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Revisions and amendments to planning applications

Revisions to planning applications can sometimes be received during the processing of an application. Non-material amendments can be received after a decision has been made.

Revisions prior to a decision being made

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If the revision is minor in relation to the original proposal on which consultation has already occurred then it should be accepted.  This is especially true if the revision is one resulting in the applicant responding positively to the comments from consultees or neighbours. In the majority of cases no further consultations will be made. The application should proceed to the officer recommendation stage.

It may be that the revision is such that further consultations with neighbours and the local council are considered necessary. If so, then as long as there is sufficient time before the application expires, the revision will be accepted. If there is not sufficient time before the application expires then the revision is too significant to be accepted as part of the processing of the current planning application. In this case it can be either withdrawn or allowed to continue to determination on the basis of the original plans.

You can apply for a non-material amendment to an existing planning permission. This is covered under Section 96A of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (amended by Planning Act 2008). Changes after a planning application has been decided may be needed because:

  • Building Regulations require a change to the proposals
  • unplanned issues arise when construction or operations start

Local Planning Authorities seek to accommodate small changes as 'non-material amendments'.  This avoids the need to submit a new planning application for minor changes to development proposals.  The benefits are:

  • the applicant avoids the time and costs of making a new planning application
  • the Local Planning Authority can use its resources effectively and efficiently

Provisions for consultation, publicity and notification do not apply. This is because a non-material amendment is not an application for planning permission.

Non-material amendments must be within the scope of the original planning permission.  They must not result in a materially different scheme that has a differing impact.  When a non-material amendment is accepted, it means that:

  • enforcement action will not be taken against the breach of planning control
  • there is an accurate record of the development as completed.

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.

Non-material amendment criteria

Each non-material amendment application will be considered on its merits.  If it meets the following criteria, it is likely that the proposed change can be dealt with by this procedure:

  1. There would be no change to the application site boundary and the proposal would be located within it (red line boundary)
  2. The amendment would not conflict with development plan policies or other Government guidance
  3. There would be no conflict with any conditions on the planning permission
  4. The proposal would not make worse any concerns raised by third parties when the original planning permission was considered
  5. The approved footprint/siting of the building will not be moved in any direction by more than 1 metre
  6. The proposal would not result in an extension to development already approved
  7. The height/volume of the building or extension would not be increased or significantly reduced
  8. The amendments must not result in a fundamental change in the design of the building
  9. The change does not amount to new works or elements which have not been considered by any environmental statement submitted with the original application
  10. Amendments to windows/doors/openings must not have any overlooking impact on neighbouring properties

These criteria are designed to prevent amendments being accepted that would have a harmful impact on neighbours or amenity.  If the above cannot be met, a minor material amendment or a new full application may be required.  Potential applicants should consider whether the proposed change would be likely to meet these criteria before making a submission.