Scale again – minor material amendments

The issue of scale was again given consideration in relation to an application for modifications to a proposal for the conversion of a building in Hertfordshire to a dwelling (DCS Number 400-011-865).

The planning authority had refused to vary a condition on the outline permission for the scheme which required it to be carried out in accordance with the approved plans. The Planning Practice Guidance advises that there is no statutory definition of a ‘minor material amendment’ but it is likely to include any amendment where its scale and/or nature results in a development which is not substantially different from the one which has been approved, an appeal inspector recorded. She noted that planning permission had been granted for a one bedroom single-storey dwelling.  The proposed amendments included: raising the eaves height by some 1.4 metres; raising the ridge height by some 1.2 metres; creating habitable roof space for an additional bedroom and bathroom; the insertion of two front dormer windows some 1 metre and 1.4 metres in width; the addition of a ground floor window; and the addition of a planting bed to the front and an increase in size of a central planter.

In the inspector’s opinion, the amendments would substantially alter the scale and nature of the approved dwelling. In particular, it would double the number of bedrooms. The increase in ridge height together with the proposed two front dormer windows would also appear substantially different from the approved roof structure with skylights.  Accordingly, she concluded that the proposal did not constitute a ‘minor material amendment’ under the Section 73 procedure and dismissed the appeal.

A common theme to note in this regard is that inspectors do seem to be comparing the scale of the proposed changes against the overall scale of the scheme.

The following DCP chapter is relevant: 5.135

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