Development management answers: Reasonable to refuse non-material amendment?

Q A developer with planning permission for an extension wishes to submit a non-material amendment application for an obscure glazed roof light in the roof slope. On its own, this would be permitted development. However, the site is adjacent to the neighbours' boundary and they may wish to comment. A section 73 application for a minor material amendment would allow this. Would it be reasonable to refuse the non-material amendment, given the fallback position that the light could be a permitted development once the extension is complete? HA

A National Planning Practice Guidance (PPG) leaves open the question of what can be dealt with as a non-material amendment, suggesting that context is pivotal. This allows planning authorities discretion to consider site-specific circumstances. Also, although the PPG advises that consultation is unlikely to be needed in such a case, it does indicate that it is possible to carry it out. So I cannot give a definitive answer as to whether to accept a non-material amendment application, but advise you to make your own decision. If you decide it could be made, you could then consult the neighbours. Given the fallback right to insert the roof light once the development is completed, I would not recommend refusing a non-material amendment application or a planning application unless serious harm would result. John Harrison

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