Councillors welcome anti-“Garden Grabbing” bill

Kingston’s Liberal Democrat Councillors have welcomed a parliamentary bill aimed at protecting garden land from being bought up and built on for housing developments.

The Protection of Garden Land (development Control) Bill was presented and given its first reading in the Commons on Tuesday. It is designed to protect private gardens from development ‘which is out of character with the surrounding area’.

RBK’s Executive Member for Planning and Regeneration, Cllr Simon James said: “Kingston’s Liberal Democrat councillors have been campaigning for years for the legal powers to oppose backland developments.”

“I am delighted that the issue is finally being addressed in Parliament.”

The bill was presented by Sutton’s Liberal Democrat MP Paul Burstow, supported by Kingston’s MPs Susan Kramer and Edward Davey.

“Government rules designate back gardens as brown field sites, making it easy for property developers to purchase properties, demolish the homes and then use the gardens to build high density housing. Current regulations force councils to grant planning permission for a practice which destroys treasured garden land, or refuse it and risk developers trying to claim costs from council tax payers on appeal” said Cllr James.

He added: “The power to make the planning decisions which are right for our borough is well overdue.”

Cllr Vicki Harris, Chair of the Council’s Development Control Committee said: “I hope that the Government takes this bill seriously. “Garden grabbing” is a real issue in Kingston.

“Large back garden land in sought after locations are attractive prospects from ‘money grabbing’ developers. This bill is in line with Council policy to defend green spaces for our communities and future generations.”

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