The Great Garden Grab
1st February, 2007
You may see your garden as a spare room or a place to be in touch with nature, but changes to planning rules mean it is likely to attract higher council tax if it hasn’t already been snapped up by a developer. Jack Shamash reports
You probably haven’t noticed, but there’s a bulldozer standing at the ready at your garden gate, poised to take everything you treasure away from you. For centuries, domestic gardens have been a valued part of the family landscape. A bit of green space for those lucky enough to own them and an irreplaceable habitat for animals, birds and insects in the urban environment. To buy a house with a garden is also, for many, an investment in something tangible and solid: land.
However, Britain’s gardens are on the endangered list, due to a mixture of greed and the cowardice of a Government unwilling to stand up against the homebuilding lobby of developers, large builders, banks and estate agents. Over the past decade the demand for land has increased so dramatically that, quietly and without much fanfare, every tiny plot of land has been reclassified as a development opportunity. Adding insult to injury, the Government has allowed the protection once offered by planning laws to be eroded to such a degree that it is becoming almost impossible for private homeowners to prevent developers from taking their land away from them.
The principle is not new: large gardens have long been targets. In the...
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