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Volume 712: debated on Monday 20 July 2009


My right honourable friend the Minister for Housing and Planning (John Healey) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

On 2 April 2009, the Government informed Parliament about the review into the extent and impact of housing development on garden land. This explained that the review would be carried out in two stages.

I can today confirm that we received 127 detailed responses from local planning authorities to stage 1 of the review, and that stage 2 is being carried out by Kingston University, London. I have asked them to consider the following:

whether there has been any increase or decrease in development in gardens from 1 April 2003 to 31 March 2008, and the reasons for any change;

the impact of the brownfield definition and brownfield target in Planning Policy Statement 3 on any increase or decrease in development in gardens;

whether development on garden land is widespread, or confined to a handful of authorities or certain areas of the country

the contribution that this type of development makes towards local housing delivery objectives and the impact that any restrictions on development on garden land would have;

the role of the Planning Inspectorate in determining appeals for development on garden land—typified by accusations that they force the hand of local authorities by routinely overturning decisions on garden development;

whether local authorities are developing local policies in line with advice from government and the policy in Planning Policy Statement 3, and in particular whether local policies on brownfield development and trajectories are being developed; and

whether local policies developed in accordance with PPS3 are effective in supporting local authorities decisions on garden development at appeal, and to establish the common reasons for local objections to development on garden land.

Our aim is to conclude the review and make a further announcement and publish summary findings and evidence to Parliament after the Summer Recess.

The purpose of the review is to establish whether there is a clear and genuine problem with the extent of housing development on gardens. And, as we have previously confirmed, the Government are committed to considering action if the evidence confirms a problem, provided that any changes should not have the effect of undermining our objectives on housing.