Digital 3D modelling

We use the digital 3D modelling platform VU.CITY in our planning process for assessing the design of major applications. This is an essential step in delivering good growth and high-quality design across the borough.

Assessing digital models of proposals allows us to understand the impact of new development on the local context. It also helps us to assess the massing, scale and design of development and its impacts.

VU.CITY features an accurate digital model of Greater London, which includes the entirety of the London Borough of Harrow. We use this platform to work with applicants to better understand the impact of proposed development.

Models are shared with our team during the pre-application/Planning Performance Agreement stage. This is to inform early design discussions with a final version submitted to support the planning application.

We charge a fee of £737.00 (incl. VAT) for the administration and review of 3D model files. This can be found in our Schedule of Fees under ‘Category O’.

Applicant requirements for a 3D submission

If you are proposing major developments in Harrow, you will need to submit a digital model as part of pre-application discussions.

Digital modelling will be required for major developments. This includes any application considered to have a significant impact on Harrow's townscape.

Requirements for 3D submission should be discussed with officers during pre-application discussion.

Officers can withhold consultation responses until digital models are submitted and reviewed.

3D digital model submission is required for all proposed major developments.

Details of 3D model requirements for various application types are set out below:

  • Category A - Strategic Development. 3D submission required for all in this category

  • Category B - Large Scale Major Development. 3D submission required for all in this category

  • Category C - Major Development. 3D submission is required for any development of four storeys and above.

  • Category D - Outline Reserved Matters Major Development. 3D submission is required for any development of four storeys and above.

A 3D digital model submission is not usually required for the below development categories. However, if a development is in a sensitive setting, such as a conservation area, or involves significant alterations which may affect its townscape setting, a 3D submission may be advisable.

We recommend discussing this approach with your planning case officer:

  • Category E - Minor Development 1

  • Category F - Minor Development 2

  • Category G - Minor Development 3

  • Category H – Outline Reserved Matters Minor Development

  • Category I - Small Scale Development

  • Category J - Householder

  • Category K - Heritage

How to share a 3D model with us

  • All models should be shared with the Planning Case Officer and Urban Design Officer.

  • If you have a VU.CITY subscription, models can be shared to us within the VU.CITY Cloud Platform.

  • If you do not have a VU.CITY subscription, 3D model files can be sent in a .FBX file format.

Modelling with VU.CITY

  • You may wish to consider taking out a licence with VU.CITY as part of the design and pre-application process to test your own schemes in a 3D context.

  • Applicants can also be granted temporary access to VU.CITY to import, view and share a model link with us. Find out more about temporary access on the VU.CITY website.

Sending a model file directly

VU.CITY is a townscape tool for assessing design and impact of scale. It is not designed for large, detailed BIM models and requires a simple model with no internal or structural detail.

The model should be submitted as follows:

  1. Be geolocated in OS space in metres (m) units

  2. Have a low polycount (recommended less than 65,000 vertices)

  3. Be below 128 MB

  4. Be saved / exported in FBX file format

  5. Named with your application reference number and any revisions clearly labelled

  6. Submitted with the downloadable form (see below) filled out.

  7. Send your .FBX models to your planning case officer along with your completed 3D model submission form (PDF 312 KB). For any queries, please contact

For more detailed guidance on geolocating and preparing a model for import, please see the VU.CITY website links below:

If you have any issues about importing or using the model, please call the VU.CITY technical support team on 0808 168 3931 or email