And finally… Students ‘less entitled to daylight’, planners rule
Officials from Brent Council say student accommodation is “less sensitive” to light than other residences.
The finding was published as part of deliberations around Apex House, a new 28-storey halls proposed for a site just yards from the world-famous Wembley Stadium.
A report commissioned by architects HTA outlined the potential effects the new multi-million pound building might have on neighbouring student halls.
It found student accommodation’s “pattern of use is less sensitive to daylight than residential usage, as the length of tenure is temporary.”
Brent Council officers agreed, and last month advised a planning committee: “Consequently, the impact of the proposal on the occupants of this building is considered to be acceptable.”
According to planners, at least 25% of rooms in neighbouring buildings will no longer receive adequate daylight if Apex House goes ahead.
They found the amount of “probable sunlight hours” in 46 rooms tested would be reduced by at least 25% over an entire year.
Companies operating student accommodation in the same street as the proposed Apex House charge as much as £290 a week for rooms.
The issue of daylight in student accommodation has been raised before.
In 2013, student halls in Islington were described as being “unfit for purpose” after it was revealed some rooms would not receive the legal requirement for daylight.
At the time, Colum McGuire of the National Union of Students said: “Daylight is not a luxury, it is a necessity. We wouldn’t expect or accept windowless rooms for any other sector of society, and so there is absolutely no reason to think such provision is acceptable to students.”
Some 23 students have to look sideways to see outside at the University College London development in Caledonian Road.
The building went on to be awarded Building Design magazine’s Carbuncle Cup for poor planning.
Brent Council told The Huffington Post UK: “There is currently no planning policy that governs the standards for student accommodation.
“The report submitted with the application finds that student accommodation has a lower requirement for daylight and sunlight amenity than permanent residential accommodation.
“This is a consequence of the transitory and temporary nature of student accommodation, which correspondingly has a lesser requirement for daylight and sunlight compared with permanent residential use.
“This is due to the amount of time spent in student accommodation compared to permanent residential accommodation.”
The council went on to say that the results of its tests were “appropriate” given the high-rise nature of the neighbouring buildings.
Architects HTA who commissioned the daylight survey told HuffPost UK that it undertakes such tests for many designs.
Daylight in buildings surrounding the proposed Apex House would be “better or equal” to similar urban developments, the firm added.