Council decides to put an end to garden-grabbing

Aerial map of where 7,000 homes are set to be built
Aerial map of where 7,000 homes are set to be built

Winchester jail put in special measures

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A CONTROVERSIAL ‘garden-grabbing’ development was refused last night in a landmark decision by a council.

Councillors voted unanimously to refuse plans for 14 homes along the bottom of eight gardens in Frogmore Lane, Lovedean.

Councillors backed calls from Prime Minister David Cameron to put an end to garden-grabbing.

They said the development would be a ‘disaster’ and would create a ‘concrete jungle’ of cramped houses.

Residents, who said the development would ruin their standard of living, celebrated after the meeting.

As reported in The News, a development called Willowside has already been built further down Frogmore Lane on land that was once people’s gardens.

The development went ahead four years ago after receiving support from the government’s planning inspector. The council was then forced to approve the development.

But the council has now said enough is enough and refused the latest application.

Cllr Elaine Shimbart, who sits on the council’s planning committee, said: ‘It would have a devastating effect on residents of the community with the close proximity and dominance.

‘They would have no privacy at all.’

The agent for the developer, Hood House Ltd, said the development would not affect people’s privacy, views or the amount of light in their homes.

He described the development as ‘sustainable’.

But Cllr Mike Cheshire said it was a clear example of garden-grabbing.

Cllr John Smith said: ‘I think if this was built it would be a disaster in that area.’

Cllr Leah Turner added: ‘I felt really sorry for the people living in that area.

‘It would be totally unreasonable to allow this to go ahead.’

The decision holds further weight because councillors cited the council’s new planning policy – called the Core Strategy – adopted earlier this year after being approved by the government.

It calls for high-quality housing, and councillors agreed this was not.

It means that any appeals are less likely to be successful.

Cllr Gerry Shimbart, who had made a deputation against the plan, said: ‘It would be like living in a concrete jungle.’

Resident Peter Monk, 36, of Yoells Crescent, said the development was ‘all about profit and not the good of the community’.

He added: ‘We are all thoroughly delighted. A decision any other way would have been a travesty.’