Who we are

We are the planning department for Merton council. This privacy notice explains how we use information in the course of our work as a local planning authority. This work includes:

  • making decisions and providing advice on planning applications
  • making planning policies
  • working with neighbourhoods on their plans
  • working with neighbouring authorities on strategic policies
  • responding to allegations of unlawful development
  • monitoring development
  • entering legal agreements, serving notices and promoting the best use of land.

If you have questions about data or privacy, contact our data protection team at data.protection@merton.gov.uk

How we get your information

We get applicant information in two ways – it is supplied to us directly (either by applicants or via a planning agent on their behalf) or we receive it from a third party website that provides a transaction service. These include:

  • The Planning Portal
  • iApply.

We also receive comments, representations, allegations and questions via email, letter, and through our platform(s).

What we do with your information

To allow us to make decisions on their applications individuals must provide us with some personal data (e.g. name, address, contact details). In a small number of circumstances individuals will provide us with "special category data" in support of their application (e.g. evidence of medical history).

We use the information provided to us to make decisions about the use of land in the public interest. This is known as a "public task" and is why we do not need you to "opt in" to allow your information to be used.

Some information provided to us we are obliged under the regulations to make available on planning registers. This is a permanent record of our planning decisions that form part of the planning history of a site, along with other facts that form part of the "land search". 

How we share your information

We do not sell your information to other organisations. We do not move your information beyond the UK. We do not use your information for automated decision making.

We will make details of planning applications available online so that people can contribute their comments. We will sometimes need to share the information we have with other parts of the council, for example to establish how long a building has been used as a dwelling.

Redaction ('blanking things out')

We operate a policy where we routinely redact the following details before making forms and documents available online:

  • personal contact details for the applicant - e.g. telephone numbers, email addresses
  • signatures
  • special category data such as supporting statements that include information about health conditions or ethnic origin
  • information agreed to be confidential.

Sometimes we might decide it is necessary, justified and lawful to disclose data that appears in the list above. In these circumstances we will let you know of our intention before we publish anything.

If you are submitting supporting information which you would like to be treated confidentially or wish to be specifically withheld from the public register, please let us know as soon as you can - ideally in advance of submitting the application. The best way to contact us about this issue is at planning@merton.gov.uk.

Retention ('how long we keep your information for')

We process many different types of information according to our retention policy. A brief summary of long we keep things before they are destroyed:

  • statutory registers (e.g. planning decisions, approved plans, legal agreements) – forever
  • supporting documents, reports – six years for committee decisions, four years for officer decisions
  • representations, letters, general correspondence – four years.

Complaints and problems

Making decisions on planning matters is a public task and you do not have the right to withdraw consent. However if you think we have got something wrong or there is a reason you would prefer for something to not be disclosed please ask us by contacting planning@merton.gov.uk. If you need to make a complaint specifically about the way we have processed your data you should in the first instance visit our Corporate Complaints page. If we fail to respond properly you can direct your concerns to the Information Commissioner's Office.

Data Protection Officer

If you have any questions about our privacy practices, you can get in touch by email or post:


Data Protection Officer
London Borough of Merton
Civic Centre
London Road