Planning application process

Planning and building control


Updates to planning services during COVID-19 

Our Development Management Team are continuing to run a ‘business as usual’ service as far as possible during the COVID-19 outbreak.

We are still open and accepting, validating and registering all types of planning applications, although we are asking applicants and agents to work with us to enable some of the usual processes involved in determining an application to be carried out. 

Duty Planner service

There is no on-site duty planner service at present for householder pre application advice. The Council’s contact centre is extremely busy as present and therefore we would encourage you to use our website to answer any queries you have

Pre-application advice

We will continue to offer a pre-application advice service, using virtual meeting platforms such as MS Teams or Zoom for small, medium and major proposals.  For householder pre application advice we are offering a written response service rather than our usual face to face service, and we are aiming to get a short response to you within 28 days.

Consultation on planning applications

The Council is required to publicise certain types of planning applications and other related consents by way of a site notice in at least one place on or near the land to which the application relates for not less than 21 days.  In light of the Government’s advice regarding staying at home and social distancing the Council is unable to put up site notices at this time.

Therefore, we are emailing the site notice, for those applications, to the agent / applicant and asking them to put up the site notice. The notice must be placed on or near the land to which the application relates, where it can be easily seen, for a period of at least 21 days. This can be in the window of the property if it can be seen from the street. If it is put up externally, for example on a lamp post, fence etc, it should be laminated, or placed in a clear plastic folder/wallet.

If you put up the site notice, you must send to the Council a photograph of the site notice in situ, clearly showing where it has been placed, to the planning case officer.

Consultation letters are being sent to neighbouring residents as usual by post.

Viewing planning applications

The Council’s Planning Offices are closed to the public and therefore it will not be possible to view applications in person. Applications can be viewed on-line, via the Council’s planning search webpage.

Assessment of planning applications

Unfortunately, Waltham Forest Planning Officers are also no longer able to continue to carry out site visits for planning applications. Therefore, the case officer will be asking the applicant / agent to submit photographs of the site and neighbouring properties and a live video 360 degrees of the whole site and context. If we receive any objections to proposals, we will of course be asking objectors to also submit photographs and a live video. We will be using these submissions in combination with google earth/street view to view the site in context.

If, from the details we receive from applicants / agents and neighbours, we are concerned that this will not enable a sufficient assessment of the proposal, then unfortunately we will have to delay the determination of the application and ask applicants / agents to agree an extension of time until such time that we can carry out a site visit in person.

Set out below are the limits on the types and size of files we can receive, which is an extract from our local validation checklist.

File Type

  • All drawings should be attached as .pdf (Adobe Acrobat) files.
  • Other files types that will be accepted are .jpg, .doc and .xls files only.
  • All files should be clearly labelled / named referencing the drawings they contain.

File Size

  • The maximum size of any single attachment must be no more than 5MB.
  • All drawings submitted electronically must be A3 or smaller.

For live videos please use file types that can be viewed in windows media player such as .mov (from an iphone), .asf, .asx, .wax, .wm, .wma, .wmd, .wmv, .wvx, .wmp, and .wmx.

As we are all working remotely at present, we are having issues with receiving larger files by WeTransfer, if you are using Microsoft Outlook then please use Mimecast; alternatively please save the document / video into a one drive file and share it with the case officer.

Where we are able to, the Council will continue to assess and determine planning applications.

Planning Committee

The Council successfully held its Planning Committee on 31 March 2020, and it is our intention going forward to continue to hold virtual Planning Committees, please check the Council’s website to confirm dates of future meetings and the agendas. Details of committee and speaking arrangements will be notified to those that have made representations. The Council is taking all appropriate precautions to maintain the safety of the public, officers and Members. We will be webcasting the meeting on YouTube / MS Teams, so you do not need to attend in person. Webcast will be available here on YouTube.

Objectors and supporters/agents/applicants can register to speak in the normal way; you will be able to do this via MS Teams. If you were planning to register to speak but would rather not do so via MS Teams, you can submit a written objection which will be read out by a Council Officer.

Please email this to

Correspondence by post

While the Council is still receiving post, there may be delays in delivery to the Council and receipt by the Planning Department. Therefore we would strongly encourage you to use electronic means instead.

Section 106 

We are continuing to negotiate s106 heads of terms and agreements virtually and are able to seal and issue agreements whilst working remotely. If you have any queries over s106 agreements please contact your planning case officer or the s106 monitoring officer.


This step-by-step guide explains what happens when you make an application for planning permission.

  1. Check if you need planning permission 
  2. Check the cost of your application – Use the fee calculator on the government’s Planning Portal
  3. Ensure you have provided the correct information with your application 
  4. (For additional floorspace over 100 square metres) Check if you need to be assessed for the Community Infrastructure Levy (see section below)
  5. (For major developments) Check if carbon reduction standards apply to your application (see section below)
  6. Make your application for planning permission 
  7. We will validate and acknowledge the planning application 
  8. We will consult the necessary parties on your planning application 
  9. A site visit is carried out by the case officer 
  10. We will review your application and make a recommendation (see section below)
  11. We will make a decision on your application 
  12. A decision notice is issued (see section below)

If you aren't happy with the decision we issue, you can make an appeal (see section below).

The CIL is a fee charged on new developments by the Mayor of London and councils in England to help pay for facilities and community services such as transport schemes, schools/colleges and medical/health services.

For more information and to check if this applies to your proposed work please go to our Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) page.

Zero carbon standards apply to all new major residential developments (10 or more housing units). This means that financial contributions will be required to ‘offset’ all carbon emissions through the council’s Carbon Offset Fund.

For more information on carbon standards go to our planning obligations page.

The case officer will review your application, taking into account:

  • local and national policies – for more information go to our local plan pages
  • any responses received from statutory consultees (for example the GLA, Transport for London, Historic England, Environment Agency) and other interested parties

The case officer will visit the site, will write a report which will include an assessment of the proposal and make a recommendation to either grant permission or to refuse permission.

Material considerations that the officer will take into account when assessing your proposal include:

  • layout / density
  • scale and massing
  • privacy
  • daylight / sunlight/ overshadowing
  • access / traffic
  • local economy
  • design / appearance
  • noise / smell
  • landscape
  • cumulative impact
  • previous similar decisions.

Non-material considerations that will not be taken into account:

  • history of the applicant
  • loss of a private view
  • commercial competition
  • change from previous scheme
  • impact on property value
  • restrictive covenants
  • ownership of land / right of access

Amendments to proposals, once submitted

In general, we don't negotiate once an application is submitted. However if the case officer thinks that minor changes will make the proposal acceptable, they may request these during the application process.

However, if significant changes are required to make the scheme acceptable, or the proposal is contrary to policy and it is unlikely that minor changes could overcome these issues, the case officer will progress your application to a determination without conducting negotiations. 



Decision notices Click to get info

We aim to decide planning applications within:

  • eight weeks for minor applications
  • 13 weeks for major applications
  • 16 weeks for major applications with an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

Please note that time periods may differ from those stated above where an alternative time period has been agreed with the agent or applicant.

Why haven’t I got a decision on my planning application yet?

Please first check your emails as we usually send them to the email address given by your agent or by you if you did not use an agent. All decisions are also available on our planning applications search.

If you still find that you have not received a decision and you did not use an agent, then please contact your case officer directly. Your case officer’s details are provided on your acknowledgement letter.

If you used an agent for your application then all correspondence and enquiries will go through them. They will receive the decision notice. We will not discuss a case with an applicant where there is an agent. This is to avoid misunderstandings and miscommunication.