We offer a range of services at varying stages of a development’s design, these being during the site purchase, initial design stage, pre/post planning stages, as well as the construction phase.
Our advice is generally split into two categories, these being rights of light and daylight, sunlight and overshadowing. However, unless we are instructed post planning approval, we strongly advise dealing with both issues at the same time, as the solutions are intrinsically linked.
Rights of light, Daylight, Sunlight and Overshadowing
As a brief overview, both issues consider the amount of light a neighbour might enjoy, and how much light reduction there would be after development has been completed.
However, daylight, sunlight and overshadowing is a planning issue and the planning authority ultimately decide whether the impacts from a development are acceptable. Our role is to set out the assessments and provide an evaluation of the effects against key documents such as the Building Research Establishment ‘Site layout planning for daylight and sunlight: A guide to good practice’.
Rights of light is a common law issue that sits outside of the planning process. Generally, an occupant has to have a prescriptive right to light (enjoying light for 20 years continuously) before they can assert their right. The courts can award injunctions where light losses are serious, or award a monetary compensation sum in lieu.
We are able to advise developing parties, affected adjoining owners and third parties such as local authorities and funding investors. Whilst one might expect our approach to differ with each of these parties, the fundamental approach for all is to identify the extent of the effect and what a suitable resolution might be. Our services for each party are set out as follows:
We prefer to get on board as soon as the development design is being formed, so that we can advise the architect on the issues and agree with the developer the level of risk versus viability. We can then devise a strategy to manage the risk through the construction phase, seeking to ensure future funders, tenants and occupants are also covered.
We will seek to establish the extent of the impact, advising on the options to ensure that the developing party is aware of the issues and the potential outcomes if they do not engage in finding a suitable solution. Solutions can range from changing the scheme design to agreeing compensation in lieu.
We advise local authorities on planning submissions where light losses are more contentious, giving a balanced review of the effects and advising on the acceptability against the guidance legislation. We have experience in providing expert witness advice, should an application be taken to appeal. For funding parties, we can provide an overview of the risks associated with daylight/sunlight and rights of light, negotiating contractual obligations for the developing party where necessary.