Report of the Town Clerk.
The Committee noted a report of the Town Clerk detailing the Committee’s outstanding actions.
Daylight/Sunlight – Alternative Guidelines
A Member noted that this matter had first been raised two years ago after he had pointed out that, on applications where loss of daylight was an issue, the Committee typically received advice around the application of BRE guidelines and that breeches of these guidelines could be tolerated because the City was a dense, urban environment. In May 2019, an expert consultant subsequently provided a training session to the Committee and mentioned that radiance studies were another way to assess the impact of a development on daylight. It was noted that the same consultant had conducted a training session for the Committee earlier this morning, and expressed a view that radiance studies were the best way for laymen to assess the impact of developments on daylight where there was a genuine concern about this issue. In response to a Member’s question about the practicality of an applicant preparing radiance studies if they did not have precise data about the rooms potentially affected, the consultant had stated that he thought that reasonable assumptions could nevertheless be made. The Member added that he felt that the applicant could simply ask the relevant owner for access to their property to prepare the study. He had put to the consultant that, if an applicant omitted to provide a radiance study in a case in which daylight was an issue, this Committee should draw an adverse inference from such an omission. The consultant felt that, in appropriate cases, the applicant should be asked to provide a radiance study. In response to a question asked by another Member, the consultant also indicated that radiance studies had the added advantage of taking account of reflective light from light coloured surfaces in buildings opposite such as where Portland Stone was used.
In view of all of this, the Member asked Officers to undertake, when future applications were received in which daylight will be an issue, to ask the applicant to prepare a radiance study to be provided to this Committee so that Members could make an informed assessment of the issue.
The Interim Chief Planning Officer and Development Director undertook to liaise with consultants and his team on the points raised and provide a verbal update on these to the Committee at their next meeting.
Short-Stay Cycle Spaces
A Member reported that she had asked a question of Officers regarding short stay cycle spaces and was grateful for their response. She noted that, across applications granted over the past 12 months, the City were falling short of the London Plan requirements. Officers had provided information on this from January 2020 – mid-February 2021 and this had revealed that the City were falling 58% short of the London Plan requirements cumulatively. The Member highlighted that Officers were now intending to bring a paper to the next meeting of this Committee to look at how this deficit could be resolved.
The Interim Chief Planning Officer and Development Director confirmed that a paper on this would be put to the next meeting. He highlighted that whilst the City were falling short in terms of short-stay cycle spaces, they were exceeding targets in terms of long-term cycle parking. The paper would seek to explain the rationale and reasons behind this as well as looking at how this could be resolved.
A Member stated that she was very thankful for the regular training sessions now in place for the Committee and questioned whether, for transparency and to provide the public with details of what training was being undertaken, this information could be shared on the public webpages alongside information on who was delivering these courses.
The Town Clerk undertook to liaise with Officers in DBE to collate a full list of training sessions that had been offered to the Committee as well as a list of training providers. This list could then be appended to the next report on Outstanding Actions as well as posted in the webpage document library for reference.