Housing association block granted reprieve from overshadowing development

An artist’s impression of the Brewery Road development. Image: Islington Council

An Islington housing association block has been granted a reprieve from a development which was projected to overshadow it to levels that would have breached Building Research Establishment (BRE) guidelines.

Councillors and Town Hall officers clashed in a planning committee meeting this week over the impact on Simla Court, which is understood to be managed by Genesis, from the proposed development on Brewery Road.

Officers attempted to reassure listening borough reps that, though Simla Court was set to lose over the 20 per cent of recommended daylight and visible sky from 11 of its windows, with one projected to lose over half, that these measurements were in fact “worst-case” estimates, as access to the building to make accurate surveys had not been possible.

Cllr Paul Convery (Lab, Caledonian) said: “Our policy is leaning very extensively towards getting high jobs density, and this is extremely low jobs density – it’s just storage, not making or selling stuff.

“The benefit is not particularly policy-compliant. In relation to the light loss itself, I don’t want to be too hostile but the BRE guidelines are flexible, yes, but 20 per cent is the acceptable loss limit, not 30 per cent, even in Islington.

“I’m not comforted by the brief that we err on the side of caution, therefore we don’t think it’s too bad. If the numbers are in this territory, it would good to be see what they really are on the basis of a proper survey.

“I don’t believe it’s going to be particularly difficult – just ring up the housing association and ask for the plans.”

A decision on the new storage block was unanimously deferred by the planning committee until accurate measurements could be sourced.

A council officer said: “Let me just clarify so there’s no ambiguity. BRE guidelines talk about reductions [of light and vertical sky component levels] less than 20 per cent as being the range that would be acceptable, and clearly some are over 20 per cent.

“It’s very common in the urban environment that Islington is set for transgressions of up to 30 per cent to occur. It’s such a built-up area that it’s very difficult to undertake development without causing an impact, so quite often, and it’s not what the BRE guidance is saying, reductions of up to 30 per cent are quite commonly seen within Islington.”