Gardens & wildlife

Garden Grabbing

Address: 7 Richmond Road Brighton BN2 3RL

Description: Erection of 1no single storey, two bedroom dwelling (C3) to the rear with associated works. as shown on the plan(s) and application submitted to the Council on 2 June 2021.


Reasons for refusal

The reasons for the Council’s decision to Refuse planning permission are:

1. The proposed scheme would be an intensive form of development. Due to the large footprint and siting of the proposed dwelling and close proximity to the boundaries of the site, the development would appear cramped and would not maintain the verdant character of the conservation area. The proposed scheme is therefore contrary to policies Policy QD27 of the Brighton & Hove Local Plan and Policies CP12, CP15 and CP14 of the Brighton & Hove City Plan.

2. The proposed scheme would provide a poor standard of living accommodation for future occupants by virtue of the dark and gloomy communal living space and limited bedroom sizes, resulting in cramped and oppressive living accommodation. The proposed scheme is therefore considered contrary to policy QD27 and HO5 of the Brighton and Hove Local Plan.

3. The proposed scheme is considered to be an unneighbourly form of development, resulting in increased noise disturbance and sense of enclosure and reduced private amenity space. The proposal has an overall negative impact on neighbouring amenity, contrary to policy QD27 of the Brighton and Hove Local Plan.

What are the policies on garden grabbing?

Under Environment Secretary John Prescott, gardens attached to homes were classified as brownfield sites. This led to a considerable increase in the number of gardens grabbed for development. The loss of urban green space was very damaging to communities, especially neighbourhoods lacking in public open space.

Happily, in 2010, one of the first acts of the new coalition government (under decentralisation minister Greg Clark) was to reinstate private gardens as greenfield sites.



Click here to read the public comments on the application from local residents.


How can local Councils help?

In 2010, Greg Clark changed the planning rules to give councils new powers to prevent unwanted garden grabbing by taking gardens out of the brownfield category that includes derelict factories and disused railway sidings.

Many councils had been left frustrated at the increasing amount of inappropriate development on gardens which they have been unable to prevent. Taking gardens out of the brownfield category will dramatically transform councils’ ability to prevent unwanted development on gardens where local people object and protect the character of their neighbourhoods.

The key words in Greg Clark's press release are "where local people object" and "will dramatically transform councils' ability to prevent unwanted development".

See National Planning Policy Framework Feb 2019 section 70

70. ..Plans should consider the case for setting out policies to resist inappropriate development of residential gardens, for example where development would cause harm to the local area.

In the context of Round Hill, which is fully developed, allowing garden grabbing  would cause harm to the local area - in our case, a conservation area. 

The character of the Round Hill Conservation Area is largely derived from the original geometric street layout and the green spaces in between, which form arcs and segments. This remains remarkably intact after 150 years, yet a precedent of allowing garden infill could open the floodgates resulting in a loss of the urban green space which contributes so much to the area's amenity value.



This page was last updated by Ted on 04-Nov-2021
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