Pre-planning application advice service

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.

The matters suitable for discussion at the pre-application advice meeting could include:

  • information on the relevant policies and other planning requirements
  • advice regarding the procedure, consultation, and estimated time scale 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

The Council will require sufficient information to enable a quality advice service to be provided. This includes:

  • 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 proposal (on plans scale 1:200)
  • sketch drawings showing height / scale of development
  • information on affordable housing where appropriate
  • information on sustainability measures
  • available information on traffic generation, servicing, access arrangements and parking. This should normally include as a minimum the initial scoping report on transport issues
  • for larger sites other information may be required, including potentially EIA related information or a draft environmental statement

For Category 'A' and 'B'* the case officer will aim to acknowledge receipt of the pre-application advice request within seven working days of receiving the submission and will undertake an internal consultation exercise. Subject to the availability of all required information, the case officer will contact you within a further seven working days to arrange a pre-application planning advice meeting. Meetings are normally held at Civic Offices, 2 Watling Street, Bexleyheath.

Following the meeting, a detailed advice letter will be sent within 14 working days outlining the major planning issues, constraints and requirements, which have been agreed by senior management. In some circumstances further research, site investigation or meetings will be required and will be subject to additional charges.

For Category 'C' and 'D'* (where no meeting is sought) a response will aim to be provided within 10 working days after receipt of a written request for advice. If a meeting is requested, the case officer will aim to contact you to arrange this within 10 working days.

*Pre-application categories are outlined at Pre-planning services and fees.

If you wish to make a preliminary initial enquiry about this service, email developmentcontrol@bexley.gov.uk.

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.

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 - Major developments £2940
  • Category B - Minor developments £1000
  • Category C - Small commercial - £170 (written response) / £290 (meeting up to one hour)
  • Category D - Householder, small residential - £90 (written response) / £115 (meeting up to one hour)
  • Scheme exceptions - No fee

Category A

  • major development proposals includes provision of 10 or more residential units, residential development on a site of more than 0.5 hectares, creation or change of use of over 1000 m² of commercial floor space, non-residential development on a site of more than one hectare

Category B

  • minor development proposals includes provision of commercial development of 100-999 square metres, creation of two to nine new residential, changes of use of 100m² to 999m², advertisement application for hoardings, proposals for Telecommunications equipment and masts

Category C

  • small commercial proposals includes extensions to commercial premises under 100 square metres, changes of use of commercial premises under 100 square metres, advertisements other than hoardings, flat conversions

Category D

  • householder and small residential proposals includes single new houses, extension to a dwelling house, alterations to a dwelling house (including vehicular access), outbuildings and other structures in domestic gardens, business use from a dwelling house

Additional information

The fee includes any amount of time taken on a case by a planning officer, from the investigation stage to the final written comment. The charge for Category A major development proposals includes attendance of up to four professional officers at the meeting from a range of disciplines as necessary for example, development control, planning policy, highways, environmental health, architects, conservation, housing. The charge for Category B Minor development proposals includes attendance of up to two professional officers. The charge for category C and D proposals include the attendance of one professional officer.

Where further additional officers are required at meetings to give specialist advice additional charges will apply. The appropriate hourly rate for officers' time is dependent upon their seniority, as set out below:

  • professional officers up to Bexley 15 - £150
  • team leaders and senior officers Bexley 16 to B19 - £190
  • head of service to Bexley 20/21 grade - £220

Separate pre-application meetings can be arranged to discuss transport and highway issues with the Council's transport planners and development engineers, for which the same protocol and charges apply.

Payment of charges

The standard fee for all Categories must be received before the pre-application case can be progressed. 

  • additional charges will be invoiced within 10 working days from the date of final comment. Invoices must be settled within 21 days. If a meeting is cancelled charges may be made for any pre-meeting enquiries or other investigations that have been carried out
  • the Council fees where stipulated in this guidance note are flat rate fees for the current financial year
  • cheques should be made payable to London Borough of Bexley

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.