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Non-material amendments to planning applications

Find out about making non-material amendments to your planning application.

Non-material changes to existing planning permissions are now allowed without the need to submit a new planning application or an application under section 73 of the Planning Act 2008 for non-material amendments.

These changes came into effect on 1 October 2009 under section 190 of the 2008 Planning Act.

What are non-material amendments?

Government guidance on ‘non-material amendments’ does not define what changes are ‘non-material’ and it is left for each local planning authority to determine.

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. Materiality is considered against the development as a whole, not just part of it. The cumulative effects of any previous amendments to the original permission also need to be assessed against the original permission.

Because of this, 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.

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.’

As a general rule, we consider amendments to be non-material if:

  • there is no material impact on any neighbours or other statutory or non-statutory bodies, and the amended scheme would still fall within the description of development on the original decision notice and would still comply with our development plan

  • there is a reduction in size (in any dimension) and the design and appearance is not compromised

  • there is a reduction in the number and size or location of any openings, and this does not compromise the overall design and appearance, particularly in conservation areas.

We consider that the proposed amendments would not be non-material if:

  • they would alter the nature or description of development

  • there would be an increase in size (by volume and/or height) to the extent where this would have a material impact on the design, external appearance and/or local amenity

  • there would be an increase in the number of openings, or a noticeable increase in size and/or the location of openings, which would affect the proposal’s external appearance or result in loss of privacy or amenity to neighbours

  • there would be a reduction in design quality owing to a loss of detail or lower quality materials that would affect visual amenity

  • the scheme becomes contrary to the Lewisham Development Plan

  • it would conflict with any existing planning conditions.

Please note that s96a applications cannot be made for listed buildings. The information above only concerns planning permission.

How to apply for a non-material amendment

You can apply using the form below.

Fees

A non-material amendment application is £234.

A householder non-material amendment application is £34.

Submission

Applications must include plans which clearly show the differences between the approved scheme and the proposed amendment and a list setting out all of the proposed changes.

You do not need to:

  • submit a design and access statement

  • complete an ownership certificate, although you must notify anyone who owns the land.

How will my application be processed?

Once the application is valid, we are not required to carry out statutory or neighbour consultations.

We will assess the information submitted. If it is found to be acceptable, we will agree the amendment by issuing a decision. The decision will include a description of the amendment and the drawings which have been amended.

The original decision and the ‘non-material amendment’ decision should be read together.

Please note that we can attach new conditions or remove/alter existing conditions as part of our decision.

If a non-material amendment is refused then there is no right of appeal as applications under section 96A of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 do not fall within the range of applications for which section 78 of the 1990 Act grants a right of appeal. You will need to submit a minor material amendment or a planning application to seek approval for the proposed amendments – we will tell you which. The requirement of a new planning application does not mean that the amendment will be acceptable, only that it needs full and proper consideration and that consultations need to be carried out.

Timescale

We aim to give a decision on such applications within 28 days.