Minor material amendments to planning applications
If you want to amend a planning application you now need to make a formal application for either a ‘non-material amendment’ or a ‘minor material amendment’. This rule came into effect on 1 October 2009.
A ‘non-material amendment’ would form an update to the existing permission. This is known as an s96a application.
Amendments of a greater scale require a new/revised planning permission, and so you need to make a ‘minor material amendment’. This is known as an s73 application.
Some amendments cannot be considered an update of an existing permission. In those situations you need to make a new planning application. The decision about what application is required will depend on the extent of the amendment.
What are minor material amendments?
The Government does not define what changes may be treated as ‘minor material amendments'. White Young Green Planning and Design offers this definition: ‘A minor material amendment is one whose scale and nature result in a development which is not substantially different from the one which has been approved.’ The Government has stated that it ‘agrees’ with this definition, but it is not statutory.
Each local planning authority is responsible for determining the definition of ‘minor material’. On this page we explain how we deal with minor material amendments.
There is no list of what is and what is not ‘material’, as we need to assess each case individually. We will then decide whether it is or is not.
In each case, whether a change is material is a judgment based on fact and degree, as well as an assessment of the impact of the change on the local environment. The judgment on materiality is always based on the original planning permission. We consider materiality against the development as a whole, not just part of it. We also need to assess the cumulative effects of any previous amendments against the original permission.
Section 96A of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 states that ‘in deciding whether a change is material, a local planning authority must have regard to the effect of the change, together with previous changes made under this section, on the planning permission as originally granted.’
Test for assessing minor material amendments:
The following tests are commonly used by local planning authorities to assess the acceptability of a change to an approved scheme under the minor amendment procedure:
Is the proposed change material/significant in terms of its scale in relation to the original approval?
Does the proposed amendment modify any use which was originally approved?
Would the proposed amendment result in a materially detrimental impact in visual or amenity terms?
Would the interests of any third party or body who participated in, or was informed of, the original application be disadvantaged in any way?
Would the amendment be contrary to any relevant development plan policy?
Is the proposed change contrary to a restrictive condition on the original permission?
Would there be significant increases in site coverage, building heights or site levels?
Would there be additional and/or repositioned windows/doors/openings that would have an impact on neighbouring properties?
Would there be any change to the external materials which would adversely affect the character or appearance of the development or erode the quality of what was originally approved?
Would the amendments reverse design improvements secured in the original application?
Would there be a greater impact on existing trees or would it reduce the quality of a proposed landscaping scheme?
Would there be any alteration to the application site (red line) boundary?
If none of these tests are positive, it is likely that we can deal with the proposal as a 'minor amendment', although we will consider each application on its own merits and individual circumstances.
How to apply for a minor material amendment (the s73 application)
You should apply for a ‘minor material amendment’ using the standard ‘Application for removal or variation of condition following a grant of planning permission' application form. See also the guidance on applications for removal or variation of a condition following grant of planning permission (PDF).
Plans accompanying applications should clearly show the differences between the approved scheme and the proposed amendment(s).
The fee for a variation or removal of condition application is £195.
How will my application be processed?
The development which the s73 application seeks to amend will have been judged to be acceptable in principle at an earlier date. We will consider the application against the development plan and material considerations, under section 38(6) of the 2004 Planning Compulsory Purchase Act, and conditions attached to the existing permission. We will focus attention on national and local development plan policies, and other material considerations which may have changed significantly since the original grant of permission.
We have the discretion to decide which statutory consultees listed under article 10 of the General Development Procedure Order should be consulted when an s73 application is received. We will take a proportionate approach to consultation and, in deciding who to consult, should take into account who had a particular interest in, or raised concern about, the original application.
Where an application under s73 is granted, a new planning permission will be issued. The expiry date of the new permission will be the same as the original.
The decision notice will set out all the conditions pertaining to it. The description of development should remain as the original permission. If conditions have been discharged under the original planning permission then conditions attached to the new permission should detail this. If any new issues arise that were not material considerations in the earlier decision appropriate condition may now be attached as long as they meet the tests laid down in paragraph 206 of the National Planning Policy Framework.
If your application is refused, you can appeal under section 78 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. Please go to GOV.UK for the appeal forms.
Please note that s73 applications cannot be made for listed building consent applications.
We aim to give a decision on such applications within eight weeks. However, if the original application was for a major development (13-week determining period) the s73 will also have the 13-week deadline.