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Conservative Councillor Antony Little has pointed to new evidence that Whitehall bureaucrats are planning to concrete over back gardens across Norwich and the country.
The Government has given £2 million of taxpayers’ money to planners and academics to investigate ‘urban densification’. Their recommendations include the following proposals:
• Development in suburban neighbourhoods should be double the current density.
• There is ‘considerable potential’ for back garden development.
• Back gardens over 30 metres should be sold off for building.
• Green Belt land should be built over and any “local opposition” ignored.
The Government is already consulting over new planning rules which will impose new higher density targets on new housing developments in Norwich. In practice, this means Norwich City Council will be powerless to stop leafy suburban back gardens being ripped up and the plot replaced with blocks of flats. Current planning guidelines, drawn up by John Prescott, already classify gardens as ‘brownfield’ land, making them easier to concrete over and allowing the Government to produce bogus statistics proclaiming the ‘protection’ of greenfield sites.
Councillor Little, who represents Bowthorpe, said:
"Norwich's open spaces are now under real threat from Labour’s bulldozers. Labour claim they want to regenerate urban sites, yet sneakily they don’t even class back gardens as ‘green’ space. Norwich City Council is increasingly powerless to protect against growing suburban sprawl and ugly ‘densification’. Councillors should be able to stop blocks of flats being dumped in neighbourhoods if out of character with the area.
“It is clear that Whitehall bureaucrats have our back gardens in their sights and is bankrolling ‘garden grabbing’ studies with taxpayers’ cash. But Labour fail to understand that young couples and families want new homes with gardens.”
Conservatives are supporting a proposed new law by Conservative MP, Greg Clark, which seeks to stop back gardens being classed as brownfield land. It is estimated that two-thirds of all brownfield housing development is now taking place on gardens.