The Section 96a non-material amendment route
A Section 96a application is also known as a ‘non-material’ amendment. This does not grant planning permission in its own right, but is an amendment to the original permission which stands alongside, and is read in conjunction with, the original decision notice. This means that a decision under this mechanism cannot be appealed, nor can you appeal an LPA refusal to deal with this type of application if they consider the scope of the amendments are beyond ‘non-material’.
As with Section 73 submissions, there is no statutory definition for ‘non-material’. It’s probably a ‘greyer’ area than for the Section 73 process and is down to the discretion of each LPA. Essentially, non-material amendments are small scale changes that do not change the nature, description or overall quality of the original permission, do not result in an increase in the size, height, scale or volume of a building, have very little individual or cumulative impact on the overall scheme, and don’t conflict with relevant Local Plan policy.
The advantages of a Section 96a application is that the LPA is not obliged to reconsult and should determine it within 28 days of registration. So it’s a relatively swift and inexpensive option if the changes are small and insignificant. Again as with Section 73 applications, this process only applies to planning permissions.
Should you be looking to make more significant changes we can also help you with Variation of Planning Conditions and we can provide the technical detail required to discharge a planing condition. Whatever your requirement we can assist in a speedy and cost effective manner.