What we can advise you on
The London Borough of Bexley welcomes and encourages pre-application discussion before a planning application is submitted.
We seek to process all applications within government targets, however, it is highly likely that applications submitted following a pre-application discussion will progress faster, particularly where the applicant has taken on board the issues raised and suggestions made by us in the pre-application stage.
Matters suitable for discussion
If you come to us for pre-application advice, we can discuss:
- information on the relevant policies and other planning requirements
- advice regarding the procedure, consultation, and estimated timescale in regard to the process of the application
- the required information for making a valid planning application
- indication of the likely requirement for contributions by the developer, such as levels of affordable housing or highways payments
- informal and without prejudice comments and guidance on the content, construction and presentation of an application likely to satisfy the Council's planning policies
Information we need from you
The Council will require sufficient information to enable a quality pre-application advice service to be provided.
- a description of the proposed development and schedule of proposed uses
- a site location plan (scale 1:1250)
- photographs and sketch drawings showing the site, buildings and trees as existing, together with the schedule of uses
- outline of the proposal (on plans scale 1:200)
- sketch drawings showing height/scale of development
- information on affordable housing where appropriate
- available information on traffic generation, servicing, access arrangements and parking. This should normally include as a minimum the initial scoping report on transport issues
Standards of service
For Category 'A', ‘B’, ‘C’ ‘D’ and '' ‘E’* we will acknowledge receipt of the pre-application advice request and undertake an internal consultation exercise. Meetings are normally held at Civic Offices, 2 Watling Street, Bexleyheath.
Following the meeting, a detailed advice letter will be sent within 15 working days outlining the major planning issues, constraints and requirements.
For Category ‘F’ and ‘G’* (where no meeting is sought), a written response will be provided within 15 working days after receipt of a written request for advice. Where a meeting only is requested, the meeting shall take place 15 working days after the date of submission.
Where a meeting and written response has been requested, a written response will be provided 15 working days after the meeting date.
*Pre-application categories are outlined at Pre-planning services and fees.
If you wish to make a preliminary initial enquiry about this service, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note: Any advice given by Council officers for pre-application enquiries does not constitute a formal response or decision of the council with regards to future planning consents.
Any views or opinions expressed are given in good faith without prejudice to the formal consideration of any planning application, which will be subject to public notification and statutory/non-statutory consultations, and ultimately decided by the Council.
You should, therefore, be aware that officers cannot give guarantees about the final formal decision that will be made on your planning or related applications.
However, the pre-application advice will be taken into account in the determination of the future planning related applications, subject to the proviso that circumstances and information may change or come to light that could alter the position.
It should be noted that if the planning application is delayed for a significant period then any pre-application advice may be overtaken by changes in national, regional or local policy and guidance.
Types of service and fees
The fee includes the amount of time taken on a case by a planning officer, from the investigation stage to the actual meeting and/or the final written comment.
- Category A - £10,455 (meeting and written response)
- Category B - £7,841 (meeting and written response)
- Category C - £4,702 (meeting and written response)
- Category D - £2,613 (meeting and written response)
- Category E - £360 for 1 residential unit or 100sqm of non-residential floorspace (net) or 100sqm of change of use and an additional £205 for each residential unit or 100sqm of non-residential (meeting and written response)
- Category F - £235 (written response) / £367 (meeting up to one hour) / £550 (meeting and written response)
- Category G - £132 (written response) / £205 (meeting up to one hour) / £285 (meeting and written response)
Any subsequent or follow-up meeting would be half the original fee e.g. an initial Category C meeting and two follow-up meetings (and responses) would be £9,404 (£4,702+£2,351+£2,351).
All fees above are inclusive of VAT.
Exemptions: For Category G requests, if you are registered disabled and the advice is to create an access to your property, or you need assistance understanding plans or guidance the fee will be exempt.
- development proposals includes provision of net 100 or more residential units, creation or change of use of 10,000 m² or more (net) of non-residential floor space or development on a site of more than four hectares
- development proposals includes provision of between net 50-99 residential units (inclusive), creation or change of use of 5,000 – 9,999m² (net) of non-residential floor space (inclusive) or development on a site of between three and four hectares.
- development proposals includes provision of 25-49 net residential units (inclusive), creation or change of use of 2,500 – 4,999m² (net) of non-residential floor space (inclusive) or development on a site of between two and three hectares.
- development proposals includes provision of 10-24 net residential units (inclusive), creation or change of use of 1,000 – 2,500m² (net) of non-residential floor space (inclusive) or development on a site of between one and two hectares.
- development proposals includes provision of 1-9 net residential units (inclusive), creation of or change of use of 100m² to 999m² (net) of non-residential floorspace (inclusive), advertisement application for hoardings or proposals for telecommunications equipment and masts
- small commercial proposals includes extensions to commercial premises under 100m², changes of use of commercial premises under 100m² or advertisements other than hoardings
- householder and small residential proposals, extension to a dwelling house or single flat, alterations to a dwelling house or single flat (including vehicular access), outbuildings and other structures in domestic gardens, business use from a dwelling house or the creation of up to one additional residential unit
Payment of charges
The standard fee for all Categories must be received before the pre-application case can be progressed.
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 both include a presumption in favour of disclosure of information, including pre-application discussions, unless such disclosure would cause adverse impacts (Regulation 12(5) Environment Information Regulations 2004) or is exempt information (Part 2 of the FOI Act 2000). If an applicant has reason for requesting that the council keep advice confidential they should make a reasoned request in writing to the council prior to the pre-application discussions taking place. The council retains discretion in regard to decisions on disclosure of information in any instance. The council will reach a decision in each case where a request has been made, and in doing so will have to balance the interests of furthering trust with the prospective applicant against the advantage of engaging the community more widely in discussions. Once an application is submitted the expectation is that the pre-application advice will come into the public arena.