Stricter rules proposed for 'garden grabbing applications' - The Solihull Observer

Stricter rules proposed for 'garden grabbing applications'

Solihull Editorial 17th Feb, 2020   0

A CONSULTATION could lead to tighter rules on ‘garden-grabbing’ developments in Solihull.

Proposals before Councillor Andy Mackiewicz, cabinet portfolio holder for planning, would tighten requirements for development on residential land.

The reforms come amid controversial planning applications, including apartments proposed for Kineton Green Road in Olton, and an application for houses in Lawnswood Avenue which was recently quashed.

Coun Mackiewicz has been asked to start a consultation on new planning guidance for ‘residential backland developments.’

Councillor Andy Mackiewicz, cabinet member for climate change, planning and housing.

Applications in residential areas would be assessed on a ‘case-by-case’ basis, planning officers said, but successful application must meet ‘aready identified housing needs.’

Defining backland developments as ‘usually land used as gardens’, officers say consideration would be dependent on analysis of a site’s character and accessibility.

The consultation would consider tightening rules around ‘piecemeal developments’, applications which could lead to over-development, and those which would create a ‘disproportionate’ amount of traffic.

Planners could also restrict houses with a ‘distinctive frontage’ being replaced by poor design, and development which would lead to the loss of trees.

The draft documents also warn that developers who ‘intentionally circumvent affordable housing provisions’ by building fewer homes on larger plots would be censured.

Planning officer Kim Allen stated: “An important part of the delivery of housing in the borough for many years has been the contribution made by ‘backland development”’ to the rear of existing frontage properties. This has generally been in the mature suburbs – proposals have also come forward within commercial and rural locations.

“Residential backland development proposals have the potential to create significant adverse impacts in the communities where they are located and it can be the case that not enough consideration is given to design requirements when the economic incentives to develop are being considered.

“Given the importance and anticipated profile of consultation, it is intended that consultation will take place for an appropriate period and as begin soon as practicable, once the draft document has been ‘finalised’.”

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