision is normally taken under Delegated Powers by the Planning and Development Director. Over 90% of planning applications are dealt with in this way.

Very significant applications and other planning applications that have received more than nine objections or are recommended for refusal are considered by the Planning Subcommittee, which meets on a three-weekly cycle.

An applicant has a right to appeal against a refusal of permission or against conditions attached to a planning permission.

When an appeal is made the Division will

  • Notify people and organisations who commented on the application of the appeal, as required by the relevant regulations. The regulations specify that in the case of a householder or minor commercial application appeal which is processed the Planning Inspectorate by way of the expedited procedure, any representations made about the application will be passed to the Secretary of State and there is 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.
  • Make appropriate statements, provide experienced witnesses and ensure that the City Corporation is effectively represented at public local inquiries.

Planning enforcement will be carried out in accordance with the Enforcement Plan.

If you have a complaint about the service, email the Environment Department Performance and Standards team. Your complaint will be investigated and you will receive a written reply within ten working days 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