Following pressure by Conservatives at both the local level and in Parliament, the Government has announced that it is to review its so-called ‘Garden Grab’ policy.
Conservatives in Bath and North East Somerset have welcomed the announcement as “good news for local residents”.
With the Government currently ploughing ahead with huge housing-targets for the region, many local residents have raised concerns over legislation which makes it easier to build housing on residential back-gardens. Residents have complained that they are powerless to protect the character of their communities or prevent over-development of neighbouring gardens.
Conservatives in Bath and North East Somerset have campaigned for these planning laws to be repealed and have said they will ensure the Council engages with the Department for Communities and Local Government’s review. Local Conservatives have argued that community engagement is an essential part of any new development and that classifying residential gardens as ‘brownfield’ land is completely inappropriate.
Bath and North East Somerset Conservative Leader and Saltford Councillor, Francine Haeberling, said:
“Local Conservatives are very pleased that the Government has finally bowed to public pressure and is reviewing this policy, it is at least a step in the right direction. We must do all we can to preserve local communities, not encourage their destruction, so this Government climb-down is good news for local residents.
“In my local area of Saltford, we had an issue with a developer wishing to buy up back gardens for housing development, but not all local people were happy with the proposals.
“If a whole community or neighbourhood comes together and agrees to sell land for sustainable development then that is another matter. But back-garden development must be sensitive to local needs and conducted in consultation with the surrounding community.”