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Making amendments to proposals after planning permission has been granted

Oct 4, 2022

By Laura Potts MRTPI, Planning Consultant, CAD Planning

What are ‘non-material amendments’

Many people assume that, once planning permission has been given, the development in question must adhere to the specification detailed in the planning application to the letter.

However, this is not the case.

A very useful mechanism exists by which you can apply to make ‘non-material amendments’ to an existing approved proposal. This gives you the opportunity to make a minor change to the planning permission, providing that doing so does not breach any conditions originally placed on the consent.

It is important to note that, if the amendment is not considered minor by the Local Planning Authority, then a new planning application will be required.

A non-material amendment might be one where:

· It does not vary significantly from what was described on the planning permission

· It does not conflict with any conditions on the permission

· It does not breach planning policy

· It does not significantly affect the overall height or dimensions of the development

The non-material amendment application is a very useful facility. It gives you the opportunity to think about the permission that you were granted and to see if it all makes sense. Having done that, there might be small parts of the design that you want to amend or improve before you give the final go-ahead on construction.

What is the definition of ‘non-material’?

It is impossible to be specific about what amendments would be considered non-material because the specific context is absolutely vital. What might be considered non-material for one development might well be deemed material for another type of development.

For this reason, there are no national planning guidelines about what constitutes a non-material amendment – the matter is at the discretion of the Local Planning Authority. Judgements made on amendments will be based off both the existing planning permission and any ‘non-material’ amendments which have previously been made by that local authority.

A non-material amendment will be considered under Section 96A of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, as amended, and the key tests considered by Planning Officers reviewing the non-material amendment request are:

Are the proposed changes consequential in terms of its scale in relation to the original application?

Would the proposed change result in a detrimental impact either visually or in terms of amenity?

Would the interests of any third party or body who participated in or were informed of the original decision be disadvantaged in any way?

Would the proposed changes be contrary to planning policy?

If the answer is yes to any of the above, then you may have to consider another mechanism to amend your proposal, which could be a Section 73 Application (To modify or vary a condition) or re-submission.

This means that it is always advisable to have early discussion with your Local Planning Authority ahead of submitting any application. They will be able to give pre-application advice about the parameters they will use to decide whether your application should be approved.

How do you apply for a non-material amendment?

The application process itself is very straightforward. A non-material amendment can be made via the Planning Portal website using a non-material amendment form. As well as the application form, plans to clearly show the changes must be submitted.

The applicant must notify any landowners whose land is affected as with any planning application, and record who has been notified on the planning application form. It is highly unlikely that any form of public consultation will be required for a non-material amendment.

The time period for determination of a non-material amendment is 28 days, unless a longer period has been agreed in writing between the parties.

There is no right of appeal for refusal or non-determination of non-material amendment applications. If they are refused then the applicant would have to submit a S73 application (which allows applications to be made for permission to develop without complying with a condition previously imposed on a planning permission) or to submit a new planning application instead.

The decision only relates to the non-material amendments sought and should be read together with the original planning permission, which still stands.

Getting the right advice on non-material amendments

Our specialists at CAD Planning can give you expert guidance on this area, carry out dialogue on your behalf with the Local Planning Authority, and steer your application through the process to give it the very best chance of success.

Within our team we have people who have worked for the Local Planning Authority and been involved in decision-making on non-material amendments, so no-one is better placed than CAD Planning to give you the advice you need.

Contact our team today by emailing studio@cadarchitects.co.uk

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