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Last Updated: Friday, 20 October 2006, 16:19 GMT 17:19 UK
MP in 'garden grabbing' setback
The MP wants private gardens no longer to be classed as brownfield land
A Kent MP has suffered a setback in his drive to give private gardens greater protection from housing developers.

Greg Clark, MP for Tunbridge Wells, is battling so-called "garden grabbing", where new housing is built on land that was previously one home and a garden.

Because they are classed as brownfield land, councils can do little to stop developments on front and back gardens.

But Mr Clark's Protection of Private Gardens Bill has failed to get a second reading after the government objected.

He will now have to wait until the next parliamentary session, beginning in November, to try to get it passed as law.

"The fight goes on so I'll be meeting with my supporters to discuss the best way forward," he said.

MP Greg Clark
Leafy residential areas... become streets of very high density apartment blocks
Greg Clark MP

Mr Clark said current legislation made it "almost impossible for local councils to refuse planning permission for developments that would typically knock down a house and build over the whole footprint of the house and garden [with multiple dwellings]".

There was a "domino effect" where neighbours sold their properties to prevent themselves being hemmed in by new developments, he added.

"Very quickly these leafy residential areas change character and become streets of very high density apartment blocks."

He took up the campaign after hearing of the growing phenomenon in his constituency.

The MP said he had obtained government figures which showed that 26% of new housing in the South East was being built on the site of what was previously a single dwelling and garden.

Urban gardens 'must be protected'
01 Feb 06 |  UK Politics

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