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Government plans to stop developers building homes on gardens

From Building Magazine today:

Measures against garden grabbing include reallocation from brownfield category and binning density targets. The government is to give English councils more power to stop developers building homes on gardens.

Communities minister Greg Clark is expected to announce that gardens will be reclassified, removing them from the brownfield category that makes it easy to obtain permission to build housing on them.

The move is part of a package of measures to prevent so-called garden grabbing, which increases population density and reduces green space.

The package also includes the scrapping of housing density targets, instituted by Labour to specify a certain percentage of development floorspace for every hectare of land.

The British Property Federation has welcomed the move. Chief executive Liz Peace said: “We won’t mourn the passing of density targets which, like most of the housing aspirations held by the last government, failed dismally to translate into any benefit for communities.

“Research has shown that less housing was built at the peak of the housing boom after these targets came in than was before Labour came to power.”

However, the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has attacked the planned measures, which it says ignores the crisis in housing provision, especially the need for more affordable homes.

Brian Berry, director of external affairs at the FMB, said: “It is very disappointing that the government has decided to give priority to the issue of garden grabbing rather than help the thousands of families in this country that need an affordable home.

“Reclassifying all gardens will inevitably mean even more pressure to build on the green belt and the countryside. What is need is a comprehensive review of the planning system to look at how we can allocate more land for housing.”

Its difficult to view this as anything except pandering to NIMBY’s and does nothing to address fundamental problems in the Planning system that inhibit the supply of new housing sites.  We need stronger national and regional planning not localism.  Or maybe there aren’t many votes in proposing new housing within established neighbourhoods…. you decide!