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Beckett acts on land grab

AN INFAMOUS practice which has blighted some of Solihull’s leafiest neighbourhoods could be kicked into touch by the Government.

AN INFAMOUS practice which has blighted some of Solihull’s leafiest neighbourhoods could be kicked into touch by the Government.

It was revealed this week that Margaret Beckett, pictured, minister for housing and planning, would launch an urgent review into ‘garden grabbing’.

Mrs Beckett confirmed that she would be writing to local authorities to get more details on the issue - which has sparked anger in many communities.

Probably the best-known local example was in Marston Green, where residents fought a lengthy battle to stop developers building more than 70 homes on back gardens.

Mrs Beckett said: “There is a real sense of concern amongst people about what goes on in their areas, which is why we are taking action to review the data.”

Sarah Merrill, Labour’s prospective MP for Solihull, has welcomed the news.

“There is a world of difference between building on genuine brown field sites which were previously industrial, and building in a garden which is actually a green areas.

“The current planning laws do not make a distinction, but, such a distinction is clearly needed.”

Meriden MP Caroline Spelman, a long time opponent of garden grabbing, tried to introduce a private member’s bill to clamp down on the practice.

It was defeated earlier this year and despite winning cross party support, the recommendations were not taken up by the Government.

 

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