S.96A Amends to Reserved Matters Approval: Can you do it? Yes you can!

What's happened?

The Court of Appeal has confirmed that Section 96A applications for non-material amendments to planning permissions can be made to a reserved matters approval granted in respect of an outline planning permission.

Is this good news?

Yes.  As one of the highest courts in the land, it is a useful judgement because it sets a legal precedent which can only be reversed by a higher court or new legislation.

What does it mean for you?

The main advantage of this decision is that it provides certainty to the development industry that non-material amendments can be made to reserved matters approvals.  Previously there was confusion as to whether this could be done because Section 96A refers to changes to a "planning permission".  Previous court decisions have distinguished between planning permissions and reserved matters approvals so it was not clear whether Section 96A applied to approvals.

Same package

However in this case, the court held that a conditional approval of reserved matters is itself a condition subject to which the planning permission has been granted.  In other words, the planning permission encompasses conditions which are imposed either when the permission itself is granted or which are attached to any subsequent approvals.

As the judge put it, the planning permission to which Section 96A refers is the "package consisting of the grant of planning permission itself, together with any conditions to which the grant is subjected, whether conditions are imposed at the time of or subsequent to the grant of permission".

As a result, it should be more straightforward for developers to submit Section 96A applications to amend reserved matters approvals because they should get less kick back from local planning authorities and do not need to worry about approvals being challenged (or quashed!) on the basis of incorrect legislative procedure.

If you would like any further information or advice, please let us know.

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