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Law change plan to stop ‘garden grabbing’

Law change plan to stop ‘garden grabbing’

Councils are to get new powers to stop developers "garden grabbing" and building houses on green space.

Local authorities have struggled to stop developers in the past as gardens have been classified as "previously residential land", making them brownfield sites in the same categories as derelict factories and old railway sidings.

Between 1997 and 2008, the number of house being built on gardens increased from one in 10 to a quarter of new properties, figures form the Communities and Local Government department show.

Decentralisation minister Greg Clark said he would be changing the designation of gardens from brownfield land to make it easier for local authorities to stop unwanted development, allowing them to reject planning applications for new houses and blocks of flats that local people oppose and which would ruin the character of the area.

Unveiling the plans, Mr Clark said: "It is ridiculous that gardens have until now been classified in the same group as derelict factories and disused railway sidings, forcing councils and communities to sit by and watch their neighbourhoods get swallowed up in a concrete jungle.

"I am changing the classification of garden land so councils and communities no longer have their decisions constantly overruled, but have the power to work with industry to shape future development that is appropriate for their area.”

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