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Stuart J
Stuart J, Solicitor
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 22403
Experience:  PGD Law. 20 years legal profession, 6 as partner in High Street practice
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I've just heard planning permission has been granted for the

Customer Question

I've just heard planning permission has been granted for the redevelopment of a site next directly facing/beside my flat. I'm second floor. The development, currently two stories, will be six stories. It's so close to my flat it'll destroy my light. The building I live in is over 20 years old. I've lived there for 16 years and I'm devastated. My neighbours and I are in shock. Can I do anything?
Submitted: 17 days ago.
Category: UK Property Law
Expert:  Stuart J replied 16 days ago.

This concerns the right to light as you are aware

During the course of answering you, I will give you some background from a variety of points of view which will hopefully explain the overall situation.

Let me say first, there is no right to a view.

This is also nothing whatsoever to do with whether you have been granted planning permission or not if light is obstructed by, for example, an extension. That is a separate issue although the planning people are supposed to consider the light issue. The guidelines however don’t require the loss of light to be considered with regard to non-habitable rooms.

The loss of light however applies regardless of planning and regardless of whether the loss is to a habitable room or a garage or whatever. It does not however apply to a garden which loses light. It can however affect “amenity” in the garden.

If a neighbour, allows plants to grow over their neighbours window, so as to obstruct light by more than 50% and apart from a potential action in nuisance, there is also an action in respect of the right to light.

If this blocks the view, then that is indeed unfortunate, There is nothing in law an owner can do provided it isn’t a nuisance and there is no breach of any consent.

I will add that there is also no right to a TV signal either so if it blocks a TV signal, other arrangements will have to be made. There is already case law on that.

The right to light is different. If a property has acquired the right to light (it depends how old the property is, there may be a remedy.

There is no absolute right to light from across neighbouring land, although this right can be ‘earned’.

Under the Prescription Act 1832 a right to light can be acquired provided the light has been uninterrupted for at least 20years. However, this right applies most commonly to a building, and more particularly, to the window through which the light enters.

An owner needs to check the deeds of the neighbouring property to see whether the right to light has been specifically excluded and you can get the land registry deeds for three quid by following this link.

https://eservices.landregistry.gov.uk/www/wps/portal/!ut/p/b1/04_SjzS0tDQwMTIxMjLXj9CPykssy0xPLMnMz0vMAfGjzOKNjSxMDA1NjDwsjM3MDTxN3dyNDUNMjQ1MjPWDU_P0c6McFQH3SLFU/

If the right to light is specifically excluded, there is nothing that a neighbour can do even if it makes the room pitch black.

I presume that you have already objected to the council’s planning decision. Once permission is granted, then you have no right of appeal to the local authority. Only the person who has been refused can appeal that decision.

You can appeal the decision through the courts using the judicial review process but it is not going to be cheap if you lose. Anyone else gets the benefit of the litigation if you win but you bear the burden in total if you lose. That could easily be £10,000 and perhaps more although if 10 of you get together, it can spread the risk.

Successful Judicial review will not necessarily change the council decision to grant planning consent, it would just make the council revisit the decision to see if it was made correctly and that due consideration was made to any of your objections.

I will tell you now that objecting to planning consent once it has been granted is not a job to be underta***** *****ghtly.

Does that answer the question? Can I answer any specific points arising from this?

Please do not forget to rate my answer service positively. You don’t read it positively, then I don’t get any payment/credit for my time here today.

You may think the thread closes after rating, but it does not, it remains open and we can still exchange emails if anything needs clarification.

Kind regards

Stuart.

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