Dan Henn

Permitted development rights (PDR): rights to light and party wall injunction risks remain

A new set of permitted development rights have been announced to help address the UK housing shortage. They will come into force in August 2020 and allow for certain residential buildings to be extended upwards by 7 metres without the need for planning permission, so long as the overall building height is no greater than 30 metres.

The Government hopes this measure will unlock the potential of eligible buildings. However, critics suggest that substandard habitable spaces could be created without the proper oversight from planners.

Either way, developers should be aware that the new permissions don’t reduce other risks to potential works.

Daylight, sunlight and overshadowing assessments still important

Although planning permission is not required, the local planning authority will still need to be satisfied with the quality of the new development. This will include requests for daylight, sunlight and overshadowing assessments to be provided. They will help demonstrate that new habitable spaces will be adequately lit and the additional massing will not adversely impact the neighbouring residential properties.

In addition, the new development rights will not override legal constraints associated with a development. Neighbourly constraints such as Rights of Light and Party Wall issues will still need to be mitigated.

Why are rights to light separate to permitted development rights?

Regardless of the new permitted development rights, neighbours could still invoke their right to light and seek an injunction to stop a development.

Rights to light relate to a certain level of light over land belonging to another. The most common way to obtain these rights is by enjoying a given level of light on your land, uninterrupted, for a period of at least 20 years.

So, when developing a building where the neighbouring properties are more than 20 years old, there is every chance the neighbours have acquired a right to light.

It’s important to consider the legal constraints and associated mitigation measures which could result from this, early in the development process.

Party Wall rights present another neighbourly challenge

Permitted Development rights don’t allow for building owners to avoid the responsibilities placed on them under the Party Wall Etc Act 1996. Neither does it provide for automatic rights of access to land which belongs to an adjoining owner, to undertake those works. 

The obligations of developers and building owners mean that despite Permitted Development, works could be notifiable under the Party Wall Act. Therefore, building owners may need to serve party wall notices to adjoining owners and agree awards before such works could start.

TFT’s specialist advisers are here to help developers, building owners and neighbours navigate their planning and construction works.

Contact Richard Nosworthy, our head of neighbourly matters, to support you with your next project.

We will be at MIPIM again this year

Attending this year will be Alan Pemberton, Managing Partner; David Mann, Partner; Dan Henn, Partner; Alistair Allison, Partner; and Lisa Gunn, Head of Client and Business Development.

We will be there between 13 – 16 March 2018. If you would like to catch up with any of the MIPIM team, get in touch below:

Alan PembertonDavid MannDan HennAlistair AllisonLisa Gunn

A masterclass in sustainable development

Pinnacle House in south-west London has been sustainably refurbished to a very high standard. In the latest issue of Building Surveying Journal (BSJ), TFT Partner Dan Henn explains how it was done.


TFT at MIPIM for the 20th year

TFT will once again be out in force at MIPIM this year. David Mann, Alan Pemberton, Dan Henn and Paul Spaven will all be in attendance at Cannes and putting their best foot forward along the Croisette.

On the agenda for meetings this year will be Technical Due Diligence (TDD) and how we deliver objective advice to manage risk, inform the transaction process and establish the inherent worth of the property or portfolio on acquisitions in the UK and across Europe. We will also be discussing Project Management, combining the discipline of project management with a thorough understanding of building construction; helping investors, lenders, developers, owners and occupiers achieve best value from their property assets. Get in touch if you would like to meet up.

Greenwich Regeneration meets with Royal approval

TFT Project Management has led the regeneration of Greenwich Town Centre on behalf of Greenwich Hospital. This includes the restoration of Greenwich Market and the site was recently visited by HRH Prince Andrew, who spent time touring the market and meeting the extensive team involved in the works.

TFT’s key team, Dan Henn and Andy Ferrznolo, were introduced to Prince Andrew during his tour prior to the unveiling of a plaque commemorating the completion of the market’s restoration.

TFT at MIPIM, again. Project Management & TDD on the agenda.

This will be our 19th year at MIPIM and we suspect it is going to be a very busy one, given the state of the UK property market and continued inward investment from abroad.

This year, we will be updating the market on two key areas of our business:

Technical Due Diligence (TDD) – where we deliver objective advice essential to managing risk, informing the transaction and establishing the inherent worth of the property or portfolio. We support UK and inbound investors who wish to acquire commercial property in the UK and across Europe. This is an area where we have seen strong growth and we are ideally placed to provide local support, knowledge and insights ‘on the ground’.

Project Management, where we bring a tenacious yet objective approach to the role, combining the discipline of project management with Tuffin Ferraby Taylor’s (TFT) thorough understanding of how buildings are constructed. We bring a qualitative approach to the development as well as milestone-based delivery. Our advice to investors, lenders, developers, owners and occupiers helps them achieve best value from their property assets. Developers may wish to discuss how TFT adds value to refurbishment, extension and new build schemes.