SOLIHULL council’s planning committee has come in for a fair amount of flak from both residents and local Conservatives over their decision to approve two ‘garden grabbing’ developments - one in Prospect Lane and the other in Meeting House Lane in Balsall Common.
How can this be, they argue, when the Con LibDem Coalition has said it has changed the rules to stop the classification of back gardens as brownfield sites.
At the meeting in question Councillor Joe Tildesley said the new government had “radically changed the planning environment.”
However John Culligan, the assistant director of planning at Birmingham City Council, itself a Con Lib authority, believes little has changed: “If the intention of the change was to stop or reduce garden grabbing, I don’t think this change will do that.
“There is still no presumption that development on garden land should be refused. Any proposal must still be considered on its merits against local planning policy.” And he added: “If a proposal is deemed to be in accordance with the development plan there is a presumption in favour.”
In other words, the so called change in rule smacks of being a toothless piece of propaganda.
* On another note, I took my first ever dip in the much-maligned Tudor Grange swimming baths on Friday. What was all the fuss about? The staff were excellent, the facilities clean, the water temperature just right and the price very reasonable indeed.