Right to Light for Extensions requiring Full Planning Permission, and, those Allowed under ‘Permitted Development’

Are you planning to extend your home?  Perhaps a side or rear extension, an extra storey, or simply raising the height of an existing roofline or boundary wall?

You may be at an early stage, still thinking about getting plans drawn up for a Planning Application, or you may already have gained Planning Permission. Perhaps your planned works fall under ‘Permitted Development’ and don’t even need Planning Permission.

With Planning Permission, Building Regulations Approval, Party Wall Awards all in hand you would think you’d be good to go, wouldn’t you?

Unfortunately, this may not be the case.

Even despite you having gained all statutory consents, if your neighbour has a legal right to light to their windows, and your proposed works will cause the light to those windows to be diminished to a certain level, your neighbour might be able to get an injunction to stop you building, or worse, make you demolish what you have already built.

If the case was not strong enough for an injunction, the other remedy would be compensation, which can often involve hefty sums having to be paid to neighbours.

Contact us to find out more

If you have any drawings or photos please email them to [email protected]

“Following a rejection of our plans for the building of a new house, by the Planning Authority, due to the effect of the proposed development upon the living conditions of the neighbouring properties, with particular regard to outlook and daylight / sunlight, we decided to appeal the decision. As part of our appeal we commissioned a Daylight & Sunlight Assessment from Smith Marston which reached an entirely different conclusion to the planning authority. The report was crucial, with the Planning Inspector concurring with it’s conclusions, and the decision of the planning authority overturned. We found the work undertaken by Smith Marston excellent, objective and in accordance with Industry standards, and would have no hesitation in recommending them.”

Mr Brown

Technical Information on Right of Light Matters

Assistance for Neighbours to a Development

If a neighbour to a development has a room which would suffer a legal injury in respect of right of light they are entitled to compensation or an injunction to prevent the offending part of the development from being constructed.

This stands true even if the developer is a multi-national company and the neighbour is an individual with a legal injury in terms of loss of light to just one room. There are cases where a Judge has ordered a partial demolition of a development even after its completion and occupation. An example of this is a court ruling against Highcross in Leeds. Notably, an appeal which was due to be held at the end of March 2011 was cancelled due to an out-of-court settlement – this means that the original court ruling remains unchallenged and the case law from that (an injunction against the developer in respect of a neighbouring commercial property) stands.

At Smith Marston, we are able to carry out a wide range of services from an initial assessment of the facts to determine whether there would, in fact, be a legal right to light injury onwards to negotiating with the developer to agree a change to the design of the building or for compensation. Normally, any agreement would also include reimbursement of associated professional fees.

We can assess other professional’s right to light assessments or we can carry out our own full and detailed rights of light calculations. We can also act in the role of Expert Witness if the matter were to proceed all of the way to Court.

Expert Witness

Although most right of light disputes are settled out of Court, there are occasions where the dispute does proceed to Court and a CPR35 standard Expert Witness report will be required.

To be valid for inclusion within a Court submission, an Expert Witness report must be in compliance with the Civil Procedure Rules part 35 (CPR35).

At Smith Marston, we are able to provide Right to Light Expert Witness reports and have had disputes proceed to Court in the past.

Philip Smith, one of the two Directors at Smith Marston, has over 20 years of experience of producing Expert Witness reports and he has been accepted onto the RICS Expert Witness Accreditation Service, confirming the necessary level of expertise to act in this respect.