Brownfield redevelopment wins out over neighbour's loss of light

A seven-storey apartment building comprising 70 flats with basement parking was approved on brownfield land in a north west London suburb, despite adverse effects on the living conditions of adjoining occupiers from loss of light.

One of the main issues in the appeal concerned the impact of the apartment block upon ground floor windows in the side elevation of the rear outrigger of the adjoining property, which afforded light to a small communal living room and a kitchen. The inspector accepted that the scheme’s siting, scale and massing would significantly reduce natural light to these rooms which would detract from their usability and be detrimental to the living conditions of the occupiers of the ground floor flat. However, he opined the small size of the sitting room suggested that it had only a limited function within the flat. Furthermore, he was not satisfied that the impact of the proposed scheme would reduce the usability of the rooms to an unacceptable extent. He noted the bedrooms, which would be either unaffected or affected to a very limited degree by the proposed scheme, provided alternative rooms for the occupiers to use. 

In support of this approach, the inspector cited NPPF advice regarding taking a flexible approach in applying policies or guidance relating to daylight and sunlight, where they would otherwise inhibit making efficient use of a site. He concluded whilst the appeal development would adversely affect the living conditions of the occupiers with regard to natural light, the layout of the properties and the limited extent of the adverse effects meant this would not result in unacceptable harm. On balance, he was satisfied that the benefits of the proposed scheme in providing new homes on brownfield land outweighed this limited harm and would therefore be acceptable. 

Inspector: Andrew Parkin; Written representations

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