I have to admit that I don’t like the sound of this.
In a new assault on planning rules, the Law Commission began a consultation, which is backed by ministers, which could lead to the centuries-old entitlement to daylight being ditched to stop home owners holding up building projects.
It’s a Common Law right:
The so-called “right to light”, which is under threat in the commission’s consultation, goes back hundreds of years with cases dating to 1611 in England. Households can gain the right if the light has been constant for at least 20 years.
And there’s good reason for it. Natural light coming into the property is as much a property right as, say, being free of the stench of sewage is. It’s one of the bundle of things that make up that “private property” idea.
As such, if someone wants to take away your light they must compensate you for it. Just as they would if they wanted to take away your garden.
Prof Elizabeth Cooke, the Law Commissioner leading the project, said that while such a right was important “there is also a public interest in the development of the modern, high-quality residential, office and commercial development that we need in our town and city centres”.
Yes, I’m sure that’s so.
“This project examines a difficult area where a balance is needed between the rights of different landowners,” she said.
I’m entirely unconvinced that striking a balance is achieved by abolishing an ancient right.
I assume that this is something to do with the spivs in the property development wing of the Tory Party.