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Planning and Gardens

One of the difficulties in terms of planning is that planning decisions are "quasi-judicial". This means that it is possible to appeal planning decisions made by local councillors if they are out of line with planning guidance set nationally.

The nationally set guidance tends to be quite inflexible and one aspect is Planning Policy Guidance 3 which relates to what is and what is not a brownfield site.

The issue of increasing housing intensity by building on gardens is exactly the issue that causes these difficulties. From time to time it may be worth building on a garden, but PPG3 forces local authorities to agree such plans when they are not sensible. Gardens are almost invariably green, but are considered to be brownfield.

I support the general principles of sustainability and re-use of brownfield sites; but I we know that the provisions of Planning Policy Guidance 3 (PPG3), as at present worded, are forcing Local Panning Authorities (LPA) to allow piecemeal redevelopment of homes with large grounds.

Hence I call upon the Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government urgently to amend PPG3 to give LPA discretion (in the light of local conditions) as to whether to regard dwellings and their curtilages as brownfield sites, until such time as the wording and effect of PPG3 in this matter is thoroughly reviewed and appropriate revisions are made.

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