by Trevor Rushton, Director
“Whilst a developer may have permission to build an additional two storeys under the new planning legislation, this does not mean that there are not private rights belonging to the surrounding properties that need to be dealt with; rights of light being an example.”
“In our experience the approach to daylight can vary between local authorities and care should be taken to ensure that the information presented with the prior approval is complete and clearly sets out the levels of daylight to the habitable rooms; using an already recognised measure of daylight may prove important in reassuring the local authority that the daylight will be sufficient.”
The Government see this amendment as an important step in providing a light touch planning system that encourages the construction of new homes; providing a boost to enable more homes to be built is a priority for the Government. The amendments are also seen by Government as a crucial part of restoring energy and momentum into the economy post COVID-19 by enabling homes to be provided more easily.
Whilst this amendment does provide greater flexibility for developers to provide new homes the usual pre development due diligence will be even more important with regard to the rights of neighbours, both within blocks to be extended upwards and those surrounding. Key considerations will be;
Here are some of the amendments that have caught the eye of our neighborly matters team.
The amendments will add a new part 20 to permit the construction of new homes on top of existing detached purpose-built blocks of flats that a real ready over 3 storeys. The Government has been reviewing planning on this point for some time and appears to be reacting to the opinion and sentiment gathered in the Planning Reform: Supporting the high street and increasing the deliveryof new homes (October 2018).The new rights limit the upwards extension to an additional two floors, but also allow the replacement or installation of additional plant, engineering operations, construction of safe access an egress to the new homes and ancillary facilities, if needed.
The right is subject to a maximum height limited of 30 metres for the completed extended block and will require prior pproval from the local planning authority. In addition to the usual considered matters part 20 developments willalsoneedto considerthe impact the taller building will have on air traffic and defence assets and on protected vistas in London.
The prior approval will also now include consideration in respect of the provision of adequate natural light in all habitable rooms of the new homes.
“It is great to see the government freeing constraints from the planning system. It is also pleasing to note the importance of natural daylight in new homes is being recognised and safeguarded. What will need to be carefully considered by developers considering the use of the new part 20 is the impact on the light to the surrounding properties. Whilst a developer may have permission to build an additional two storeys under the new planning legislation, this does not mean that there are not private rights belonging to the surrounding properties that need to be dealt with;rights of light being an example.”
A key message across the amendments is that of ensuring that adequate natural light is provided to all habitable rooms. The amendments place a natural light at the heart of the prior approval process which will apply to developments to be delivered by Class M, N, O, PA and Q
in Part3 of Schedule 2 the General Permitted Development Order and also in the new Class A of Part 20.Detailed, dimensioned floor plans showing the proposed use of each room, the location and size of windows, doors and wall and elevations of the homes are to be submitted as part of the prior approval application.
However, it is interesting to note that whilst the amendments to class O (office to residential) requires adequate natural light to be provided to habitable rooms,it does not give rights to insert new windows under the permitted development route.
Without demonstrating that adequate natural light will be provided in the new habitable rooms the planning authority have a mandatory requirement to refuse the prior application.
“Whilst it is pleasing to see that the amendments are placing a greater onus on natural light in new homes, there will be situations where demonstrating this is problematic. The amendments do not, for example, state what level of natural light is considered to be ‘adequate’; the level of natural light needed may then be at the discretion of the local authority considering the prior approval. In our experience the approach to daylight can vary between local authorities and care should be taken to ensure that the information presented with the prior approval is complete and clearly sets out the levels of daylight to the habitable rooms; using an already recognised measure of daylight may prove important in reassuring the local authority that the daylight will be sufficient.”