In December 2021 Birmingham City Council adopted the new Development Management in Birmingham DPD (DMB) to replace the old 2005 Birmingham UDP. The new DMB includes a new set of Local Validation Requirements for Planning Applications. For the first time this includes specific reference to the requirement for Daylight & Sunlight Assessments and ties the requirements to the DMB Policy on Amenity.
Until now, like many regional planning authorities, Birmingham City Council’s planning guidance has been vague when it comes to amenity issues, the impact of development on neighbours and the quality of daylight and sunlight within a proposed scheme. The Council have now published a new Local Validation Requirements document which sets out the information that Birmingham City Council will require to be able to register, assess and determine planning applications.
New Requirement for Daylight & Sunlight Assessments in Birmingham
The new Validation list states that a daylight & sunlight assessment will be required for :
“any application where there is potential adverse impact upon the current levels of sunlight/daylight within the habitable rooms of adjacent residential buildings and those of the proposed building(s)”.
The list stipulates that the assessment should include overshadowing studies and assessments of Vertical Sky Component and Average Daylight Factor. These should be undertaken by a suitably qualified professional using the criteria within the BRE Guidelines; ‘Site layout planning for daylight and sunlight: A guide to good practice 2011.’
It also requires the results to be presented in a report including diagrams illustrating the assessment and a non-technical summary of the assessment for the benefit of lay readers and, presumably, members of the planning committee so that they can take account of the findings in their deliberations.
This new document marks a major step change by Birmingham's Planning Authority. This is perhaps to reflect the large number of residential developments that are coming forward in and around the city centre, for instance. Whilst it may create an additional hurdle to submitting a planning application, in reality it is simply aligning Birmingham with policies that have been in force across Greater London for many years. It demonstrates the importance that is now placed on the quality of daylight and sunlight amenity; not only in terms of the impact of a scheme on neighbouring properties, but also to ensure a proposed development will enjoy good quality daylight and sunlight.
How we can help with Daylight & Sunlight Assessments
Anstey Horne’s Birmingham office are well placed to support clients and fellow design professionals in meeting the requirements of the new Local List, combining a wealth of local knowledge and many years of experience in Daylight & Sunlight Assessments.
For detailed advice direct from one of our surveyors on the assessment process and how it may affect schemes currently in the pipeline please call our Daylight & Sunlight Enquiry Line on 020 4534 3138.
If you would like us to call you, please fill in our Contact Us form and we will call you back.