Court quashes planning permission that inadequately considers impact on daylight

Court quashes planning permission that inadequately considers impact on daylight's Tags

Tags related to this article

Court quashes planning permission that inadequately considers impact on daylight

Published 18 diciembre 2018

The High Court has found that a planning officer's report had materially misled a planning committee regarding the impact a new development could have on the levels of daylight in neighbouring properties. In reaching its decision the High Court confirmed that in accordance with the Building Research Establishment's guidance, (the "BRE Guide") it was important to consider not only the total amount of daylight a building received but also the distribution of light within the building.

Developers should be aware of this decision if relying upon technical documents when submitting planning applications. The officer's report relied heavily on a report prepared by consultants which inaccurately applied the BRE Guide. The judgment emphasises that where technical documents are used, these must be applied accurately as Councillors will be reliant on correct advice produced by those with the relevant expertise.

In R (on the application of Sabine Guerry) v Hammersmith & Fulham London Borough Council [2018] EWHC 2899, the High Court found that:

  • The BRE Guide is a technical document and may not be familiar to Councillors, unlike planning policies. Accordingly, Councillors would probably not have understood that failing to meet the guideline for the distribution of daylight within a building is a separate distinct reason why daylight might be adversely affected. They would be reliant on the officer's report in this respect.
  • The officer's report was flawed by misapplication of the BRE methodology as the distribution of light within the building had not been adequately considered. The BRE Guide is clear that both the total amount of daylight and the distribution of light within a building are important.
  • Councillors were significantly misled as they were not in a position to form a judgment on the impacts of daylight distribution at the affected properties.

The case makes clear that the correct application of the BRE Guide is to consider not only the total amount of daylight a building receives but also the distribution of light within the building.

The full judgment can be read here.

Authors

Christopher Stanwell

Christopher Stanwell

London - Walbrook

+44 (0)20 7894 6269

< Back to articles