Applying for planning permission

Non-material amendments

The requirements and process for non-material amendment applications

Protocol for non-material amendments following a grant of Planning Permission (2011)
From 1 October 2009, Section 190 of the 2008 Planning Act implements new Section 96A of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. This allows non-material changes to existing planning permissions, without requiring the submission of a new planning application or an application under S73 of the Act for minor-material amendments.

Such applications must be made by completing the standard ‘non-material amendment’ application form.  Guidance notes are available to help complete the form.

Applications may also require accompanying plans clearly showing the differences between the approved scheme and the proposed amendment.

Planning fees information.

The council aims to give a decision on such applications within 28 days.

Government guidance on ‘non-material amendments’ does not define what changes may be treated as ‘non-material’. It is the responsibility of each local planning authority to determine the definition on ‘non-material’. This guidance sets out how Ealing Planning Services will deal with non-material amendments, for applicants and their agents, as well as other interested parties, including neighbours, to understand the basis for any decision.

A judgement on “materiality” in any particular case, is one of fact and degree, along with taking into account the likely impact of the amendment on the local environment. Materiality is considered against the development as a whole, not just part of it. The basis for forming a judgement on materiality is always the original planning permission. The cumulative effects of any previous amendments need also to be assessed against any original permission.

There cannot be a set of prescriptive rules to what is or is not “material”, as each case is different and considered on its individual merit. This is a matter for the local planning authority to decide. The following protocol has been devised to clarify the process for determination as well as setting out the procedure involved.

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 guide, Ealing Council will normally consider the following proposed works as ‘non-material amendments’:

  • The resulting scheme is reduced in size in any dimension, and this does not compromise the overall design and appearance, particularly in conservation areas.
  • 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.
  • There is no material impact on any neighbours or other statutory and non-statutory bodies, and the resulting scheme remains within the description of development on the decision notice, the fee paid and is within the adopted policies of the council.

Where any of the following examples apply, Ealing Council will not normally consider proposed works as ‘non-material amendments’:

  • The resulting scheme would alter the nature or description of the development.
  • The resulting scheme is increased 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 is an increase in the number of any openings, or a noticeable increase in size and/or location of openings (doors and windows), which would affect the external appearance of the proposal or result in loss of privacy or amenity to neighbours.
  • The resulting scheme would have a poorer design by reason of loss of detail or lower quality materials that would impact on visual amenity.
  • The amendment would result in the scheme becoming contrary to the adopted policies of the council.
  • The resulting scheme would conflict with any existing planning conditions.

Listed buildings and conservation areas
The provision for non-material amendments outlined in this protocol only relates to planning permission. There is no equivalent scheme in place for changes either to Listed Building Consent or Conservation Area Consent. For these, the works must be carried out strictly in accordance with the approved scheme or a new application submitted. 

How will my application be processed?
The local planning authority will make an assessment based on the information submitted with the application form. If found to be acceptable, the amendment will be agreed by the issuing of a decision in writing within, which the amendment will be described and drawings will be identified.

  • Under the non-material amendment provision, there is no requirement for any of the following:
    submission of a design and access statement;
  • ownership or agricultural holdings certificates to be completed (applicant must notify anyone who owns the land);
  • statutory consultation or publicity to be carried out.

The above requirements would have formed part of the original planning application. 

Note: The original planning permission will not be reissued. The original application and the approved ‘non-material amendment’ should be read together.

The council is able to impose new conditions or remove/alter existing conditions as part of any decision.

In the event that the non-material amendment is refused or not determined, there is a right of appeal under s78 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. It is anticipated that the scope of this appeal will be limited to the proposed change.

Where a planning application is required?
If the extent or nature of the revisions requested exceeds a non-material amendment, the applicant will be advised in writing. Where appropriate, the applicant will be invited to submit either a minor material amendment application or a fresh planning application for the entire development and advised of the likely acceptability of the proposals and any further issues to address.

The requirement of a new planning application does not mean that the amendment will not be acceptable, only that it needs full and proper consideration and consultations to be carried out.