Amendments to planning proposals

This procedure note has been prepared to guide public, applicants and their agents, Councillors and staff of Hambleton District Council. This procedure note follows the approach of the Planning Officers Society Practice Guidance Note 2 on Pre and Post Decision Amendments.

It covers both amendments made during the processing of planning applications - known as 'pre-decision amendments' and those amendments made after the determination of planning applications 'post-decision' amendments explaining what will be accepted and the approach to reconsultation.

New procedures for post decision amendments to planning applications

The Government introduced changes to the planning system on 1st October 2009 to formally allow minor changes to be made to previously approved schemes. This allows two forms of changes to be made: changes can be made that are "Non-material amendments" and "Material minor amendments". In common with many Councils Hambleton District Council had operated a system of non-material minor amendments but this had risks as it was not enshrined in planning law. The changes that have been introduced mean that the decisions made are now in accordance with planning law. The "Material minor amendments" procedure is akin to an application to vary a planning condition and the procedures already in place are largely unchanged.

The new procedures are similar to those operated by Hambleton District Council forms are available in order to apply from Planning Portal.

Fees are:

Non-material amendments Householder £34 Other £234
Material minor amendments All cases £234  

Amendments are an important part of the planning process. They enable schemes to be improved to meet the needs of technical consultees, wishes of neighbours and to enable schemes to comply with the requirements of policies of the Council. They also allow for modest changes after the Decision Notice has been issued and allow a pragmatic response to the needs of developers. The facility to make amendments is however not an alternative to a properly thought through and prepared application.

No procedure note can cover all eventualities. What follows is an explanation of the procedures to be followed in the most common circumstances.

Pre-decision amendments

The Council operates a system of 'triage', categorising applications in to the following types:

  • applications which can be recommended for approval with no or limited negotiation;
  • those applications where the proposal is clearly likely to be refused and no negotiation is necessary and
  • those applications where it is thought that negotiation could deliver significant results.

Pre-decision amendments for those falling within the final category will be accepted where any reconsultation that is necessary can be undertaken and results considered within the target period for the determination of the application.

Amended details must be accompanied by a schedule listing all the changes made to the scheme to assist everyone to understand the changes proposed.
Amendments sought late in the application process may not be accepted if this would delay determination beyond the target date, in practice amendments will rarely be acceptable within 3 weeks of the target date for the determination of the application (this may be 8 or 13 weeks in the case of Major applications).

Reconsultation will normally be undertaken if the amendments are sufficiently significant to lead to the possibility that new or different views may be made. 14 working days will be allowed for a response by consultees from the date of consultation. This period is shorter than the initial consultation period as the changes will be to a scheme that is familiar to the consultee and will be unlikely to give rise to completely fresh issues.

Reconsultation will not normally be undertaken for insignificant changes such as those which will be barely perceptible beyond the site boundary.

Reconsultation will not normally be undertaken on amendments made to meet clearly stated requirements of neighbours, the Council or others where the details of the amendments have been presented at Development Management Committee and have been accepted to reach the decision.

If a pre-decision amendment would significantly change the proposal a fresh application will normally be required e.g. revised access position or changed number of buildings. The revised application may not require a fee but will in all respects be a new application and subject to full consultation.

Post-decision amendments

There is no legal provision which enable an Authority to accept post decision amendments. Accordingly, post-decision amendment will not be accepted where they would lead to changes to the scheme that would not be 'permitted development' upon the completion of the development or if they would involve works that are controlled by a condition set out on the Decision Notice. (This is effectively a risk assessment of the impact of a legal challenge to the process of accepting an amendment. If there is any doubt as to whether or not a revision would take the scheme outside the scope of the original permission the Authority will adopt a precautionary approach and decline the revision. The discretion to make this decision rests with the Authority.)

Government is considering the introduction of a formal scheme of dealing with amendments following the publication of the Killian Pretty review.

Amendments will not be acceptable if they:

  • significantly increase the height, width or volume of a building,
  • change the site area,
  • conflict with a condition or make other change to a scheme that significantly changes its character or nature will not be accepted as post-decision amendments.

A new application will be required for such schemes.

Exceptions to this approach may be made where an amendment would:

  • reduce the impact of the scheme (such as details to resolve design amendments to a building of reduced height); or
  • offer significant environmental improvement (such as changing the orientation of a building or roof to enable the use of solar panels or solar gain).

Reconsultation will not normally be undertaken on post-decision amendments. The need for reconsultation would be a signal that the amendment is significant and a new application required.

There will occasionally be circumstances where making a post-decision amendment to a scheme that impacts on the character of that scheme is in the public interest but the cost of preparing and the delay involved in the processing of an application would be a significant deterrent to making an 'improvement' to a scheme. Under these circumstances reconsultation will be undertaken with appropriate consultees. 10 working days will be allowed for a response by consultees.

Amended details must be accompanied by a schedule listing all the changes made to the scheme to assist everyone to understand the changes proposed.

Reaching a decision on Pre and Post decision amendments

  1. Details of amendments will be shown on the Council's website and can be viewed at the Council's offices. This will apply regardless of whether reconsultation is being undertaken or not.
  2. Upon request details of amendments will be sent to consultees if they are unable to access details on the website or at the Council's offices.
  3. A decision to accept or reject an amendment will normally be made by officers, under Delegated Authority. Exceptionally such matters may be referred to the Development Management Committee; however the need for consideration by the Development Management Committee will often indicate that a fresh planning application is required
  4. The policies of the Development Plan, locational circumstances, consultation responses (where appropriate) will guide the decision-making process for amendments.
  5. Where an amendment is accepted the decision will be given in writing (either letter of email) and a copy placed on the website.
  6. Conditions imposed on the Decision Notice will remain unchanged other than by agreeing to vary the date and numbering of the approved plans. The amendment process does not enable the creation of a 'fresh' Decision Notice. The written notification will set out the newly approved plans. The new plans will be approved as an alternative to the original scheme. The new plans provide a choice to the developer to implement either the original or amended plans or a mixture of the two.
  7. If an amendment would result in a contradiction between either the description of the development or conditions imposed then the amendment will be rejected.

Enquiries

Any enquiries regarding the making of amendments should be directed to either the nominated case officer or the Duty officer.

[email protected]

Tel: 01609 779977

Development Management
Civic Centre
Stone Cross
Rotary Way
Northallerton
DL6 2UU
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