Any planners - question about "Right to light" and a neighbouring shops planning permission request

(12 Posts)
namechangecity Sat 24-Nov-12 19:02:42

A property next to my late father's shop with first floor flat (he has recently died) has been proposing a monstrosity of an extension out of proportion to everything out there and which (in our opinion) will seriously affect the listed building adjacent to it.

We have had a lot of issues dealing with the relevant planning department. Sadly my dad thought he has sorted this whole issue out before he died and we now find out the planning department are basically ignoring all the work that has been put into his objections. One of the main concerns is that the huge extension will seriously affect the light coming in and our right to light will be seriously affected. I have always thought that a "right to light" was something that planners needed to take into account when considering and passing planning applications but they have today confirmed 6 months after we raised this that this is not something they take into consideration as this is a civil matter????

What do we do then - wait until a planning consent is passed and then sue the grantee of the permission saying it affects our right to light? This may get us some damages but the extension will have been built and the right to light affected - we are not wanting damages we just want the right to light to be unaffected. I know that building lines and angles etc are taken into account when planning permissions are considered so is right not to light not one of these considerations? There is no point calling the planning department for clarification as they confirmed this week that while they take objections into account they do not have time to speak to anyone that is objecting about anything???! Many thanks.

lalalonglegs Sat 24-Nov-12 19:06:55

I wouldn't wait until planning consent has gone through - I'd go and get some advice from a planning consultant, pester my local councillor and get the local historic society involved (if possible) to see if they can lobby on your behalf.

namechangecity Sat 24-Nov-12 19:13:40

mmm..some really good ideas - thanks v much. I don't really understand the difference but would local MP be better than a local counsillor - what different roles do they fulfill? What do you do if there are several councillors - or am I right in thinking that there is actually one per mini area (so where the shop is will only have 1 councillor)? Thanks

wonkylegs Sat 24-Nov-12 19:14:46

Right to light is a civil matter, not a planning issue although planners may take it into account as part of their wider considerations.
The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors publishes a guide on it which might help
www.rics.org/us/knowledge/more-services/guides-advice/rights-to-light/

namechangecity Sat 24-Nov-12 19:21:34

For some reason I can't get the what to do guide open - will keep trying to. Thanks.

lalalonglegs Sat 24-Nov-12 19:33:22

Our council has more than one councillor per ward (the mini-area of the borough) so, assuming yours is the same, have a look at who represents the shop ward and contact them all or target one that has a particular interest in, say, planning matters.

ATourchOfInsanity Sat 24-Nov-12 19:34:46

My architect said there is a site on line where you can put in the title number and it tells you how much light it gets from which angles - no idea what it is called, sorry, but thought it could be google-able if helpful?

namechangecity Sat 24-Nov-12 19:50:00

thanks of this. I will try to find it. But what I use this for - say it gets x angle what do i say that after the extension is built it gets x minus y angle?

GrendelsMum Sat 24-Nov-12 20:08:14

If you think it will affect the setting of a listed building, have you sent a letter to the Conservation Officer to notify them about it? We did this and got a very grumpy CO to come out to look at some proposed new buildings backing onto our house.

namechangecity Sat 24-Nov-12 20:26:57

I am not 100% certain but I think that the CO is only semi interested as the building is not that important - I am going to check that point. Thanks.

Flosshilde Sat 24-Nov-12 20:39:57

Right to light isn't a planning issue, it is a civil matter. The planning issue is the wider one of 'residential amenity' which covers lots of things but includes overshadowing and an overbearing impact. The planning department would be considering whether the extension would have such a detrimental impact on the residential amenity of the occupiers of the first floor flat that a refusal of planning permission is justified. This might be based on a specific angle or it might be a judgement on the specific circumstances of the case. It depends whether your council has any adopted guidance on the matter.

You can't sue an officer of the Council for granting planning permission. You can either seek judicial review of the decision, in which case it would be quashed if found to be unreasonable in Wednesbury terms (i.e so unreasonable no reasonable person could have made it) or if there has been an error in law. Or you can go to the Local Government Ombudsman to complain of maladministration but again they look at the process not the decision itself.

If the planning dept won't speak to you how do you know they won't take right to light into account, or more importantly that this is actually to be granted?

PigletJohn Sun 25-Nov-12 11:39:20

I had a planning application recently, the neighbour had a small window facing our house (but three metres away across their drive) and objected that our house would reduce the light to it. The planning response was they they do not have a right to light from adjoiniing properties. I suppose if they did, and their house was well eqipped with windows, they could prevent people building on the adjacent plots. The objection was dismissed.

I think the calculation of light required through a window applies to you if you are building a house or extension close to an existing buiulding.

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