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Garden-grab clamp gets wide welcome

A VETERAN councillor has welcomed new laws - announced on Wednesday - clamping down on garden-grabbing.

A VETERAN councillor has welcomed new laws - announced on Wednesday - clamping down on garden-grabbing.

Councillor Peter Hogarth (Con, Silhill) said he was “over the moon” by the news and hopes it will reduce pressure on local people and councils.

In the past, he has fought against several of the controversial back-garden developments - including the Streetsbrook Road proposals.

“I’d say it’s one of the biggest issues that people have raised with me, in terms of causing concern,” he told the Solihull News yesterday.

“In the last three-years, four or five applications have gone in, close to the town centre.”

While Coun Hogarth said that the schemes had been thrown-out in all but one case, it had been a struggle for local people.

At the moment, gardens are classed as “brownfield” sites - putting them in the same category as ex-factory and railway land.

But the Government announced on Wednesday that gardens would be re-classified, making it easier for councils to turn down garden-grabbing schemes.

Both the borough’s MPs have also welcomed the news - having vigorously opposed the practise in the past.

Meriden MP Caroline Spelman said that it was a case of “common sense prevailing”.

“I would hope this would deter developers. It certainly never made sense to class gardens as brownfield sites,” she said.

And Solihull MP Lorely Burt was pleased that powers were returning to a local level.

 

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