You can make minor changes during the planning process:
- revisions are changes during the processing of a planning application
- non-material amendments are after the planning decision.
A minor revision to the original proposal (when consultation has already been done) should be accepted. This is especially true if:
- a positive change is proposed
- it is in response to comments received.
No further consultations will be made in most cases. The case officer will make their recommendation on the application.
It may be that further consultations with:
- neighbours and
- the local council
are needed. The revision will still be accepted if there is enough time before the application expires. 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
- the application can be either:
- withdrawn or
- allowed to continue to a decision on the basis of the original plans.
You can apply for a non-material amendment to an existing planning permission. Section 96A of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (amended by Planning Act 2008) covers this. You may need to make a change after the planning decision because:
- Building Regulations require a change to the proposals
- unplanned issues arise when construction or operations start.
Local Planning Authorities may allow small changes as 'non-material amendments'. The benefits are:
- the applicant avoids the time and costs of making a new planning application
- the Local Planning Authority can make the best use of its resources.
There will be no:
- publicity and
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
- 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 'non-material' changes. It depends on the context and is determined by the Local Planning Authority.
Non-material amendment criteria
Each application will be considered on its merits. The proposed change may be a non-material amendment if:
- There would be no change to the application site boundary and the proposal would be located within it (red line boundary)
- The amendment would not conflict with development plan policies or other Government guidance
- There would be no conflict with any conditions on the planning permission
- The proposal would not make worse any concerns raised by third parties when the original planning permission was considered
- The approved footprint/siting of the building will not be moved in any direction by more than 1 metre
- The proposal would not result in an extension to development already approved
- The height/volume of the building or extension would not be increased or significantly reduced
- The amendments must not result in a fundamental change in the design of the building
- The change does not amount to new works or elements which have not been considered by any environmental statement submitted with the original application
- 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. If the above cannot be met:
- a minor material amendment application or
- a new full application may be required.
Please consider whether the proposed change meets these criteria before making a submission.
A refused non material amendment application will not receive a refund. The development must be undertaken with the approved plans on the original application. Or you may wish to apply for a revised planning application. If the revised application is made within 12 months of the original permission, it would not usually attract a new fee. The Planning Practice Guidance sets out the type of application which can enjoy a “free go”. The conditions and requirements to be eligible are set out in the 'when are applications eligible for a free go' document.
You can find more information on flexible options using this link to the Government webpage: Flexible options for planning permissions.
Their summary comparison table provides help on minor material amendments and Section 73s.
For cases where:
- the description of development includes reference to holiday accommodation and
- a planning condition restricts occupancy to holiday use
a full planning application is needed. Recent appeal decisions have shown that we cannot grant a Section 73 application to lift these conditions. This is because it would change the nature of the development on the original permission.
Please visit the Make a planning application page to access forms and guidance on how to submit.