‘Garden grabbing’, whereby developers buy up residential gardens to build on, has become a growing trend in Barnet. However, the system introduced by the new Government will reclassify gardens by moving them from the ‘brownfield’ category, therefore increasing local councils’ ability to reject unwanted planning developments where there are objections from local people. The changes announced will make it harder for developers to get local decisions rejecting backland development over-turned on appeal.

The scrapping of housing density targets will also help to ensure that future development is appropriate to the area. The outgoing Labour Government pushed for high density housing, resulting in a flood of one and two bedroom flats and repeated planning applications for taller blocks, despite the fact that the greatest need is for family homes.

Theresa said, “This announcement is great news for my constituents. Barnet Council receives a large number of planning applications for blocks of flats and cramped developments in residential gardens. The old rules meant that the Council was frequently forced to accept these developments. Even where the local decision was to say no, that would often be overturned on appeal, despite strong local opposition.”

“Major loss of garden green space can rob communities of vital green breathing space, children’s play areas and havens for biodiversity and urban wildlife. It makes no sense for the planning system to treat a garden in the same way as a derelict factory, yet that’s what Labour’s system did. And Labour’s high housing density targets threatened our low rise suburban environment.”

“This change in policy will give more power to local councils who are better placed to know what style of development suits their local neighbourhoods. It will provide vitally important protection for our valuable green spaces and alleviate the pressure that high-density buildings place on local infrastructure.”

“During the General Election campaign, I pledged that a Conservative Government would deliver increased planning protection for gardens and suburban residential areas. After just a few weeks in government, this is another example of the Conservatives acting quickly to deliver on their promises. This comes hard on the heels of Andrew Lansley’s decision to require NHS London to call a halt to their plans for downgrade hospitals across the capital – another key election pledge.”