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Non-material changes to Planning Permissions

The Courts have ruled that once a planning permission was granted, it was not possible to make any changes meaning that even if minor “non-material” alterations were needed, a fresh planning application had to be made. The Government proposes to change this via Section 190 of the Planning Act 2008.

The Government is consulting on the implementation of Section 190 of the Planning Act 2008 which introduces a new Section 96A into the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

The Section sets out a simple mechanism by which “non-material changes” to existing planning permissions can be submitted without having to submit a completely new planning application. 

It is proposed that such changes can be sought by the submission of a standard application form.  It is hoped that the changes will be in force by 1 October 2009.

Click here to see the Consultation Paper  

The big question is what will constitute a “non-material change”.  In the same Consultation package, there are proposals to deal with “minor material amendments” following the grant of a planning permission.   Such changes will require a more complex form of application. 

In each case applications will have to be assessed on their own facts. The test will be whether or not it can fairly be said that a proposed "non-material change" can reasonably be viewed as such. So, a revised internal layout or minor change of paving materials is likely to be viewed as "non-material". However, the repositioning of a building or the change of external facings may not be.

The Governement has published an Options Study which considers what might constitute a "minor material change". The preferred option would be to apply a range of "generic tests" including the extent or scale of the change and conformity of planning policies. Section 73 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 would require amendment.

Click here to see the Options Study

Beware. Until the law is changed, planning permission will be needed if any alternations, however minor, are made to what has been approved.

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