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Non Material Amendment to a Planning Permission

Section 96A of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 allows South Hams District Council and West Devon Borough Council to agree changes to any planning permission if it is satisfied that the amendment proposed is non-material.

It is recognised that amendments can arise from unexpected changes in circumstances or site conditions. The provisions are aimed at providing a quick, formal method of dealing with small changes to approved schemes.

There is no statutory definition of non-material. Whether an amendment is non-material will depend upon the context of the overall development and the original planning permission. The information below seeks to provide some guidance on the procedure, and how we will assess non-material amendments. If having read it you are still uncertain whether what you are proposing would be a non-material amendment, you could, in the first instance, make an appointment to use our Duty Planner Service

Criteria for assessing non - material amendments

Section 96A of the Town and County Planning Act 1990 says
"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."

In making an assessment of whether an amendment is non-material, we use the criteria in the table below:




Is the proposed change trivial in terms of its scale (magnitude, degree etc.) in relation to the original approval?


If "no" then it is material

Would the proposed change result in an adverse visual impact or an effect on the living conditions of neighbours sufficient to require consultation?


If "yes" then it is material

Would the amendment be contrary to any planning policy of the Council?


If "yes" then it is material

Has the development, which is the subject of the permission, been completed?


If "yes" then it can't be approved as a NMA

Would the proposed change(s) to the permitted scheme result in the development falling outside the description of that development as set out on the Decision Notice (e.g. change from two storey extension to single storey extension)?


If "yes" then it is material

Would the proposed change(s) to the permitted scheme contravene any condition attached to the original permission (e.g. would windows need to be obscured glazed)?


If "yes" then it is material

Would the proposed change require a further restriction (e.g. a condition) to make it acceptable?


If "yes" then it is material

Would the proposed change have been approved had it formed part of the original application?


If "no" then it is material

Would the change be contrary to a consultation response on the original application?


If "yes" then it is material

Would the change require an extension to the site boundary (or "red edge" of application site)?


If "yes" then it is material

Would the amendments introduce new works (including engineering operations) which in themselves constitutes 'development' requiring planning permission?


If "yes" then it is material

Amendments not considered non-material

The following examples are intended to give guidance about changes unlikely to be accepted as 'non-material'. It is not comprehensive, and each non-material amendment request must be considered on its merits, having regard to all relevant circumstances:

  • new or enlarged windows/openings which could result in loss of privacy or amenity to neighbours.
  • change which could adversely affect the occupiers of a neighbouring property.
  • change that could affect a consultation response on the original application.
  • an extension to the site boundary ('red line') of the application site.
  • change to ground level which itself constitutes an 'engineering operation' or could result in potential loss of privacy or visual amenity.

Procedure for applying

Applications must be made on the correct form and accompanied by the relevant drawings and plans which clearly indicate the nature of the amendment(s) proposed. Applications must be accompanied by the required fee (correct as at July 2017).

  • £28 for amendments to a householder permission
  • £195 for amendments to all other types of application

More than one amendment may be sought on the same form and for the same fee.

Applications can only be made by someone with an interest in the part of the land to which the amendment relates. If the applicant is not the sole owner of the land, they must serve notice on the others that are. This will require the other owners to be informed about the proposed amendments and that they have 14 days to make representations.

Under the non-material amendment provision, there are no requirements 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 (e.g. site notice, neighbour or Parish / Town Council) to be carried out.
  • The extent and nature of the proposed amendment must be clearly identified on the plans and drawings submitted with the application. This can be done either by:
  • including sets of both the approved and amended drawings;
  • superimposing the proposed amendment on those originally approved.
  • In either case, the extent of the amendment must be clearly identified. The use of a highlighter pen, cross hatching or other notation is helpful. Full specification of materials, colours, or sections must be included, where appropriate.

If the extent and nature of the minor amendment cannot be easily identified from the submitted material, the application will not be made valid until further information or clarification has been received.

Procedure for determination

Once the application is registered, a decision will be made within 28 days and a decision notice issued.  The approved non-material amendment is read in conjunction with the parent permission, with all the original conditions along with any new ones added to the non-material amendment.

If the proposed change(s) are found to be "material" the application will be refused and there is no right of appeal against this decision.

Further Information

Listed Buildings and Advertisement Consents - Please note.  This is not applicable to Listed Building Consent or Advertisement Consent. For these, the works must be carried out strictly in accordance with the approved scheme or a new application submitted.

If you are unsure which type of amendment you require, the local planning authority will be happy to advise you on the appropriate type of application, our Duty Planner Service may help you.   If you have details and plans of what the amendment you require is, this will assist us in determining the correct type of application.

Further detailed guidance is available from

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