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Planning restrictions

PUBLISHED: 12:01 04 February 2008 | UPDATED: 19:38 05 July 2010

HOW many readers are aware of the "garden grabbing" laws executed by John Prescott in 2000?

Britain's gardens are under increasing threat of being grabbed and covered in concrete.

HOW many readers are aware of the "garden grabbing" laws executed by John Prescott in 2000?

Britain's gardens are under increasing threat of being grabbed and covered in concrete.

In neighbourhoods across the country planning rules, drawn up by Mr Prescott, are forcing the demolition of homes with gardens to be replaced with flats or high-density buildings. Gardens are not protected as green space, but are treated as brownfield land - just like an old industrial site.

Residents and their councils are increasingly powerless to prevent the over-development of their neighbourhoods and infill of green spaces, with local roads being unable to cope from the extra traffic and parking.

But worse could be to come. New planning rules being drawn up by Whitehall bureaucrats will impose more intensive density targets on new developments, cramming more building into local communities.

Taxpayers' money is being used to bankroll studies into how to increase garden grabbing with plans for gardens over 30 metres (100ft) to be seized. Laws passed under Mr Prescott make it easier for the state to purchase land compulsorily for social purposes.

A new land use database is being developed of every garden in the country by making extensive use of aerial and satellite photography. Taxpayers are footing the bill for these spies in the sky, which will help Town Hall or Whitehall bureaucrats pick out the gardens to grab.

Government council tax inspectors are eyeing up attractive gardens or home improvements in order to levy higher council tax bills in the forthcoming council tax revaluation. These inspectors have powers to fine householders £500 if they are refused entry into people's homes and gardens. Northern Ireland is being used as the testing ground for these new taxes from 2007.

I live in a cul-de-sac and an elderly resident died recently. The family have applied for planning permission to have a second bungalow built on the property. Their aim is to rent out both bungalows. Residents signed a petition against this proposal.

Surprisingly, the local planning office no longer allows residents a chance to voice their concerns at a planning meeting. How many of you are aware of this fact?

There is still a countryside feel to this area but it is changing rapidly.

I don't want houses in my backyard and I am prepared to say so. There are plenty of brownfield sites around but the planning authorities do not seem to be prepared to help preserve the character of the area.

The government say that the planners have the powers to stop this, so it is the local council's choice, and they will have to bear the blame for the destruction of their own town.

It could be your street next.

D TAYLOR

Lowestoft

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