So you have planning permission granted. Congrats!
It was probably quite an exact process where you and your architect worked hand in hand to deliver something that you loved and would be passed by the local authority. But nothing is ever set in stone.
After some time and possibly reflection you may want to make changes to planning permission in some areas for one reason or another. The last thing you want is to have to start again and submit a whole new planning permission application. Does this sound familiar?
Sometimes, you change your mind after speaking to friends and family or you have to seek approval for minor modification because little details arise after starting the construction. For instance, making a room bigger, or creating a separation between two rooms. The last thing you want to do, is to start your application again from scratch! It can be time consuming and a waste of money.
There must be an easier way of doing things, right?
That’s right: You can make some changes to planning permission without having to go through the whole process again. Here is our guide to how to make changes to your existing decision.
Let’s get started talking about making changes to planning permission decisions.
So let’s begin with time extensions for Planning Permissions.
As you probably already know that every planning permission will be granted for a specified period of time. When this time is up, you will need to submit a new application. No one wants that!
Though, in some cases, if you have passed your time limit, you might be able to extend the time.
But one thing’s for sure: Be prepared to give a good reason.
If it simply a case that you need a little more time before the permission runs out, then you can apply for a time extension. These are sometimes granted if the work is ready to be started, and unlikely to be granted if there is no sign of the original planning permission being implemented.
Strictly speaking, a time extension will not be granted if the existing permission has lapsed or if it goes against another condition in the original permission. Gaining planning permission can be a costly experience so make sure that you are sure about the work before you go ahead.
If circumstances mean that you are close to the permission lapsing, then you can apply to extend the time limit. Acquiring permission can be very expensive and making changes to planning permission can be even more so, so make sure that you are 100% sure before taking any steps forward.
The good news is there is a process for making small changes to planning permission that will not have a major impact on your project.
For example, moving a window on an extension further along a wall which does not relate to material planning considerations, i.e. overlooking and loss of privacy. This can be amended with a Non-Material Amendment Application to your council.
It sounds simple. And it is. So stick with me here.
Here’s the deal: You can make small changes to an extension, conversion or new build without the hassle of going through the planning process all over again. The Non-Material Amendment Application gives you the power to think about the permission you were granted and see if it all makes sense. On reflection there might be small parts of the design that you want to amend. This could be for a number of reasons:
In truth, the process might be long-winded at times but the fact that you can make these small changes to planning permission without a great deal of fuss puts you in control of the situation. Don’t use this power just for the sake of it, but if anything needs to be changed then you have the peace of mind that you can always submit an application with your architects’ assistance and have a good chance that you can get things done.
Sounds easy enough but the changes that you make in a Non-Material Amendment must not go against any of the existing conditions. This is important for you to remember so that you don’t waste valuable time and money chasing amendments that won’t be granted. So, seek professional advice prior to submitting your Non-Material Amendment and avoid disappointment.
If you are looking to make changes that would be classed as material, then there is another process.
In essence, some changes to planning permission will have a material impact on the build and the way that it is received. When granting planning permission, the council will consider how your proposed building will impact your neighbours and the way that the whole neighbourhood looks. The rules are there to protect everyone.
In general, your architect will submit very detailed plans to the local authority that will outline exactly what you propose to do. This may or may not be passed in its original form by the authority. From there you will need to make a decision.
If you want to make a change that would be considered as material, then you need to submit an application to change the permission in one of two ways:
But before you go into that, it is important to understand what might constitute a Minor Material Amendment so you can see what application you might need to submit. Remember that a Minor Material Amendment is one that will change the impact on a neighbour or the locality.
For example, moving an extension closer to the boundary with a neighbour will in all probability be classed as a material amendment because of the potential impact on that neighbour. If you are in any doubt, then speak to your architect so you can make the right application and save time, effort and money.
But here’s the interesting thing: If your existing planning permission does not have a condition known as ‘approved plan’ then you are in a slightly better position here. Approved plans mean that you have to work from the plans submitted by your architect to the letter.
Obviously, if this condition isn’t part of your existing permission, then you may be able to submit a Non-Material Amendment Application and make the changes without affecting the conditions. This will undoubtedly be a quicker and easier process – with much more chance of you gaining success.
If the changes you want to make fall outside of those outlined above, then it really is back to the drawing board.
In other words, if you want to make a change that doesn’t fit in any of the above, then your only option is to submit a new planning application to seek permission for the design you want.
Believe it or not, many local authorities are sympathetic to this and allow you to send in a FREE re-submission. This is usually dependent on the following factors:
Let’s be honest.
Making changes to planning permission isn’t always an easy process. If you exhaust all of the options above or your changes don’t apply to the above, then you will have to begin the whole process again.
This can be a frustrating way to go about gaining planning permission.
But hang on a minute… There’s a solution.
My point is this: You need to make sure as much as possible that all factors have been taken into account with a planning permission application before it is submitted and assessed. This is why you need to find a very good architect that understands the design, the way that local authorities think and how to get everything you want from a build passed.
So what’s the secret?
When building a new extension, a new home or making a conversion, there are many factors to be considered. An architect that has the experience to get your plans looking great for you and looking compliant for the planning authority is worth their weight in gold.
If you choose the best London architects, then you will get your designs approved and have less chance of needing to make the changes above. Also, an expert architect will be able to advise you on making amendment applications that succeed.
Making changes to planning permission is easier than you think. If you have any questions or would like to have a more in-depth conversation, take the next step and let me know by sending me an e-mail today.