Your neighbours wish to build an extension close to your nice, light filled rooms. You’ll be looking out at a brick wall, and you’ll lose both daylight and sunlight. You fear you garden will be cast into shadow. You worry the loss of light will affect the value of your home. We understand.
Whist your neighbours will have their own reasons for wishing to extend their home, you clearly would like to ensure your home is protected against adverse impact and the loss of such daylight and sunlight.
Many Local Authorities have policies that seek to ensure access to daylight and sunlight to neighbouring habitable room windows, and, sunlight to a neighbours’ principal garden is not adversely affected by a development.
Even in the absence of such a specific local policy, National Planning Policy stipules that amenity should be considered, and thus, where your Local Council’s policies are not clear on the issues of Daylight and Sunlight, failure to assess can still enable you to potentially challenge a planning decision if proper consideration has not been given.
The most widely recognised and used document for assessing good Daylight and Sunlight design, is “Site Layout Planning for Daylight and Sunlight – A Guide to Good Practice, 2nd Edition” by Paul Littlefair. This is a nationally recognised publication, and whilst not mandatory, it has been adopted by many design practitioners, planning consultants and Local Authority Planning Departments throughout the UK.
As a result of this, if your neighbours proposed extension (or new build property) does not meet the tests with this Guide (formally known and still widely referred to as BRE 209), and thus causes adverse impact to your home, planning permission can be refused, or, you your neighbour may be asked to adapt their design to eradicate the harmful impact upon your property.
There are certain ‘rules of thumb’ that, if your neighbours’ proposal fail, would be an indicator of risk, and in such circumstances, the Local Authority Planning Department should ask your neighbour (the Applicant) to submit a Daylight and Sunlight Assessment to accompany their planning application.
This document should inform the Planning Officer(s) as to the impact the proposed development will have upon your property.
Some neighbours do not feel comfortable with the idea of the Planning Officers relying upon a report prepared by a consultant instructed (and paid for) by the neighbour.
If you would prefer to commission your own report to accompany your objection(s), we can help you albeit in this situation clearly you would have to incur costs, as opposed to when a developer is the instructing party.