Challenging or amending a planning decision


How to challenge a planning decision

If you are the applicant

Where you have applied for planning permission and received either a refusal or the grant of planning permission subject to a condition to which you object, you may appeal to the Secretary of State via the Planning Inspectorate.

The Planning Inspectorate will re-evaluate your planning application and decide whether or not to allow your appeal. If you appeal is allowed the Inspector will issue a new decision which will override that made by us.

There are strict deadlines for how long you have to lodge any appeal you may wish to make, details of this are given on your decision notice. You can also appeal when we have failed to make a decision within the relevant timescale for your application.

If you are not the applicant

There are no third party rights of appeal against a decision of a Local Planning Authority. Therefore, if you have concerns about a planning application and permission is granted, you cannot appeal that decision. Any challenge under current legislation would have to be made through a process called judicial review

An application to judicially review a decision must be made within 6 weeks of the decision about which you have a grievance being made.


Appealing a planning enforcement notice

If we have served an enforcement notice against you, you have the right to appeal the enforcement to the Secretary of State via the Planning Inspectorate, within the specified timescale.


Making minor non-material changes to a planning permission

Section 96A of the Town and Country Planning Act enables us to deal with small changes to planning permissions. There are two ways in which changes can be made to an approved scheme, other than submitting a whole new application:

  • Only a person with an interest in the land (e.g. freeholder, leaseholder with a lease over 7 years) can make a non-material amendment to a planning permission.
  • An application must be made using the appropriate application form and a fee is payable.
  • As approval of a non-material amendment is not a new planning permission but is attached to the original permission to which it relates, no design and access statement is needed.
  • New plans showing the proposed alteration(s) will be needed – more than one alteration can be made on a single form.
  • We have 28 days to determine the application.
  • Non-material amendments to conditions can be made under the procedure.
Examples of a non-material amendment

A non-material amendment has no statutory definition.

We cannot approve a non-material amendment if it is considered that the changes are too great under the non-material procedure. This will certainly be the case where an applicant wishes to include land within an application that was not previously included within the red line on the site location plan, as originally approved. Other examples where a non-material amendment is likely to be inappropriate are:

  • insertion of additional windows or enlarging approved windows which overlook neighbouring properties
  • increase in the overall size of an extension or increase in roof height
  • change in the layout of a proposal
  • increase in the number of dwellings or buildings
  • increase in the number of bedrooms contained within approved dwellings as this will affect Section 106 contributions.

The extent of the change and whether it is significant is dependent upon our officer’s planning judgement, applied on a case by case basis.

  • It is possible to apply to have a condition added to a planning permission which lists the approved plans under the non-material procedure.
  • The usual rights of appeal apply under section 78 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, if the application is refused or not determined within 28 days.
  • Applications for non-material amendments will not normally be subject to consultation.
Reserved matters applications

You can make a non-material amendment to a reserved matters consent.

Listed buildings and conservation areas

A non-material amendment cannot be made to a listed building or conservation area consent.

Making a minor material change to a planning permission

Under section 73 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, a minor material amendment can be made if the change to the planning permission is too great to be considered as a non-material amendment (as outlined above), but only if there is a suitable condition attached to the planning permission which could be varied or removed to facilitate changes to the scheme.

  • An application must be made and a fee applies.
  • We have 8 weeks to determine the application, or 13 weeks in the event the parent application is a ‘major’
  • Permission granted under Section 73 as a minor material amendment, is the grant of a new “stand alone” planning permission. As such, we must re-impose conditions attached to the previous planning permission, plus any additional ones as we see fit, without altering the fundamental principles of the permission already granted.
  • The application will be considered against the current adopted development plan policy and our planning officer will need to have particular regard to any changes in policy that have arisen between the original permission being granted and the new application being determined.
  • We will consider the need for contributions or other matters that will need to be delivered via a legal agreement under section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. This assessment will be made against the adopted planning policy in force at the time the new application is submitted and considered whether or not the original planning permission was subject to a legal agreement.
  • We have discretion over whether and who to consult on Section 73 applications – except where the application involves an Environmental Impact Assessment where consultation is compulsory. 
  • A Section 73 application cannot be used to vary the time limit imposed on a planning permission to implement the permission – this is normally 3 years.
  • There is a right of appeal against refusal or if the application is not determined in 8 weeks (or 13 in the case of a major).
  • Such applications will be consulted on or advertised as if they were a normal planning application.