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Can you make changes to an existing planning permission?
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Yes, you can change an application that’s been granted. However, consideration should be given to the extent of the changes, as it will affect which application will be needed:
- Non-material amendments
A non-material amendment application can be made for minor alterations that don’t have a significant impact on the design, surrounding environment or neighbours. There is no statutory definition of what makes an amendment ‘material’ or ‘non-material’; it will be a judgement of the local planning office, based on your particular site and design. However, a non-material amendment is likely to be very small and uncontentious in relation to any previous discussions or conditions attached to the application.
Due to the very nature of non-material minor amendments, the consultation period would not usually be needed. Minor non-material amendment decisions are usually decided within 28 days, unless agreed otherwise.
- Minor material amendments
Again, there is no statutory definition of a ‘minor material amendment’. 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.
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.
- Major amendments
If significant changes of the design are required, a new full application is likely to be required.
With all the above, it’s worth checking with your local authority that the application type is suitable, prior to submission.
Can you change the internal layout after planning permission has been granted?
Internal alterations to a house fall under permitted development, meaning that planning permission is not required. However, if your property is listed, there might be limitations of what you can do. It’s worth noting that building regulation approval will be needed in relation to any structural work internally and, if you’re a leaseholder, you will also likely require freeholder consent.
Can you amend a planning submission that’s not yet been decided?
Most planning authorities consider it good practice to consider amendments and alterations prior to determination, in order to minimise repeat applications and consultations. It is also common for amendments to be requested by your case officer, following their assessment and in relation to the consultation and notification procedure.
If the amendment has come from you/your architect, it’s advisable to speak to the case officer dealing with your application as there will be a few things to consider. For example, if the planning determination process is far enough along that it’s gone through the consultation process already, it may need to go though this process again. This will probably lead to delays.
However, your architect may advise that you wait for the determination first and apply for the amendments afterwards (see above). Your architect will be best placed to make a tactical judgement with you about what’s right for your brief and timescales.
Getting professional advice
Using a good architect will give you the best chance of gaining planning approval and their input and prior knowledge can be invaluable in terms of navigating the planning system and provide the best outcome in relation to your brief.
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