23 March 2010 #Inward Investment
In our fact sheet of 13 July 2009 we explained proposals for these two new forms of planning application. The former is an application with the benefit of a simplified procedure not requiring the submission of a design and access statement, for the extension of time limits for planning permission extant but unimplemented at the date of the new provisions coming into effect. As anticipated, this was 1 October 2009, but with an important modification to the proposed rules because the intention that they would only apply to schemes for major development was dropped in response to public consultation.
The new procedure for applications for non-material changes to planning permission, required to be made on a new form of application and for which the period of determination is 28 days, also came into effect on 1 October 2009.
Whilst there was some benefit from the simplification of the content requirements for an application for extension of time limits, the application fee remained the same as for a conventional application for planning permission for the scale of development the subject of the application. The Department for Communities and Local Government had announced that it was unable to make an immediate change to the Fees Regulations and that the proposed flat rate fee was likely to be introduced towards the end of 2009. In the event, these new regulations were only recently made and brought into force at the end of February. These potentially provide a substantial saving compared with the normal fee for a standard application. However the originally proposed flat rate fee of £170 will not apply to major development (principally residential development for ten or more dwellings (or on a site of 0.5 hectares or more if the number of dwellings is unknown) or the provision of a building creating floorspace of 1,000sqm or more, or a site of 1 hectare or more). For major development the fee is £500. In the case of householder development, however, the fee will be only £50. In all other cases the fee is £170. The introduction of the flat rate fees makes the procedure far more attractive.
Conversely, as the former Fees Regulations did not make provision for the new category of application for non-material amendments, no fee was payable for this type of application. The recently amended Fee Regulations introduce a fee for these applications. This is a flat rate fee of £170, except in the case of householder development for which the fee is only £25.
Whilst the arrangements for the extension of planning permission time limits themselves have a limited lifetime because they apply only to extant permissions relating to development not yet commenced at 1 October 2009, it seems probable that applications for non-material amendments to permissions will take on increasing importance as developers realise the benefit of a statutory procedure that provides a definitive authorisation of minor amendments. These must be non-material amendments. The procedure does not apply to minor material amendments.
Under a further amendment to the General Development Procedure Order, which comes into force on 6 April 2010, information concerning applications for non-material changes to planning permission must be shown on the planning registers maintained by local planning authorities, including a copy of the application with any accompanying plans and drawings and particulars of the LPA`s decision and any decision of the Secretary of State on appeal.