Planning Applications


London’s diverse heritage assets contribute to its status as a World Class City.  Designated assets currently include 4 World Heritage Sites, over 1,000 conservation areas, almost 19,000 listed buildings, over 150 registered parks and gardens, more than 150 scheduled monuments and 1 battlefield!

These heritage assets range from the Georgian squares of Bloomsbury to Kew Gardens and the Royal Parks, and include ancient places of work like the Inns of Court, distinctive residential areas like Hampstead Garden Suburb and vibrant town centres and shopping areas like the West End. This sheer variety is an important element of London’s vibrant economic success, world class status and unique character.

Success is the result of hard work, learning from failure and persistence”

— Colin Powell


The Planning Departments of the London Boroughs play a critical role in preserving that heritage.  Hence applications for planning permission probably receive a higher degree of scrutiny than provincial applications for similar developments. Notwithstanding, it would be wrong to presume that the difficulties in securing planning consent are purely down to concerns relating to preservation and town planning issues.  Because that is actually only part of the picture.

Another important factor as to why planning is such a challenge is because the planning process at local authority level, can be open to political influence from Council Members –  and awarding consents for developments has rarely got anybody elected.  If it’s not a crowd pleaser, then it ain’t a vote winner. 


It is important to clarify that an application for a comparatively straightforward extension, will require only a proportion of the documents we’ve listed below.  Regardless of this, support documents still need to be robust and comprehensive. 

So, what does a planning application actually involve? What do you have to provide in order to start? We’ve taken the Basements Supplementary Planning Document as an example below. A basement development application now requires over a dozen different documents! These include but are not limited to:

  • Planning Pre-Advice Report  A report provided by the Local Authority Planning Officer (undertaken for a fee), which provides the council’s perspective on the potential of the site for development.
  • Architectural Designs  Plans, elevations & sections providing detailed design drawing  information on the proposal.
  • Geotechnical Investigation  A site investigation involving the collation of desk study information, appraisal  of bore-hole data, assessment of ground investigation & the provision of an interpretive report.
  • Tree Report  A tree survey undertaken by a arboricultural consultant including a BS 537 impact assessment on the effect of the works on local trees.
  • Drainage design  Sustainable drainage design to provide environmentally beneficial site drainage solutions. 
  • Planning Statement  A statement demonstrating how the proposal accords with the emerging planning policies allied to basement development.
  • Heritage Statement  A statement aiming to explain the minimal impact of the proposal upon the historic building or conservation area.
  • Structural Design  Plans, sections & calculations detailing the structural integrity of the proposed design.
  • Construction Traffic Management Plan  Proposal detailing the contingencies to mitigate the impact of the proposed works, including; site deliveries, waste removal & storage upon resident’s parking and local traffic.
  • Design & Access Statement  An outline of the design principles and concepts that have been applied to the proposed development.
  • Flood Risk Assessment  Report detailing the potential likelihood & impact upon the site of any future flooding, including the management of the risk.
  • Daylight Study This report by a specialist consultant assesses the impact of developments upon the level of light filtering to neighbouring property.
  • Construction Method Statement  An outline of the approach to managing the construction works, including specific comments on; site establishment, logistics, environmental management, noise and dust control

At Dick Whittington Design & Build, we’ve spent years helping clients navigate planning applications and the building regulations. Our innovative design and build approach means you get a turnkey service that includes everything from creating conceptual drawings and plans, to applying for and securing planning consent through to construction and delivery of your finished project.

In terms of the planning application process, it means that we act on your behalf to manage the all-important activity of getting your chosen design through the planning stage, providing all the necessary plans and justifications required by your local authority. This attention to detail increases the chances that a design will be approved.  Likewise, throughout the process, our design team will provide creative input to  any required changes and amendments to ensure your vision remains at the heart of the final, approved design. 


There is no easy path to securing planning consents.  It’s a matter of knowing planning regulations inside-out and tenaciously extinguishing the hundreds of potential opportunities for a refusal.