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'Garden-grabbing' spoiling character

SOLIHULL’S leafy character is being damaged by “garden-grabbing”, the council has warned the Government.

SOLIHULL’S leafy character is being damaged by “garden-grabbing”, the council has warned the Government.

A report published this week shows that the West Midlands has become a prime target for developers.

And according to the borough council, building homes on people’s back gardens has degraded the character of the area.

The local authority was one of many to respond to a survey about the controversial practise.

Now the feedback has been made public, following a freedom of information request by the Conservative party.

In its response, Solihull said that garden grabbing was an issue locally and had damaged “local distinctiveness”.

“There have been numerous complaints from residents. Some who have fallen under considerable pressure to sell and neighbours who see numerous planning applications submitted followed by appeals until planning permission is granted.”

The loss of greenery and the high-price of many developments were among the other issues that the council mentioned.

One of the most high-profile battles took place in Marston Green, where residents fought to prevent over 70 homes being built in Elmdon Lane.

The development was thrown out by the council and planning inspector, although the threat was only ended when the developer when into administration.

But another scheme, in nearby Holly Lane, was given the go-ahead. So too was a development in St Alphege, which saw Fowgay Hall demolished to make way for luxury apartments.

The report, published on Tuesday, shows that 50 councils nationawide are concerned by garden grabbing.

While John Healey, Housing and Planning Minister, accused local councils of failing to block the schemes, the Tories have laid the blame on the Government itself.

Meriden MP Caroline Spelman said: “Thanks to regulations issued by John Prescott, leafy gardens across Solihull are being dug up, and replaced with blocks of flats and high density buildings that spell disaster for the local environment and local infrastructure.”



Cathrina Hulse
Multimedia Journalist
Annette Belcher
Multimedia Journalist
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