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Volume 475: debated on Thursday 1 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps the Government are considering to end the practice of automatically classifying gardens as brownfield sites; and if she will make a statement. (201575)

Annex B of Planning Policy Statement 3 “Housing” (PPS3) defines brownfield land as that

“which is or was occupied by a permanent structure, including the curtilage of the developed land and any associated fixed surface infrastructure”.

There are no plans to change this definition, the substance of which was first introduced in Planning Policy Guidance note 3 in 2000, and is based on land use change statistics categories of brownfield land which have been the same since 1985.

Local authorities have always had the ability to turn down applications for inappropriate housing development in back gardens. PPS3, which came into force in April 2007, has strengthened that ability further. In particular, local authorities have now been given the ability to put in place local policies that specifically protect gardens and to separate gardens out from their wider brownfield development targets. The policy also makes clear that there is no presumption that land is suitable for housing simply because it is brownfield, stressing the need for sites to be suitable for housing development, and in suitable locations that will contribute to the creation of sustainable, mixed communities.