“Can I object to my neighbours’ proposed planning application on grounds of the loss of my right to light?”

In short – no, you can’t. But all is not lost…

The reason being is that the Local Authority Planning department is not obliged or able to assess legal easements (a right to light is an easement); they must determine a planning application based upon compliance with their planning policies. Therefore, your concern regarding the impact upon your right to light in your objection will not be considered. It does, however, illustrate your concern to your neighbours, who will become aware of your situation.

Raise your objections early, at the very least, write to your neighbour

If matters progress to a legal right to light dispute, having raised this point early in the application process will not harm your case. It means a paper trail will be left demonstrating your opposition to the development and how important you feel your right to light is. However, we recommend you write to your neighbours directly, outside of the planning process to make them aware of your right to light concerns.

“Is there any way I can raise any concerns about the loss of light to my property or garden?”

Yes.  Planning authorities have a duty to consider local and national planning policies, and as such, should ensure that the impact on neighbouring amenity is considered.  Whilst not covering the matter of ‘legal right to light’, the Council should consider the impact on your Daylight and Sunlight to your habitable room windows, and the main house rear gardens or sitting out areas.

Daylight and Sunlight assessments could help

It is normal for the Local Authority to ask the applicant to pay for and submit a Daylight and Sunlight Assessment (at their cost) although sometimes, if this does not occur, we can prepare an assessment for a neighbour to help support an objection.  The downside is that in such circumstances, you would have to pay our fees, and also there are usually time constraints that might require you to seek an extension of time for submission of objection documents, as we normally require 3 weeks to model and report upon likely impacts.

It is not always necessary to prepare a full assessment if you’re a neighbour to a development.  Sometimes, we can review the applicants’ drawings and, if we can demonstrate that certain ‘rules of thumb’ tests for daylight and sunlight are not met, then we could write to the Council on your behalf, to try and put the onus on the Local Authority to insist upon a full assessment from the applicant.

Contact us for more help or guidance

Our team are on hand you to help. If you are unsure on how to proceed in your situation, contact us, we may be able to provide our professional expertise and help you move forward.


Related Articles

Right to Light Matters: A Surveyors Guide to Taking a Neighbour to Court

Rights Of Light: How To Handle Conflict Between Parties

Rights Of Light – Sometimes Pragmatism Is Best

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