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Southwark Planning applications access

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Thursday 1 November 2007 8.28pm
I find it very strange that the Southwark planning website does not allow anybody to access to the relevant documents related to any planning applications. Every other local council in London allows member of the public to access & comment on planning applications. So why not Southwark?

Considering the amount of major developments & large projects in Southwark, some of which have a bearing on London as a whole it seems very suspicious as to why. It only seems to benefit developers who get to put forward large schemes under the noses of most of the public.
Friday 2 November 2007 1.30pm
You should write to the councillors on the Planning Committee, and/or your ward councillor, highlighting this specific problem.

Public access to planning applications is a legal requirement and you can view all documents at the council offices if you can't get them online, but in principle online access should be avialable to all applications and their documents too.

They might tell you on occasion that there are "resource shortages" but in the longer term there is no excuse!
Friday 2 November 2007 1.36pm
I just looked on their website and indeed the entire thing is set up not to provide any documents online. I'm quite surprised!

I think I'll write in myself.
Friday 2 November 2007 1.40pm
I asked a staff member last month and she said it would happen soon...i told her they said that last year..
Friday 2 November 2007 2.27pm
I was surprised to see that councils such as High Wycombe upload all submitted planning application documents and drawings as soon as applications are received yet nothing like this happens in Southwark!

Problem with looking at documents at council offices is that it's during office hours only when of course I am working myself. Taking half a day off work to look at a planning application is a substantial sacrifice I did once as it was for an applictaion next door.

However, I for one would be most interested to look at all application submitted in my neighbourhood - if only to know what's happening there.

maybe we all should send a letter to the council - would be much easier if there was a template letter though.....
Friday 2 November 2007 2.40pm
Template away Tak...we'll copy it...
Friday 2 November 2007 4.07pm
I am halfway through writing something... I'm a planning consultant by day, and I can confirm that a lot of authorities do make all documents available online!

It is not difficult or especially costly. 70 councils put their documents up via and other councils use a system called "PublicAccess Expert" or their own software.

The government set up a strategy in 2004 for e-planning - view it at

There is a contact name there who may be able to explain why councils like Southwark are able to drag their heels.
Friday 2 November 2007 11.35pm
I have actually written to the planning email on the planning website. I got a reply that it would be up soon (this was way back)in February. I have since sent a couple of emails & got replies saying the person dealing with this will get back. They never did.

Many other councils have had documents online for a number of years.
Monday 7 January 2008 1.31pm
Planning applications will start to be available online this week:

Editor of the London SE1 website.
Subscribe to our SE1 Direct weekly newsletter.
Monday 7 January 2008 2.33pm
Excellent news :)
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