change planning application

When you might need to change planning permission

You may need to change planning permission if you have bought a property or plot of plan with planning permission and need to alter the design. Otherwise, you may have recently obtained planning permission, but require some alterations after application has been made or decided.


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Do I need an amendment application or a new planning application?

If you need to make significant changes to the planning application, where the scale and nature of the changes results in a development which is substantially different, it’s likely that a new full application will be required.

This would almost certainly be the case if you wish to floorspace, increase the number of rooms, or make significant changes to the design aesthetic.

If you are unsure whether to submit a new application as opposed to an amendment application (see below), consult with your architect and/or local planning authority.


Amendment application

If the change does not constitute a substantial change, you will be able to gain approval by an amendment application.


Firstly you need to establish if the changes you wish to make would be classes as ‘material’ or ‘non-material’ amendments. Unfortunately the definition remains subjective, and will depend on your local authority and planning officer on how they apply these definitions. In loose terms you could define them as follows:


Non-material amendments

  • Small and uncontentious in relation to any previous discussions or conditions attached to the application.
  • No significant impact on the design, surrounding environment or neighbours.

How long does a non-material amendment application take and cost?

A non-material amendment application for a householder application will cost £34 and are usually decided within 28 days, unless agreed otherwise.


Is the original planning application still valid after an amendment application has been made?

If a non-material amendment application is successful, the original decision will still be valid, but should be read alongside the non-material amendment decision. The original planning permission will still be valid but will be modified as detailed by the non-material amendment decision.


Minor ‘material’ amendments

  • A definition proposed by White Young Green Planning and Design was, “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”. According to guidance on many local councils websites, Government “agree” with this definition.


At present, all minor material amendment requests need to be submitted using a section 73 procedure, allowing the planning conditions associated with an existing planning permission to be varied or removed. If no relevant condition exists, it is possible to request for a condition to be added, and then vary that condition using a  section 73 application. The section 73 application is made using a variation or removal of condition form, along with drawings and application fee. Depending on the significance and nature of the amendment, the planning authority will make a decision about who will need to be consulted and notified.


How long does a minor material amendment application take?

A decision should be make within eight weeks for a private/house project and the new permission (if granted) with sit alongside the original permission. This means that the original permission will subsist whatever the outcome of the section 73 application, but you can only implement one version of the application (not a mixture of the two!). This process is not applicable for listed buildings or development in a conservation area.


Work with an architect

Often the best way of understanding the planning process and getting the best outcome is by working with an architect. Simply post your project below and we’ll match you up with the best architects for your requirements. And it’s completely free!

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