Development management privacy notice

We are the planning department for Southampton City Council. This privacy notice explains how we use information in the course of our work as a local planning authority. This work includes:

  • Making decisions and providing advice on planning applications
  • Making planning policies and development plan documents, including local plans
  • Working with neighbourhoods on their plans
  • Working with neighbouring authorities on strategic policies
  • Responding to allegations of unlawful development
  • Monitoring development
  • Entering legal agreements, serving notices and promoting the best use of land

This notice should be read in conjunction with our global privacy notice and when appropriate, we will provide a “just in time” notice to cover any additional processing activities not mentioned in this notice.

In this notice

How we get your information

We get applicant information in two ways – it is supplied to us directly (or via a planning agent on their behalf) or we receive it from a third-party website that provides a transaction service (The Planning Portal).

We also receive comments, representations, allegations and questions via email, letter, and through our platform Public Access.

What personal data we process and why

The information we process about you will fall within the following categories:

  • Personal details, including any information that identifies the data subject and their personal characteristics

To allow us to make decisions on their applications, individuals must provide us with some personal data (e.g. name, address, contact details). In a small number of circumstances individuals will provide us with ‘special category data’ in support of their application (e.g. evidence of medical history).

Lawful basis for processing your personal data

Depending on the service, we rely on the following lawful basis for processing your personal data under the UK GDPR:

  • Article 6(1)(c) so we can comply with a legal obligation
  • Article 6(1)(e) for the performance of our public task.

We use the information provided to us to make decisions about the use of land in the public interest. The lawful basis for this is known as a ‘public task’ and is why we do not need your explicit consent for your information to be used.

Some information provided to us we are legally obliged to make available on planning registers. This is a permanent record of our planning decisions that form part of the planning history of a site, along with other facts that form part of the ‘land search’.

Special category data

Where the information we process is special category data, for example your health data, the additional bases for processing that we rely on are:

  • Article 9(2)(g) for reasons of substantial public interest

In addition, we rely on processing conditions at Schedule 1 of the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA2018). This relates to the processing of special category data for:

  • Statutory etc. and government purposes (Part 2)

Our Policy on Processing Special Category Data provides further information about this processing.

How long we keep your personal data

We process many different types of information according to our retention schedule. A brief summary of long we keep things before they are usually destroyed:

  • Statutory registers (e.g. planning decisions, approved plans): for ever
  • Supporting documents, reports: six years for committee decisions, four years for officer decisions
  • Representations, letters, general correspondence: four years

Some supporting documents relating to major or otherwise significant developments may not be destroyed but instead removed from public registers.

Data Sharing

In performing this service, it may be necessary for us to share some of your personal data with external organisations or internal departments. We may share information with the following types of organisations:

  • Central Government Departments – including the Planning Inspectorate should there be an appeal
  • Ombudsmen and Regulatory Authorities
  • Other Local Authorities

We make details of planning applications we receive available online so that other people can contribute their comments. Please note:

  • We do publish the name of the person applying for planning permission along with the address
  • We don’t publish their signature, contact details
  • We publish comments received on planning applications by members of the public. We redact some details of the comments, and names and addresses
  • We publish comments received on planning applications by town and parish councils / amenity groups / statutory consultees

We send some planning applications to our statutory consultees for their advice on safety, infrastructure and other matters. We will sometimes need to share the information we have with other parts of the council – for example, to establish how long a building has been used as a dwelling.

In circumstances where a planning application is appealed, we are required to share data from a planning application with the Planning Inspectorate, which includes any comments made by statutory consultees and members of the public. . We also share information with the Planning Inspectorate when they examine our local plan. This includes the names of site promoters and people submitting representations on the plan.

We also send out a follow-up ‘how did we do?’ survey to a sample of people using our service (e.g. by submitting or commenting on a planning application) to see how we can improve it.

In some circumstances, such as under a court order, we are legally obliged to share information, and we may also share information with the Police and other enforcement agencies for the purposes of the prevention, investigation, detection, or prosecution of criminal offences.

We may also share information internally, in order to verify or confirm your personal details, to ensure our records are accurate and up-to-date. Data held by this service will only be used by other internal departments or services when we are satisfied there is a lawful basis for doing so, and that is it fair.

Do we use any data processors?

Data processors are third parties who provide certain parts of our services for us. We have contracts in place with them and they cannot do anything with your personal information unless we have instructed them to do so. Our current data processors for this service are listed below.

Data Processor Purpose Privacy Notice
(supplier IDOX)
The system used to manage:
• Planning and Building Control services
• Environmental Health
• Trading Standards
• Licensing
• Community Safety services
IDOX Group

Transfers of personal data

No data is transferred overseas as part of this service.

Automated decision making

No automated decision making takes place as part of this service.

Further Information

Redaction (‘blanking things out’)

Those that engage in the planning applications process need to provide a valid name and address so that the commentary can be fully understood and the Planning Department have the ability to contact you in the future as the application is processed.

We operate a policy where we routinely redact the following details before making forms and documents available online:

  • Personal contact details for the applicant, e.g. telephone numbers, email addresses
  • Signatures
  • Special Category Data – e.g. supporting statements that include information about health conditions or ethnic origin
  • Information agreed to be confidential

Sometimes we might decide it is necessary, justified and lawful to disclose data that appears in the list above. In these circumstances we will let you know of our intention before we publish anything.

If you are submitting supporting information which you would like to be treated confidentially or wish to be specifically withheld from the public register, please let us know as soon as you can – ideally in advance of submitting the application. The best way to contact us about this issue is