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Policy call over ‘garden grabs’

SOLIHULL’S planning chief has warned that new laws won’t give councillors “carte blanche” to throw out every garden-grabbing scheme.

SOLIHULL’S planning chief has warned that new laws won’t give councillors “carte blanche” to throw out every garden-grabbing scheme.

Lawrence Osborne’s comments came at last week’s planning committee meeting, where members were debating a development in St Alphege.

Damson Homes have applied for planning permission to build two new dwellings on gardens in Prospect Lane. Officers had recommended that the project be given the green-light.

However, 36 residents had signed a petition and Councillor Joe Tildesley (Con, St Alphege) urged the committee to throw out the plans.

He pointed to legislation announced by the coalition government, which means that gardens are no longer classed as brownfield sites.

“The officer’s report would have been fine if it had been put before you on the May 5, but the rules have changed,” he said.

But Mr Osborne told the committee that this didn’t mean councillors should throw out every back-garden development.

Coun Glenis Slater (Lib Dem, Elmdon) said: “I have looked at quite a few of these back garden schemes and this is the best one I’ve seen.”

But, Coun Jim Ryan (Con, Bickenhill) called for the scheme to be deferred.

“We have been plagued by these types of development in Solihull. Now we’ve got the power to decide what should happen, do we have the nerve?”

He argued there shouldn’t be a decision, until the council had decided its policy, in light of the new laws.

The planning committee agreed to defer the plans by a majority.

 

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