| Scrapping Garden Grabbing Will Lead to Less Land For Sale|
|A mixed response has occurred in respect of garden grabbing and the Government's decision to remove density targets and abolish garden grabbing. They aim to do this by declassifying gardens as brownfield land, land which can be developed on. This in turn could lead to less land for sale and therefore less homes being built when there is a shortage of housing in the UK.|
Decentralisation Minister Greg Clark of the Coalition Government wants power put back into the hands of local authorities and communities, therefore allowing the local council and the local people to decided what developments are allowed in their area, what land for sale arises and how applications will be decided.
John Prescott, former Deputy Prime Minister, ignited a class war in June with an attack on the decision taken to prevent "garden grabbing". On live radio he accused bankers, millionaires and especially the Conservatives of thawing people on the dole and reducing the number of houses. Garden grabbing occurs when people buy a large property confident in the knowledge that they will be able to reap a huge profit once the planning permission has been obtained. They either put up the land for sale at a much higher figure or decide to build themselves.
Nearly a quarter of all new homes built in the last twelve years have been on residential plots. This has created much annoyance in middle class neighbourhoods and puts pressure on space, roads, transport and other services such as schools and hospitals.
Whilst developers feel that the change in the law will increase the housing shortage, countryside campaigners fear that the threat to the green belt will also increase. There is not enough land for sale and so development may have to spread to more rural areas.
It was John Prescott who introduced the planning rules that allowed and encouraged gardens to be used for new homes. But Tory MP Zac Goldsmith feels that gardens need to be protected, not developed on.
What is clear though is that there is a distinct lack of quality land for sale to develop on. There is a shortage of housing and therefore they have to be built somewhere to accommodate our ever-increasing population. Whether the building takes place in big garden plots or stretches into the green belt remains to be seen.