September 2006 Monthly Archives

Article for Ruislip and Northwood Gazette

September 22, 2006

How do you feel about new housing developments in your community?

How do you feel about new housing developments in your community? It is clear that neither the government or the mayor really cares. Two recent major planning appeal decisions in Ruislip-Northwood highlight this, where vocal and well grounded local objections were overruled by the Planning Inspectorate in Bristol where all appeal decisions are made. The granting of permission for the construction of a 30 bed care home in Chester Road, despite a 148 signature petition objecting to it, and a large block of flats double the approved density for the Borough in South Ruislip may simply be the tip of the iceberg.

The problem we face is that the way the existing decision-making process is structured means that there is likely to be further overdevelopment of local neighbourhoods. Ken Livingstone’s Planning Chief has already said that he doesn’t need to take into account the attitudes of local residents. This is why this week I am launching my first Parliamentary Petition to campaign against ‘garden grabbing’.

Under planning rules recently introduced by John Prescott, gardens around homes are no longer classified as ‘green space’, but as ‘brownfield’. Councils must now follow rigid Whitehall guidelines demanding that new developments, like those mentioned above, cram in as many buildings as possible. A study funded by the Government has identified extensive areas of greenbelt land in Hillingdon where the potential for back garden infill where, because of the low density of buildings, “redevelopment at double the density…could be viable.” As a result, local communities and local councillors are increasingly powerless to stop suburban gardens being ripped up and the plots replaced with large blocs of flats. Many local constituents will recognise the damage done to the character of Northwood roads such as Ducks Hill Road. If you want to support my petition, go to for more details.