We are the Planning and Building Control Department for the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. This privacy notice explains how we use information in the course of our work as a local authority. This work includes:
- making decisions and providing advice on planning applications
- responding to allegations of unlawful development
- monitoring development
- entering legal agreements, serving notices and promoting the best use of land
- providing property search information
- naming or renaming streets and numbering or naming dwellings
- making decisions and providing advice on Building Control applications
If you have questions about data or privacy contact our Data Protection Officer by email at DPO@towerhamlets.gov.uk or write to Information Governance Manager, Legal Services, London Borough of Tower Hamlets, Town Hall, Mulberry Place, 5 Clove Crescent, London, E14 2BG.
Condition for processing personal data
It is necessary for us to process your personal data (name, address, contact details), under the GDPR as a task carried out in the public interest, and more personal data including health, personal and household circumstances as necessary for substantial public interest reasons.
How we collect your information
We receive applicant information in numerous ways – it is supplied to us directly from the applicant or on behalf of the following but not exclusive to, planning agents/solicitors/developers/builders. We may also receive information from a third party website that provides a transaction service. These currently include but are not exclusive to:
- the Planning Portal
- National Land Information Service (NLIS)
- TM searches.
We also receive comments, representations, allegations and questions via email, letter, and through our platform(s) such as the Planning and Building Control webpage or the online Planning Register. We may also be given information passed on via local councillors.
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 or the documentary evidence required for self-builders to prove residency).
We use the information provided to us to make planning 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.
We are obliged under the regulations to make available on planning registers some information provided to us in relation to planning applications. This is a permanent record of our planning decisions that form part of the planning history of a site. Planning and Building Control information along with other facts may form part of a "land searches".
How we share your information
We do not sell your information to other organisations. We do not routinely share data with any organisation outside the UK, but our website is available across the internet and we communicate with applicants and stakeholders wherever they are. We do not use your information for automated decision making.
We will make details of planning applications available online so that people and organisations can contribute their comments. We will sometimes need to share the information we have with other parts of the council and other statutory bodies such as London Fire Brigade and Historic England. This could be 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 such as phone numbers and email addresses
- Special Category Data - e.g. 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 to email ahead to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Retention ('how long we keep your information for')
We process many different types of information according to our Retention and disposal schedule. A brief summary of how long we keep things before they are destroyed:
|Information type||Retention period|
|Statutory registers (e.g. planning decisions, approved plans, legal agreements)
|Supporting documents, reports - committee decisions
|Supporting documents, reports - officer decisions
|Representations, letters, general correspondence
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 initially by emailing email@example.com.
You can find out more about your rights on our data protection page.
If you need to make a complaint specifically about the way we have processed your data you should in the first instance contact the council’s Data Protection Officer via email at DPO@towerhamlets.gov.uk. If we fail to respond properly you can direct your concerns to the Information Commissioners Office.