Planning application process

Pre application advice

We offer a pre-application advice service and encourage applicants, developers and their agents to engage with this service, particularly on major or complex development proposals.

We have a formal process for advice on certain categories of development but also offer advice on smaller developments and householder works.

Pre-application advice can be useful in indicating whether your proposed works are likely to be acceptable, or what changes might make them acceptable in planning terms.

For further information visit our pre application advice page.

Submitting an application

For an application to be considered as valid by the Council it will need to include a range of information.

Along with the appropriate application form and fee this will usually include documents such as plans, a location map and statements describing aspects of the application.

These will vary depending on the details and scale of the proposals.

Please note that you can only submit one proposal per application. It is not possible to submit alternative options within the same submission.

For an application to be considered as valid it must meet both national and local validation requirements.

The national requirements establish a core and mandatory list of information required for a valid application.

Local requirements are those which have been adopted by the Council and are also required for a valid application.

You may wish to consider appointing an agent to handle your application and act on your behalf. 

This can be anyone that you choose to appoint, for example a builder, architect, surveyor, planning consultant or anyone else familiar with the planning process. 

We are not able to recommend a particular agent so would suggest that you seek advice from appropriately qualified professionals.

Useful professional bodies include:

Only those individuals listed on the Statutory Register of Architects are allowed to call themselves architects.

A checklist has been produced for each application type setting out both national and local validation requirements.

The checklists can be viewed next to the relevant application on our validation checklists page.

Our preferred way of receiving an application is online.

To enable our customers to submit planning applications online, we work in partnership with the Planning Portal.

Alternatively, you can submit your application by post.

If you intend to submit any personal information to support your application over and above the personal information that the application form and certificate(s) require, please let us know and submit it as a separate document with your application.


Once an application has been submitted the company TerraQuest will start to validate it on our behalf.

So it can be validated, your application should be submitted via the Planning Portal, emailed to or posted to: 
Planning Applications
PO Box 17308
Birmingham B2 2DF

Please note any applications sent directly to Havering’s Planning Department will be forwarded to TerraQuest to process, which could result in unnecessary delays.

Once received by TerraQuest, your planning application is checked by one of their validation officers to make sure everything has been supplied to assess it.

If anything is missing, TerraQuest will contact you (or your representative) explaining what else is required.

If you include an email address on your application form contact will be made by email.

When everything is in order, the application will be registered as valid.

The date that all the necessary information is received to validate an application marks the starting point of the target period, by the end of which, Havering’s Planning Officers will normally have made a decision on the application.

This will usually be eight weeks for smaller applications (such as house extensions) and 13 weeks for larger developments (such as 10 or more new flats).

If you have any queries regarding the validation of an application you have submitted to Havering please email and one of the team will be happy to assist you.


Once an application is validated it will be allocated to a Havering Planning Officer and an acknowledgement letter to the applicant or their agent.

This letter states the date by which we will aim to have made a decision on the application.

Those who  may be interested in new planning applications, will be consulted by Terraquest, allowing at least 21 days for responses.

Depending on the type of application, consultation may also take place using one or more of the following methods:

  • Individual letters to neighbours
  • A site notice (usually attached to a lamp post or other fixture near to the site)
  • Press adverts (Romford Recorder)

Anyone is entitled to submit comments on a current planning application regardless of whether or not they were personally consulted.

Comments may be submitted online through our online planning searches facility, by email to or by post.

When submitting comments please remember to quote the reference number of the application and your name and address so that we can send you an acknowledgement.

For further information about planning application consultation please visit our planning consultations page

Reaching a recommendation

After an applications consultation period has expired, the case officer will complete a full evaluation of the application and agree the appropriate decision level for the application.

During the evaluation, the officer will assess the application against local, regional and national policies, advice and comments received in the consultation and other information, including:

  • Observations from visiting the site
  • Relevant planning policies contained in the Council's Local Plan and adopted documents
  • National and regional planning policies
  • Comments received through the consultation process
  • Design and layout
  • External appearance and materials
  • Access for disabled people
  • Impact on the amenities of neighbours (eg loss of daylight, sunlight and privacy)
  • Noise nuisance
  • Traffic and parking issues
  • Loss or increase of a particular type of use of land

The case officer will then write a report which recommends that planning permission either be granted or refused.

Making a decision

Decisions on planning applications are made either under delegated powers or by the Regulatory Services (Planning) Committee.

Under delegated powers, senior planning officers have the authority to make decisions to grant or refuse planning permission.

These decisions are mostly on applications for smaller scale developments (such as alterations, small extensions to property, conversions and straightforward changes of use) or refusals of permission.

The Regulatory Services Committee usually consider applications for large scale redevelopments, or controversial changes of use such as applications involving restaurant or takeaway uses.

Planning officers present reports and recommendations to the Elected Councillors who sit on the Committee. It is these Elected Councillors who decide whether to grant or refuse planning permission for these applications.

Decision notices

We will email the decision notice to the applicant or agent, not both, if an email address has been provided.

If there is no email address we will send it by second class mail. We write to anyone who has made a representation, telling them the outcome of the application.