To agree the public minutes of the meeting held virtually on 9 March 2021.
The Committee considered the public minutes and summary of the meeting held virtually on 9th March 2021 and approved them as a correct record.
Daylight/Sunlight – Alternative Guidelines (page 11) – A Member highlighted that, as the minutes record, he had first raised the use of radiance studies as the most effective way for this committee to assess the loss of daylight and sunlight two years ago. He reminded Members that he had raised it once again at the last meeting and asked that Officers undertake that when an application is received which entails a loss of daylight or sunlight to a neighbouring property, the developer be asked to provide radiance studies to assist this Committee in assessing the loss and to seek access to an affected neighbouring property to obtain precise data for this purpose, only relying upon reasonable assumptions should such access be denied. He had also suggested that, if a developer failed to provide these studies, Members should draw an adverse inference from this omission. Officers had undertaken to provide a response to that suggestion at this meeting and the Member therefore pressed for this undertaking to be given to the Committee. Officers responded to state that they had been waiting to see if BRE were going to update their national guidance before reporting back to this Committee with any further suggestions however, it was reported that there was still no definitive timeline from BRE on this. With this in mind, Officers stated that they could nevertheless progress a further report to bring back to Committee responding to specific queries and providing a more general update on daylight/sunlight issues. In the meantime, Officers reassured Members that they would continue to work with applicants on providing radiance assessments wherever necessary.
The Member responded to clarify whether the position going forward would now be that, when a loss of daylight or sunlight is an issue in a planning application in the view of Officers, an applicant will be asked to provide radiance studies to assist this Committee in assessing that loss and advised that they should try to seek access to affected properties to collate precise data. The Chair responded to state that his view would be that the Committee should await the forthcoming report before directing Officers on this matter. The Member highlighted that the expert consultant had already advised this Committee that radiance studies were the most effective means of measuring any loss of daylight and sunlight. Officers reported that radiance studies could be requested of applicants going forward and commented that it certainly had been done in the past but underlined that it could be difficult to insist on this as, as the Member had already acknowledge, it did require access to individual properties and some applications involved hundreds of these. The Chair asked that a report be brought back to the Committee as soon as possible setting out all of the possible options before a decision was formalised.
Another Member highlighted that the City had a 3D model and suggested that it would be a very useful tool for Members to be able to look at this and view development holistically and to see the cumulative impact of this, particularly in terms of daylight and sunlight. She questioned whether this tool could be utilised by Members when considering future applications. The Interim Chief Planning Officer and Development Director confirmed that this was a tool currently used by Officers and one which they hoped to develop further. He reported that there was a training session for Members already scheduled on 3D modelling and its potential use in decision making. He added that Officers still requested details on cumulative impact in daylight and sunlight assessments and often in independent verification of these assessments too.
Member Training (page 12) – A Member noted that there were currently no training sessions planned for the Committee on the subject of Whole Life Carbon Impact and questioned whether Officers could provide an update on this as she was aware that it had been the subject of various discussions outside of meetings. The Interim Chief Planning Officer and Development Director confirmed that this was a key focus for Officers and that they were currently scoping the opportunities for training for Members around this which would be led by Kerstin Kane.
Awareness of Planning Applications/Stakeholder Engagement (page 14) – A Member thanked Officers for providing her with further information on consultation ahead of today’s meeting.
Construction Works – A Member reported that Officers had been in touch with her to provide further information around whether conditions could be added to the development of a site and when this commenced. She highlighted that she had first raised this matter two years ago.