ePrivacy and GPDR Cookie Consent by Cookie Consent What you CAN and CAN'T do after planning approval

What you CAN and CAN'T do after planning approval


By Heather · 20 Apr '21  · 

2 min read


With all the different stages of getting the green light, thumbs up, and go ahead, it can be tricky to understand when changes to your design can and can’t be made.

Often, the stage that causes the biggest confusion is the one after planning approval. You’re likely sorting out your building regulations and gearing up to start construction but, wait a minute, wouldn’t that window look better over there? Maybe a sliding door would be better than bi-fold? Could the kitchen work better further to the back?

To better understand what’s possible, we got asked our architects to break down your post-planning options…

Changes you might be able to make

If you’re dying to change up your project’s design, we’re afraid to say you are limited. Council’s generally don’t allow major design changes but they do allow room for alterations that fall under ‘non-material amendments’.

Small changes under this banner might include…

  • Amendments to windows/doors/openings that don’t overlook neighbouring properties
  • Reducing the size of your building/extension
  • Changing the interior layout
  • Add a patio that’s lower than 30cm

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However, it’s important to note there’s no statutory definition on what falls under this category, so it often falls to your local authority to make a subjective decision.

To help offer some clarity, we recommend talking potential changes through with your case officer or having your architect do this on your behalf. A nice officer will be able to give you informal advice that’ll help you work out the likelihood of your changes being approved before you go down official channels.

If you do decide to go ahead with your alterations, you’ll then need to make a formal ‘non-material amendment’ application, which will incur a small fee.

Changes you can’t make

Want to know when a non-material amendment becomes just a straight-up no-go zone? Here’s what won’t be considered as part of your existing planning agreement…

  • Increasing the size of your extension/building
  • Significant increase in the height of an eaves or roof
  • Moving a building or extension, even if it is within the same site area
  • Change of site area (red line)
  • Changes that are in conflict with a specific condition
  • Significant change in elevation (where the proposal would appear materially different to that permitted)
  • Inserting a new feature (such as dormer windows that could create an overlooking problem)
  • Changes which alter the nature or description of the development
  • Multiple minor changes
  • New works or elements that weren’t part of the original application

It's good rule of thumb to follow is to remember the common reasons why planning is refused in the first place. Having your project be in keeping with the rest of the house, avoiding overshadowing your neighbours, the impact on local wildlife, all these factors went into the original decision and so need to be considered when making any additions.

Learn more about why planning permission is refused.

Making those changes anyway…

If the changes you want to make aren’t possible under your current application, then you’ll need to reapply for permission. This might feel daunting but with a good architect by your side this can be a fairly painless process.

At Resi, even if you didn’t use us for your original designs, our team can map out your new ideas before packaging them up for reapplication. Our in-house planning agents will then manage the submission on your behalf, ensuring your new designs have the best chance for approval. And, if you already have approval, this resubmission should exclude an application fee.

To learn more about Resi’s planning services, why not talk to our team? You can book a consultation any time and get personalised project advice, all free of charge. Book yours here.

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