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How to use a homeowner’s ‘right to light’ to prevent a neighbour’s extension

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If you’re trying to prevent a nearby housing development or a neighbour’s extension, there may be a little known and often overlooked element that could help your case.

By the same token, if you want to add an extension to your property and ensure that your plans are not blocked by a neighbour, this may be something you need to know about.

The issue centres on whether a homeowner has a legal right to light, which means that you have a right to receive light in your property, through existing windows and doors.

This can be a separate issue to planning and affect your extension or a neighbours’s even if planning permission has been granted.

Homeowners have a legal right to light, which can stop a neighbour building an extension

Homeowners have a legal right to light, which can stop a neighbour building an extension

If you are looking to stop a development next door or close by, you can raise the issue of how it would adversely affect your light as part of your objection with the planners as a first step – and this is the case even though the law says you have not yet acquired a legal right to that light continuing.

However, the planners may not respond in the way that you had hoped and so it may be something you need to raise directly with the developer, preferably through a solicitor.

We spoke to Stephen Gold, a retired judge and author of ‘The Return of Breaking Law’ about how a right to light can be used effectively, including how to communicate with anyone whose development may block your light.

Do you have a right to light?

Many of us do without knowing it, according to Mr Gold. However, he suggests checking you title deeds before cracking open the champagne as they may exclude it, particularly if you live on an estate.

The right is most commonly gained by natural light coming through any window of your property for an uninterrupted period of at least 20 years. 

Mr Gold explained: ‘The light enjoyed by previous owners will count towards that period. There’s nothing to be formally done once the 20 years have been clocked up. Just carry on enjoying.’

How much light counts?

A right to light can prove to be a big deal for homeowners if plans would adversely affect their enjoyment of their home. 

Equally, your neighbour may enjoy a right to light through their windows, which could scupper any plans for development on your land.

Building an extension or a brick wall might interfere with their light. 

Mr Gold explained: ‘A trifling reduction in the volume of light to a particular room would not justify a complaint.

‘Before you could expect the law to come to your aid, you would have to show that the interference to your light would be substantial. How much natural light would be left if there was interference and would that be enough for the comfortable use and enjoyment of your property?

‘The current and intended future use of an affected room and the nature of the locality would be relevant. If a dispute about threatened development got serious, you would need to be backed by an expert surveyor to have a realistic prospect of victory.’

'A trifling reduction in the volume of light to a particular room would not justify a complaint,' explains ex-judge Stephen Gold

‘A trifling reduction in the volume of light to a particular room would not justify a complaint,’ explains ex-judge Stephen Gold

Is the right to light totally separate to planning?

Planning permission may be granted although the development would interfere with a right to light that has been acquired after 20 years. 

On the other hand, when deciding whether to grant planning permission, some local authorities may take into account an interference with light whether or not the objector has clocked up 20 years – although you cannot rely on that.

But the fact that planning permission has been granted does not prevent the owner of the affected building from seeking to stop the development through the court provided they have clocked up their 20 years and have acquired a legal right that would be substantially affected. 

Can planning permission still be granted and people still use the right to light to stop work that has planning?

Yes, this is the case, according to Mr Gold. 

How do you stop interference? 

It is essential to communicate with whoever is proposing to take away your enjoyment of the light. 

If it is your neighbours then a personal approach is often the best course of action to maintain good relations, but you will also need to send something in written form to make your complaint official. 

Mr Gold recommends emailing something along the lines of the following: ‘I’ve seen your plans. I have a legal right to light through certain of the windows of my building opposite. Your development would infringe it, and this would amount to a legal nuisance. If you fail to confirm to me within 14 days that you will abandon the development, I will apply to the court for an injunction to prevent it.’ 

It may well be possible to negotiate revised plans, which would not interfere, or a cash settlement to ease the pain, according to Mr Gold.

How the right to light can have a big impact

Mr Gold outlines a case involving a Leeds man who had a right to light that was going to be substantially reduced by a redevelopment opposite to his building. 

Two more storeys were going to be added to an existing five-story block. 

Mr Gold said: ‘The Leeds man attempted to engage the redevelopers to reduce the scheme, but no resolution was reached, and the redevelopment went ahead. He took the enormous risk of not going to court before completion. 

‘It was the redevelopers who did that in asking for judicial blessing to the completed scheme by way of a declaration that the Leeds man had lost all legal remedies by not taking proceedings. 

‘The Leeds man belatedly counterclaimed for his injunction and compensation. The judge decided that the light interference was so significant that the redevelopers should remove two-thirds of the sixth and seventh floors. They had pressed on regardless of the fact that they knew the man was opposed to what was being done and how it would affect his property. The redevelopers lodged an appeal but it was never heard as the parties came to an acceptable deal.’

Stop the light

Mr Gold points out that the 20 years must have been uninterrupted. There is a deft way of interrupting the 20 years. The offending development could be carried out before the 20 years are up – with planning permission and any other consents required – but there is a less exacting way of interrupting. 

That is by registering a light obstruction certificate with the local authority under the Rights of Light Act 1959. 

The certificate is applied for to the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) at a cost of £1,320. This may be considered value for money as it stops the 20 years running up. It is tantamount to an interruption and means that the neighbouring property owner has to go back to square one and restart counting up to 20 years.

Who gets one of these certificates? 

It is the interrupter – the owner of the property who may wish to develop in the future and so who wishes to prevent their neighbour from acquiring a right to light. They seek a certificate before 20 years’ of continuous light enter the neighbour’s property and so interrupt the 20 years. 

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Tungsten and BC Partners launch €296m industrial JV (GB)

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Tungsten Properties have signed a transformative €296m (£250m) JV funding agreement with BC Partners. The newly formed joint venture company will target single and multi-let industrial opportunities across the UK, which will range from last-mile to big box logistics warehouses with a GDV of greater than €29.6m (£25m). Tungsten Properties will act as asset and development manager for the joint venture. With a strong conviction in the underlying occupational fundamentals of the industrial warehousing sector, the joint venture has already identified a strong pipeline to initially seed the partnership.

 

Jeff Penman, managing director, Tungsten Properties said:“This is a significant step in Tungsten’s expansion strategy to continue to deliver industrial and warehouse space to create growth, jobs and investor returns. This transformational JV agreement with BC Partners will provide reliable capital to continue delivering strategically located, environmentally friendly buildings across the UK. While there is volatility in the capital markets, both Tungsten and BC Partners believe that the industrial market’s long-term fundamentals remain strong. With a fighting fund behind us, we look forward to securing further opportunities.”

 

Laurian Douin, partner, BC Partners said: “The UK industrial and warehouse sector has strong secular fundamentals. Given Tungsten’s strong track record and like-minded approach to development, we are thrilled to partner with them to jointly invest in this asset class. The joint venture intends to deliver well-located, exceptional schemes to meet occupier demand, with a particular focus on schemes’ environmental credentials in-line with BC Partners Real Estate’s commitment to ESG.”

 

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Four homes for sale with swimming pools: With price tags from £1.1m to £190k

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Owning a property with a swimming pool might seem like one of life’s luxuries that is reserved for millionaires.

But, as our pick of homes for sale with swimming pools proves, you don’t have to have a multi-million pound property to have one.

That said, you may still need deep pockets for their upkeep, which can be costly, particularly if you want to keep your swimming pool heated to a comfortable temperature.

While water shortages and hosepipe bans are hitting the headlines, a pool that is already filled with water will not draw on resources but may be forbidden from being topped up by hosepipe in the case of a ban.

Our pick of four properties for sale with swimming pools are for various budgets, ranging from £1.1million to £190,000 (scroll down for more information about the house pictured)

Our pick of four properties for sale with swimming pools are for various budgets, ranging from £1.1million to £190,000 (scroll down for more information about the house pictured)

Here, we take a look at four swimming pools at properties for those with a range of different budgets.

At the top end is a six-bedroom house in Ramsgate, Kent. with an acre of land that includes an outdoor swimming pool. It has a price tag of £1.1million.

At the other end is three-bedroom property in Ashington, Northumberland, with an empty indoor swimming pool and an asking price of only £190,000.

Daniel Copley, of Zoopla, said: ‘With Britain currently experiencing a heatwave, it’s no surprise that homes with swimming pools are proving to be increasingly popular.

‘Whether your budget is more in the deep or shallow end, some homes with pools may be more affordable than you think.

‘While the rise in energy bills will have a very real impact on those wanting to heat a pool, at this time of year a refreshing dip may be just what’s needed.’

Four properties with swimming pools… 

1. Six-bed house, Ramsgate, £1.1m

The most expensive house in our list of properties with swimming pools is this £1.1million home in Ramsgate, Kent, which is being sold by Miles & Barr estate agents

The most expensive house in our list of properties with swimming pools is this £1.1million home in Ramsgate, Kent, which is being sold by Miles & Barr estate agents

The property is called Pond Cottage and it boasts a large outdoor swimming pool that has a curved slide at the side

The property is called Pond Cottage and it boasts a large outdoor swimming pool that has a curved slide at the side

Inside the property, the entertainment facilities continue - with a cinema room that has black chairs and a red carpet

Inside the property, the entertainment facilities continue – with a cinema room that has black chairs and a red carpet

The most expensive house in our list of properties with swimming pools is this £1.1million home in Ramsgate, Kent.

It boasts more than an acre of land that includes a large outdoor swimming pool, a patio and a pool area.

The property is called Pond Cottage and it is being sold by Miles & Barr estate agents.

2. Five-bed semi-detached house, Welling, £625k

This semi-detached property in Welling, Kent, may not look like it can house a swimming pool from the front aspect

This semi-detached property in Welling, Kent, may not look like it can house a swimming pool from the front aspect

A slimline swimming pool has been added to the rear of the house and it has been covered to protect it from the elements

A slimline swimming pool has been added to the rear of the house and it has been covered to protect it from the elements

The Kent property is on the market with a price tag of £625,000 and the sale is being handled by estate agents MS Estates

The Kent property is on the market with a price tag of £625,000 and the sale is being handled by estate agents MS Estates

This semi-detached property in Welling, Kent, may not look like it can house a swimming pool from the front.

But a slimline swimming pool has been added to the rear of the house. It is on the market for £625,000 via MS Estates.

3. Five-bed house, Ripon, £450k

This three-bedroom house in Ripon, North Yorkshire, was once a barn and has been converted into a family home with a swimming pool

This three-bedroom house in Ripon, North Yorkshire, was once a barn and has been converted into a family home with a swimming pool

The curved shaped indoor swimming pool sits below wooden beams and has a separate bar area for entertaining

The curved shaped indoor swimming pool sits below wooden beams and has a separate bar area for entertaining

The barn conversion has a colourful interior and is on the market for £450,000 via Solo Property Management estate agents

The barn conversion has a colourful interior and is on the market for £450,000 via Solo Property Management estate agents

This three-bedroom barn conversion in Ripon, North Yorkshire, boasts an indoor swimming pool and bar area.

It is on the market with a price tag of £450,000 and the sale is being handled by Solo Property Management.

4. Three-bed house, Ashington, £190k

This three-bedroom house in Ashington, Northumberland, is the cheapest in our list of properties for sale with swimming pools

This three-bedroom house in Ashington, Northumberland, is the cheapest in our list of properties for sale with swimming pools

The 1930s detached property has an indoor swimming pool that isn¿t currently being used because it has been left empty

The 1930s detached property has an indoor swimming pool that isn’t currently being used because it has been left empty

The three-bedroom property is currently for sale for £190,000 and is being sold via Rook Matthews Sayer estate agents

The three-bedroom property is currently for sale for £190,000 and is being sold via Rook Matthews Sayer estate agents

This three-bedroom house in Ashington, Northumberland, is the cheapest in our list of properties for sale with swimming pools.

It is a 1930s detached property with an indoor swimming pool that isn’t currently being used as it is empty.

The property is for sale for a relatively cheap £190,000 and is being sold via Rook Matthews Sayer estate agents.

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Barwood Homes invests in Woodville resi scheme (GB)

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Harworth Group plc has completed the sale of an eight-acre land parcel at Woodville, Derbyshire to Barwood Homes for the delivery of 73 new houses. This represents Harworth’s first transaction with the Northampton-based housebuilder. The land parcel forms part of a 53-acre regeneration site which is owned by Beepart Ltd, part of Dyson Group, the Sheffield-based former manufacturer of industrial materials. Harworth is promoting the site on its behalf through a Planning Promotion Agreement. In April 2022, South Derbyshire District Council granted outline consent for the creation of up to 300 homes on the site, in addition to a c.30,000ft² local center with convenience retail and leisure amenities and over 150,000ft² of employment space for a range of uses.

 

The wider site has been unlocked by the delivery of Derbyshire County Council’s Woodville to Swadlincote Regeneration Route, which opened to traffic in December 2021, providing better access to Swadlincote and traffic relief in Woodville, as well as improved connectivity across the site. Preparation works will commence shortly for the next phases of residential and employment land sales at the development.

 

Ed Catchpole, Regional Director for Yorkshire & Central at Harworth, commented: “This sale is a fantastic start to the development at Woodville and we are pleased to welcome Barwood Homes to the site, who will deliver high-quality new housing for the local community. Our focus is now on bringing forward the rest of the development, utilising our extensive experience in the remediation of complex sites, including earthworks and infrastructure, to ready the remaining residential and employment land.”

 

Luke Simmons, Managing Director of Barwood Homes, added: “We are delighted to be working alongside Harworth on this exciting development. The team is looking forward to engaging with the local community as we gear up to deliver a scheme of excellent quality in design, build and service.”

 

Gavin Rosson, Managing Director of Dyson Group, added: “This first sale of a residential portion of the site is an important step in unlocking the full development potential of the whole, something we have been trying to achieve for many years. Such development will help regenerate Woodville and the surrounding area, somewhere we have had a presence since 1967 and are delighted to participate in.”

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