logoSouthwest Environmental Limited
Environmental Consultancy Services to Industry, Business and Individuals
02076 920 670
01392 927 961
01612 970 026 
01173 270 092 


Minor Development In Relation to Exceptions and Sequential Test

With regards to Minor Development In Relation to Exceptions and Sequential Test Annex B of PPS25, D15, Minor development, states that applications for minor development and  changes of use should not be subject to the Sequential or Exception Tests but will still have to meet  the requirements for FRAs and flood risk reduction.  This sound helpful but in reality the definition is unclear

A - Annex B of PPS25, D15 Definition of Minor Development

Minor developments are unlikely to raise significant flood risk issues unless they would:

a) have an adverse effect on a watercourse, floodplain or its flood defenses;
b) would impede access to flood defense and management facilities; or
c) where the cumulative impact of such developments would have a significant effect on local flood storage capacity or flood flows.

It is believed that none of the above will be affected by this development.

B - Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government Minor & Major Developments

For dwellings, minor development is one where the number of dwellings to be constructed is between 1 and 9 inclusive. Where the number of dwellings to be constructed is not given in the application, a site area of less than 0.5 hectares should be used as the definition of a minor development. For all other uses, a minor development is one where the floor space to be built is less than 1,000 square metres or where the site area is less than 1 hectare. Decisions are classified as relating to a Major/Minor Development on the basis of the development covered by the application which was decided.

C - Other Criteria where Sequential Test may Not Apply . . . .

1.If the development is considered to be inappropriate for the flood zone of the site. These circumstances are listed in table C below and more fully in table 3 of the NPPF Technical Guidance. In such circumstances permission would normally be refused and therefore it is not advisable to submit a planning application.

2.The proposal is for the change of use of land/buildings only.

3.The proposal is a minor non-residential extension only (i.e. less than 250 square metres)

4.The proposal is development that does not increase the size of the building e.g. alterations to external appearance.

5.The proposal is for householder development (extensions and detached buildings etc) provided that the proposal is not associated with the creation of a separate unit of residential accommodation.

6.We, as part of the Local Development Framework (LDF) or Local Plan process, have already sequentially tested the site.

7.For a replacement building (see the PPS25 Practice Guide, para. 4.40

8.For an ongoing and existing regeneration scheme (see the Practice Guide, para. 4.38). Although in such circumstances a sequential approach to the location of development within the application site may still need to be applied.

Minor Development In Relation to Exceptions and Sequential Test  - Conclusions

There are at least two definitions of Minor Development one in relation to flood risk, the other is relation to classification under PPS. The two do not match up. In addition to this we have a list of circumstances under which the sequential test specifically does not apply which again add variables to the situation.

There is a slight advantage gained from the above knowledge in that one might avoid having to complete the exception test if it meets criteria set out in A and B above. BUt it is unlikely as the EA may well argue that any development within a flood zone would have negative impacts of water course or flood storage, and as we would not carry out a flood risk assessment for a site in Zone 1 (unless for surface water drainage reasons) the advantage is lost.