Anstey Horne

Court Overturns Planning over ‘Misleading’ loss of light advice

Misleading rights of light advice from GIA

A High Court judge overturned planning permission for Hoxton Hotel on Shepherd's Bush Green over ‘Misleading’ loss of light advice from consultants GIA. The judge concluded that councillors were ‘significantly misled’ by a report that was ‘flawed by misapplication of the BRE methodology’.

London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham had allowed the proposed Hoxton hotel development, on Shepherds Bush Green.

Justine Thornton QC quashed permission after hearing the case of local resident Sabine Guerry. Ms Guerry had successfully argued that the daylight effects of the new building on her property and her neighbours’ properties had not been properly assessed. She said the developer’s assessment had misapplied the methodology in the Building Research Establishment (BRE)’s ‘Site Layout Planning for Daylight and Sunlight: A Guide to Good Practice’.

Misleading Advice from GIA

The 'misleading' daylight report, produced by GIA, applied the BRE methodology ‘sequentially’, only testing daylight distribution (NSL) in a room if windows serving the room failed to meet the VSC criteria.

In Justine Thornton’s judgement this approach is ‘flawed by misapplication of the BRE methodology’. As a consequence councilors were given ‘scant’ information on NSL compliance.  The judge found the BRE guide to be ‘clear that both the total amount of daylight and the distribution of light within a building are important’.

Due to the ‘misleading nature’ of the advice by GIA the decision to grant planning permission was found to be unlawful and it was quashed.

Francis Taylor Building Chambers who acted for the Claimant said this case follows another recent decision where a planning permission was quashed on the basis of misapplication of the BRE methodology (Rainbird v London Borough of Tower Hamlets).

“These decisions serve as a salutary lesson to developers that technical reports need to apply methodologies comprehensively and selective presentation of the results can ultimately lead to decision-makes being ‘significantly misled’,” it said.

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Rebecca Chapman

Rebecca Chapman

BSc (Hons) LLB

Senior Director

Rights of Light

Matthew Grant

Matthew Grant

BA (Hons) MScLL

Senior Director

Rights of Light

Stephen Mealings

Stephen Mealings

BSc (Hons) MRICS

Senior Director

Rights of Light + PW