Comments on 16/00590/FULL

The proposed building
Both planning application and the corresponding planners’ report acknowledge that the proposed building would cause loss of sunlight to Fortune Street Park, especially in autumn and spring. Sunlight is critically important to the amenity value of the park in an area of green space under provision.

Bernard Morgan House before the scaffolding went up

Both application and planners’ report claim that the sunlight loss would be confined to the afternoon hours, and that it would be possible to ‘enjoy sunshine by moving out of the shadow area’. This betrays a fundamental lack of understanding of the use patterns of the park, which is used by very different user groups at different times. Children use the park especially after school hours, from 3:30pm, exactly as the proposed building’s shadow would encroach.

The school entrance is in the park, just by the playground
The grassy area at the western end of the park is highly frequented by children playing ball games. They would experience a reduction of sunlight to less than two hours per day, and could not simply go elsewhere for ball games—there is no other suitable area in the park. 

This picture was taken the Summer but the park is also full in the Winter after school when the sun is shining
They could not even revert to the play area, which is often crowded and designed for younger children. Other specific uses and amenity areas would be similarly affected, for example games of Two Square etc on the asphalted walkways, and benches in suntraps highly frequented by parents and other users of the park alike.

The Building Research Establishment (BRE) Guide provides that 50% of each amenity area should receive a minimum of 2 hours of direct sunlight on March 21st or that the proportion of the amenity space which receives 2 hours of direct sunlight should not be reduced by more than 20%. For many user groups of the park,  especially children, the proposed building would more than half sunlit areas, and therefore cause a considerable loss of amenity.

Dedicated amenity zones exist within Fortune Street Park
The red shape in the view above is the area that the proposed building would deprive of sunlight on 21st of March at 3pm, just before school ends. 
The sunlight to the Sporty Area would be cut in half. Quiet and Respite Area would suffer even higher cuts to their usability. This would continue throughout the afternoon, the shadow cast by the proposed building at 4pm is shown below.

The BRE Guide is just that, guidelines not rules. It states “It is purely advisory and the numerical target values within it may be varied to meet the needs of the development and its location...less obstruction and hence more sunlight and daylight may be deemed necessary”. Sadly the Planning Committee does not seem to have considered the particular needs of the Park’s users but applied the BRE guideline as a numeric rule. 

Shadow of Bernard Morgan House on 30th of September 2015 at 3:35pm

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