Rights of Light

If a new development reduces the level of light to a window over 20 years old below a certain minimum, the window's owner is entitled to legal remedy, unless the right has been waived by express agreement. Depending on the extent of the injury, this can range from the award of compensation, through cutting back the development, to court injunction to stop the development altogether.

Property developers and property owners should be aware of the fact that even after a development has been granted planning permission, it can be opposed on the grounds of rights of light. This presents an additional risk for property developers, and an additional weapon for property owners. Generally the courts would act to uphold the rights of residential owners more stringently than commercial owners, so that residential properties can be a strong constraint on the extent of development. However, owners of any property, commercial or residential, can constrain development if they can demonstrate they have rights which have been infringed. To this end, we can produce site envelopes defining the 3D space which can be developed without infringing any rights of light.

What can Waterslade do?

Waterslade can assess the extent of rights of light injury, advising developers and owners of any potential reduction in light. We can also provide this service to architects and surveyors.

How is it done?

In the example below, the green contour shows the amount of light entering the room before the development has been implemented, and the red contour shows the amount of light thatwould be received after the proposed development has been implemented. These are actually contours of 0.2% sky factor. Clearly there is a reduction in light available, so that by determining the area lost, we can assess whether an actionable injury has occurred.

view larger Waldram Diagram

For any level of infringement we can advise on how the development would need to be altered to make the situation unactionable. An aid to accomplishing this is to produce a Waldram diagram.

The example on the left shows a Waldram diagram produced at a window centre point. The proposed development is shown in red.

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