Last edited 21 Jan 2016

Non-material amendment to planning permission

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.

There is no statutory definition for the sort of changes that might be considered non material. Instead, it depends on the context, and is determined by the local planning authority. It is advisable therefore to consult with the local planning authority when considering amendments. An application can then be made, and a small fee is payable.

The Town and Country Planning Act suggests that in deciding whether a change is material or not, a local planning authority must have regard to the effect of the change, together with any previous changes made, on the planning permission originally granted.

Where a change is non-material, it is unlikely that public consultation will be necessary, although anyone who may be affected must be informed, and may then make representations to the local authority. The application should be determined within 28 days unless a different time frame has been agreed.

A non-material amendment might be one where:

  • It is a very small change.
  • 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 move the external envelope outward.
  • It does not increase the height of the roof.
  • It does not introduce or move windows or other openings that could affect other properties.

A more significant change might be described as a 'minor material amendment'. Again, there is no statutory definition of what this means, however, the Planning Officers Society suggest that a minor material amendment is one ‘…whose scale and nature results in a development which is not substantially different from the one which has been approved.’ This might include an amendment 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 policy and conditions attached to the original permission.
  • Changes to windows or other openings that do not impact on neighbouring properties.
  • The interests parties consulted about the original application are not disadvantaged.

Such changes might be dealt with by an application to vary a planning condition imposed on the existing permission.

Material changes, for which a fresh application might be required could include:

  • Significantly increasing its size.
  • Changes to windows or other openings that impact on neighbouring properties.
  • Changes that alter the description of development.
  • Changes to the application site area.
  • Significant alterations to design or the siting of the proposals.
  • Changes that would affect objections to the original proposal.

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

[edit] Find out more

[edit] Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki

[edit] External references