Last edited 12 Apr 2015

Minor material amendment

It is sometimes necessary to amend development proposals after planning permission has been granted.

Where these are not significant amendments, they may be described as ‘non-material’. Section 96A of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, amended by the Planning Act 2008, permits applications for non-material amendment to planning permissions. This avoids the need for a new planning application to be submitted, allowing instead for the existing permission to be amended whilst remaining subject to the original conditions and time limits.

An amendment that is considered to be more significant than a non-material amendment will require a new application. This may be an application for a 'minor material amendment' to the existing planning permission, or if the change is not considered to be a minor material amendment, then a new planning application will be required.

There is no statutory definition of what ‘minor material amendment’ means, instead, local authorities are responsible for deciding, given the local context in each case. However, the government suggests that minor material amendments are likely to include any amendment where its scale and/or nature results in a development which is not substantially different from the one which has been approved, and recommends that pre-application discussions should be used to determine whether an amendment is a minor material amendment before an application is submitted. Ref planning practice guidance.

This might include changes where:

  • The site boundary is not changed
  • The siting, landscape, scale and height is not significantly changed
  • The use is not changed.
  • The appearance is not adversely affected.
  • The change is compliant with local planning policy and with the conditions attached to the original permission.
  • Changes to windows or other openings that do not impact on neighbouring properties.
  • The interests of parties consulted about the original application are not disadvantaged.

An application for a minor material amendment can be made under section 73 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, allowing conditions associated with the existing permission to be varied or removed. This can be used to vary a condition that lists the drawings associated with the existing planning permission. If there is no such condition, one may be added using an application under section 96A of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and then a section 73 application to vary that condition.

Applications can be made using a ‘variation or removal of condition' form accompanied by drawings describing the nature of the amendment and an application fee. The local authority have the discretion to decide who should be consulted about the application and the approach that should be taken to notification.

A decision should be made in eight weeks (or 13 weeks for major applications) and has the effect of creating a new planning permission alongside the original permission. The decision notice should set out any conditions attached to the original permission which have not been discharged, along with any conditions attached to the new permission.

This process does not apply to listed building consents or conservation area consents for which a complete new application must be made.

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