Planning pre-application advice

Getting pre-application advice can help to improve the quality of planning applications and their likelihood of success. This can be achieved by:

  • providing an understanding of the relevant planning policies and other material considerations associated with a proposed development
  • working collaboratively and openly with the council and interested parties at an early stage to identify and seek to resolve issues associated with a proposed development
  • discussing the possible mitigation of the impact of a proposed development, including any planning conditions
  • identifying the information required to accompany a formal planning application, thus reducing the likelihood of delays at the validation stage
  • putting in place a Planning Performance Agreement (PPA) where this would help with managing the process and agreeing any dedicated resources for progressing the application.

Tower Hamlets offers a pre-application planning advice service.

Our Pre-application advice guide explains how to use the service, what we offer and what you can expect.

How to submit your request 

If you don't already have an account, please register and submit a Pre-application advice request form.

Follow-up meeting requests

Some pre-application advice requests may need extra meetings.

A planning officer will usually have been in touch about them beforehand.

You can set up extra meetings through the Pre-application advice request form.

Duty planning officer service

We also offer a duty planner service for general planning enquiries. They can help with the interpretation of plans submitted with an application that might affect you.

The best way to get in touch about this is with the Planning free advice form.

Our customer service team are available from 9am to 1pm Monday to Fridays on 020 7364 5009.

A duty planning officer will be available from 9am to 1pm.

Please be aware that the drop in service at Mulberry Place has been suspended because of Covid-19.

Planning performance agreements (PPAs)

The government encourages the use of planning performance agreements (PPAs) anyone seeking planning permission for larger scale or complex planning proposals.

PPA’s are voluntary agreements between local planning authorities (councils) and an applicant or someone seeking pre-application advice. They allow for a bespoke service to be agreed and provide a project management framework so that unnecessary delay and uncertainty can be avoided.

We encourage the use of PPA’s because they help to:

  • bring together the developer, the local planning authority (council) and key stakeholders to work collaboratively throughout the planning process;
  • ensure complex proposals progress through the process from pre-application stage to application submission and decision to mutually-agreed timescales, without being constrained by the 13 or 16 week statutory timeframe;
  • identify key contacts for easier communication between the developer and the council;
  • ensure appropriate resources and expertise are provided to advise on complex proposals;
  • provide greater opportunity for dialogue through the planning process (pre-application stage, planning application stage and the post decision stages) and help deliver high-quality development.

You can ask for advice on whether your proposal may be suitable for a PPA at pre-application stage, or upon initial contact from the planning officer.

PPA administration fees

Further to previous consultation and feedback, a new Planning Performance Agreement (PPA) administration fee Iis charged for all new PPAs. The fees is charged prior to the PPA being signed, either at pre-application discussion stage or prior to an aplication being submitted.  

The administration fee will be used to manage the PPA processes and  resources including the appointment of external technical consultants.

The fees are:

  • £25,000 for larger scale major development
  •  (more than 35 new homes or 5,000 square metres of non-residential floor space)
  • £30,000 for development which requires an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

Isle of Dogs & South Poplar Community Panel

The Community Development Panel provides local views and recommendations to LB Tower Hamlets at key stages of the planning process for the developments in the Isle of Dogs and South Poplar.

The group ensures that new development considers opportunities to create a better urban environment for the people living and working in the area, both now and in the future.

The group meets to discuss policy and development proposals and to give its views. They review all significant development proposals in the Isle of Dogs and South Poplar area at early pre-application stage.

These discussions are turned into a formal report and feed into decisions made by Tower Hamlets and the Tower Hamlets Development Committee or Strategic Development Committee.

The group’s recommendations are taken seriously, and planning applicants are expected to respond to each one.

The group has 13 members, who have been appointed through an application and interview process. They all live locally, and members include people of different ages and backgrounds, reflecting the diverse make-up of the Isle of Dogs and South Poplar community.

The group is chaired by David Ubaka, an independent community engagement consultant.

Answer:

The London Borough of Tower Hamlets has established a new Community Development Panel (CDP) for the Isle of Dogs & South Poplar (IoD&SP), managed by Frame Projects.

The IoD&SP Opportunity Area Planning Framework (OAPF) sets out a plan to manage and deliver sustainable growth, encouraging communities to participate in the process to ensure development delivers benefits for all residents in the area.

Established as part of the OAPF Delivery Plan, the CDP consists of 13 residents drawn from a cross-section of the local population from the area. Headed by an independent Chair, David Ubaka, it brings local knowledge to the forefront to provide insights into what the important outcomes of development are for those living within the OAPF area. The CDP will provide independent advice on planning, development, housing, transport, public and green spaces, and other priorities important to the Isle of Dogs & South Poplar.

The CDP reviews significant schemes at early pre-application stage, to influence their design development to better meet the needs of the area’s communities. It is an integral part of the pre-application process and an excellent opportunity for applicant teams to engage with local residents in a formal setting.

Discussions from the CDP are written up as formal reports within 10 working days of the meeting. The formal report will be material to the consideration of any subsequent planning application and the views of the Panel will be reported in any future Committee Report, for consideration by Members at planning sub- committee.

The CDP is managed by Frame Projects, an independent consultancy, to ensure it remains independent, properly briefed, and able to effectively communicate its views to the Council. Frame provides panel members with the support needed to fulfil their role, including training, to ensure they are able to engage effectively with proposals.

As schemes reviewed by the CDP are at pre- application stage, the discussions held and formal reports resulting from it are shared confidentially with applicants and the Council and are only made public once a full planning application has been submitted.

The CDP meets monthly on Tuesday evenings from 6.30-8.30pm.

Meeting dates 2022

25 January, 22 February, 22 March, 26 April, 24 May and 28 June

The charge for CDP meetings for 2022 is £3,500+VAT. The meeting charge includes a £500 contribution to a pool which is used to fund development and training sessions for panel members, who are all volunteers, and future panel recruitment. 

For more information about the CDP, and to discuss bringing a scheme to the panel, please contact Sally Fraser, Planning Team Leader (East), at sally.fraser@towerhamlets.gov.uk.

Development infrastructure coordination service

Intrastructure Coordination Logo

The new development infrastructure coordination service supports developers with providing essential information regarding local utility infrastructure.

The coordinator can interface with infrastructure providers and ensure that development connections are delivered in a timely and efficient manner, reducing disruption.

The service was created with The Mayor of London and further information can be found on the Developer Infrastructure Coordination service website.

The infrastructure coordinator can be contacted by email at ics@towerhamlets.gov.uk and can be used to support developments from pre-application through delivery on site.