Ending the Garden Grab?

The election is nearly upon us and a new party (or parties) in power is a distinct possibility.  Planning rules imposed in 2000  classified private gardens as brownfield or previously developed land.  As planning policy has encouraged development on brownfield sites as a priority over the last 10 years, the predictable result has been a significant increase in the number of gardens being replaced with new homes.

To many home owners this has proved extremely lucrative, as not only have their gardens become very valuable once planning permission has been obtained, but in the vast majority of cases revenue from the sale of these garden plots is tax free.  Indeed I have worked with many clients in recent years to obtain planning permissions for garden development and maximise the value of their property.

If you are a property owner who feels there may be development potential in your garden you should be aware that the rules may be about to change?!  The Conservative Party have made  it clear in their Policy Green Paper No 14, that should they come to power, they will overhaul the planning system. One of their proposals is to reverse the classification of gardens as brownfield land and allow Councils to prevent overdevelopment  of neighbourhoods and stop this so called “garden grabbing”.   I understand that draft legislation has already been prepared and that changes to the planning system could follow quite swiftly should the Tories win the election.

There would therefore appear to be a small window of opportunity for homeowners who are considering the potential of their gardens to actually do something about it.

Any new planning legislation will take a certain amount of time to work its way through the parliamentary system (9-12 months??) and during this time existing planning legislation and policy will apply.

If you have been considering investigating the potential of your property, but have never got round to it, it may be the time to act?


  • Bradley Stankler says:

    The guidance you refer to was issued last month as an amended definition of previously deveoped land in the Annex to Planning Policy Statement 3.

    As more and more planning authorities and Planning Appeal Inspectors get to grips with the revised guidance it is becoming clearer that a ‘one size fits all’ approach is, thankfully, not emerging.

    Recent decisions both on planning applications and appeals confirm the overriding consideration remains an assessment of the impact on any ‘garden grabbing’ proposal on the character of the area.

    Given the significant amount of residential completions on windfall sites in the last few years, it is unthinkable that, where appropriate, garden sites could no longer contribute to housing land supply.

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