Dras­tic change in the rules over us­ing gar­dens as ‘brown­field’ devel­op­ment sites

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY - Jonathon Wing­field

Ques­tion: I am in the process of ac­quir­ing a large house in north Leeds. The at­trac­tion is a large gar­den where we be­lieve there to be suf­fi­cient space to build a cou­ple of houses, one of which is to be for my mother-in-law.

Al­though our de­signs are at an early stage, I was concerned to hear about some emerg­ing leg­is­la­tion that may make it harder for us to pro­ceed with our build.

Can you ex­plain what the changes are and whether it will have any im­pact on our plans? An­swer: Un­til very re­cently, plan­ning leg­is­la­tion stated that gar­den ar­eas were to be con­sid­ered as brown­field sites. This means they had pri­or­ity for build­ing on in a sim­i­lar way to old in­dus­trial sites.

Over the last 10 years in par­tic­u­lar, there has been a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in the amount of devel­op­ment that has taken place in gar­dens, of­ten to the detri­ment of the lo­cal area. It was dif­fi­cult for coun­cils to re­ject these plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tions as the brown­field sta­tus pro­vided de­vel­op­ers with a bet­ter chance of win­ning at ap­peal.

How­ever, the re­cent an­nounce­ment by the new Govern­ment changes the clas­si­fi­ca­tion of gar­den ar­eas al­low­ing them to be­come green­field sites. The sit­u­a­tion has now there­fore been to­tally re­versed with a pre­sump­tion against devel­op­ment.

Clearly this will make it sig­nif­i­cantly more dif­fi­cult to ob­tain plan­ning per­mis­sion and al­low Lo­cal Au­thor­i­ties a greater say on what de­vel­op­ments are al­lowed safe in the knowl­edge they will not have to fight costly plan­ning ap­peals.

Un­der this new pol­icy I be­lieve you have lit­tle chance of re­ceiv­ing plan­ning per­mis­sion. Al­low­ing the rede­vel­op­ment of a green­field site will re­quire the ap­proval of elected mem­bers and for what is ef­fec­tively a com­mer­cial devel­op­ment op­por­tu­nity it is un­likely that their sup­port will be forth­com­ing.

If your prin­ci­pal mo­tive is the po­ten­tial for de­vel­op­ing out the site and you have not yet ex­changed con­tracts, I urge you to re­con­sider pur­chas­ing the prop­erty.

Jonathon Wing­field is a di­rec­tor of Acan­thus WSM Ar­chi­tects in Leeds.

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