Planning Objections – Loss of Light and Overbearing Impact

Loss of light and overbearing impact can significantly affect the enjoyment and value of your property. If you find yourself in a situation where your neighbours are planning a development that may obstruct your access to light, it’s important to understand how you can raise a planning objection based on loss of light or overbearing impact and protect your rights. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the steps you can take prepare a planning objection based on loss of light and overbearing Impact

Right to Light

Right to light is a legal easement that protects a property owner’s access to natural light. It ensures that neighbouring developments do not substantially obstruct the light entering a property’s windows. The right to light is crucial for maintaining a comfortable living environment, preserving property values, and safeguarding the well-being of occupants. It’s important to remember that rights of light is not a right to direct sunlight. Rather, it entitles the beneficiary to a minimum level of natural illumination. Let’s get into the detail so that you can write an effective planning objection letter.

The Building Research Establishment’s daylight standards provide guidelines and are often quoted and an inspector in Mid Sussex 21/09/2016 provided a convenient guide to how they actually work. In the decision it was stated that the 25° rule is a simple initial assessment. If a development proposal does not obstruct a 25° line in a vertical section from a point at the centre of the lowest window of property that might be affected, the effect is deemed to be acceptable.

If that is not the case, a more detailed assessment is required which takes account of open space or obstructions either side of the vertical section, i.e. the Vertical Sky Component. Vertical Sky Component is a measure of the amount of sky visible from a centre point of a window. A window that achieves 27% or more is considered to provide good levels of light, but if with the development in place the figure is both less than 27% and would be reduced by 20% or more, the loss would be noticeable.

Our post on overshadowing contains more detailed information on the loss of light issue – namely it focuses on the horizontal assessment of loss of light – i.e. the loss of light potentially created by extensions or development to either side of the window in question.

Local Authority’s Role in Assessing Planning Applications

While planning authorities may not directly consider legal rights to light, they do have a duty to consider the impact of neighbouring developments on local and national planning policies. This includes assessing the impact on daylight and sunlight to habitable room windows, rear gardens, and sitting areas. By highlighting the potential negative effects on these areas, you can raise concerns that fall within the scope of the planning authority’s responsibilities.

In some cases, the local planning authority may request the planning applicant to provide a Daylight and Sunlight Assessment. This assessment evaluates the impact of the proposed development on the availability of daylight and sunlight to neighbouring properties. However, if the applicant does not provide such an assessment, it may be possible for neighbours to prepare their own assessment to support their objections.

Demonstrating Non-compliance with Daylight and Sunlight Standards

A Daylight and Sunlight Assessment can be a powerful tool in supporting your objection to a planning application. By reviewing the applicant’s drawings and demonstrating that certain “rules of thumb” tests for daylight and sunlight are not met, you can make a case for the local authority to insist on a full assessment from the applicant. This approach can help you avoid the costs of preparing a full assessment yourself.

Expertise in Assessing Loss of Light and Overbearing Impact

Planning Voice can assist you in evaluating the potential impact on your property and provide expert advice on raising objections effectively. We are well-versed in the relevant regulations, planning policies, and legal considerations. By working with Planning Voice, you can strengthen your case and maximize the chances of a favourable outcome.

Understanding Overbearing Impact

Definition and Effects of Overbearing Impact

Overbearing impact refers to the negative influence a proposed development may have on the surrounding properties in terms of size, scale, and proximity. It can affect privacy, amenity, and the visual appeal of the area. Overbearing developments can create a sense of being overlooked or overshadowed, significantly impacting the quality of life for neighbouring properties.

Factors Considered in Assessing Overbearing Impact

When assessing the overbearing impact of a proposed development, planning authorities consider various factors. These may include the height and mass of the proposed structure, its proximity to neighbouring properties, the potential loss of privacy, and the impact on the character of the area. By addressing these factors in your planning objection letter, you can highlight the potential harm that the development may cause.

The overbearing impact of a tall addition to a three-storey block of flats in south London, to create four apartments in two extra storeys, was judged to fail to comply with the limitations and conditions of Class A of Part 20 to Schedule 2 of the General Permitted Development Order (GPDO) 2015 in Kingston-upon-Thames 15/10/2021 DCS No 400-032-917. In the inspector’s opinion, it would result in an awkward and excessively tall building out of character with typical building proportions and was not good architecture. The Inspector concluded that the scheme would have an overbearing impact on some properties (along with increasing the level of overlooking between properties giving rise to an unacceptable loss of privacy).

Objecting on the Grounds of Overbearing Impact

Documenting the Impact on Privacy and Amenity

When objecting to a planning application on the grounds of overbearing impact, it is crucial to document the potential impact on privacy and amenity. This can include detailing how the proposed development may infringe upon your privacy, obstruct your views, or negatively affect the enjoyment of your property. Providing specific examples and evidence can strengthen your objection.

Highlighting the Negative Effects on Surrounding Properties

In addition to considering the impact on your own property, it is important to highlight in your planning objection letter the potential negative effects on the surrounding area. This can include the impact on the character and visual appeal of the neighbourhood, the overshadowing of neighbouring properties, or the potential loss of sunlight and daylight for multiple properties. By demonstrating the broader impact, you can strengthen your objection.

The Importance of a Well-Structured Objection

Organizing Your Objection Letter

When raising objections to a planning application, it is essential to present your case clearly and concisely. Organize your objection letter into sections, addressing each concern separately. Begin with a clear introduction outlining your objections, followed by detailed explanations and supporting evidence. Conclude with a summary of your key points and a strong closing statement.

Including Relevant Evidence and Supporting Documentation

To strengthen your objection, include relevant evidence and supporting documentation. This can include photographs, drawings, maps, and expert reports. Ensure that all evidence is clearly labelled and referenced within your objection letter. By providing comprehensive supporting documentation, you can reinforce the validity of your objections.

Addressing Planning Policies and Regulations

Make sure to reference relevant planning policies and regulations in your objection. This demonstrates that your objections are grounded in the established guidelines that the local planning authority must follow. Clearly articulate how the proposed development fails to comply with these policies and regulations, further strengthening your case.

Don’t sit back and let it happen without your input—take action and make your voice heard!

Contact Planning Voice today.