We provide a pre-application planning advice service for all schemes including:
- householder development
- any development involving changes of use or the provision of new floorspace
- any application requiring a certificate of lawful development
The fees and cost of the service can be found on this page. A fee is charged for each submission or proposal.
If you submit a scheme and then seek to amend the scheme before advice is finalised you will be subject to additional fees.
Some advice is also available online: see 'Other sources of advice' (below).
What the fee provides
- information on relevant policies and the planning requirements
- advice on estimated timescale to process applications
- the information required to make applications valid
- Section 106 matters including likely heads of terms
- best practice consultation methods
Fees and procedures vary depending on what category your proposal is in.
Fees are non-refundable and will cover the costs of providing the service and, therefore, will not be deductible from any subsequent planning application fee.
Planning Performance Agreement
The Planning Service has been better able to provide a dedicated planning officer and draw in additional resources in recent years through the use of PPA's. This can help speed up the planning process., PPA's can be a useful tool in agreeing key issues with an applicant, levels of performance and rates of response from the local planning authority. In turn this can provide an applicant with a greater degree of certainty in respect of project timelines.
Each agreement tends to be unique to the particular application and you can talk to the case officer at pre-application state about what is involved and the likely fee. Any agreement does not infer a positive recommendation is guaranteed, although every effort is made to positively process such applications. Please see Planning performance agreements (GOV.UK website)
Procedure for categories A, B and C
Requests for pre-application advice can be made by submitting the Pre-Application Advice Form (66kB)
The following information must be submitted in order for the application to be accepted:
- Site location plan (scale 1:1250)
- Description/Schedule of uses
- Outline of proposal (on plans scale 1:200/1:100)
- Sketch drawings showing height/scale of development in relation to street scene.
- For larger sites other information may be required including potentially EIA related information or a draft Environmental statement.
The form, documents and fee can be submitted via post. If you want to submit the application in person at the Civic Centre then you must go to the Cash Office between the hours of 10am and 12pm, pay the fee using the reference H01130RB03 and obtain TWO copies of the receipt – one for your records and one to be attached to the application form. Once you have done that you may then hand the application to the staff at reception.
Once received the following procedure will apply:
- Forms passed to Team Leader who will identify the specialist advice / information required and whether a meeting is necessary. Applicant is advised within 5 working days.
- Team Leader allocates to appropriate officer
- All documents passed to planning administration team to record and monitor for purposes of audit / training etc.
- Case officer will arrange meeting date/availability of officers and send confirmation letter to applicants.
- Upon completion of meeting the officer will update system, prepare written advice; which will be cleared by Team Leader / Section Manager
For large-scale development with highly complex issues there may be a need for a series of meetings, with several specialist officers. These cases may require an adjustment to the fees; any such adjustment is to be agreed before submission.
Category 'A' proposals – Large-scale, Complex, Major Development
- Provision of 50 or more residential dwellings (including conversion)
- Provision of 2000m² or more of floor space
- Change of use of buildings or land over 2000m²
- Mixed-use developments where the combined floor space is over 2000m²
- Development involving a site of 1ha and over
- Developments requiring an Environmental Impact Assessment
- Development requiring the submission of an Environmental Statement under the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations.
- Planning/ development briefs/ frameworks
- Sites for which the landowner wishes to establish their potential value, or
- where such briefs for potential developers will expedite the development process.
Category 'B' proposals – Major Development
- Provision of 10 - 49 residential dwellings (including conversion)
- Provision of 1000m² - 1999m² of floor space
- Change of use of buildings or land between 1000m² – 1999 m²
- Development involving a site of 0.5ha – 0.99ha
- Composite proposals for telecommunication masts/equipment – 10 or more sites
- Mixed use developments where the combined floor space is between 1000m² - 1999m²
Category 'C' proposals - Minor development
- Provision of 1 - 9 residential dwellings (including conversion)
- Provision of 100m² - 999m² of floor space
- Change of use of buildings or land between 100m² -999m²
- Individual proposals for telecommunications equipment and masts not being confirmation of permitted development
- Advertisement applications
- Complex listed building applications
Procedure for category D
Please note that the advice given under this category will only be verbal - no written responses will be given.
You can email us to book an appointment. It would be helpful if you included items that would help the officer understand the nature of the site and the proposal (e.g. photos, site map, sketches). You can also submit a completed pre-application advice form.
In either case you can tell us which day and time you would prefer Monday to Friday, 9am to 11am. The appointments are for 15 minutes and the slots are in 20-minute intervals; therefore the first appointment would start at 9am, would finish at 9.15am and the next appointment would start at 9.20am. Please note that we cannot guarantee to meet your preference.
Payment should be in advance by cheque payable to "London Borough of Merton". It is possible to pay by cheque on the day but please note that this will cause a delay and may shorten the time spent discussing your proposal.
We try to make sure that the meeting will be booked within 3 days of any request.
Category 'D' proposals – small-scale and householder development and lawful development certificates
- Provision of 1m² - 99m² of floor space
- Change of use of buildings or land between 1m² - 99m²
- Householder applications (small extensions/alterations)
- Certificates of Lawful development - for non-householder related applications such as confirmation of existing lawful use
Planning applications and appeals - £35.00 (each)
Enforcement Notices - £35.00 (each)
Tree Preservation Orders - £35.00 (each)
Completed Section 106 Agreements - £35.00 each
Each A4 sheet - £2.00 (each)
Each A3 sheet - £2.30 (each)
Any advice given by council officers for pre-application enquiries does not indicate any formal decision by the council as local planning authority.
Any views or opinions expressed are given in good faith, and to the best of ability without prejudice to the formal consideration of any planning application following statutory public consultation, the issues raised and evaluation of all available information.
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, which will be subject to the proviso that circumstances and information may change or come to light that could alter the position.
It should be noted that the weight given to pre-application advice notes would decline over time. Advice for schemes submitted more than three years after the date will not be valid.
Other sources of advice
London Borough of Merton
DX: Morden 41650