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Garden Grabbing Can Bring Positive Benefits says Homebuilding & Renovating

Building new homes in back gardens can actually bring positive benefits to a community says Jason Orme, Editor of Homebuilding & Renovating magazine, in response to yesterday’s Government announcement that councils in England are to get greater powers to stop developers building homes on gardens.

“While it’s fair to say that many gardens end up being turned into large apartment blocks, an equally large number end up being turned into modestly-sized, appropriate, sustainable individual homes that meet the direct needs of local people.” said Jason. “Building homes in this way increases housing stock and protects our countryside.”

There is concern that restricting the ability to build homes on gardens will further impact on the housing shortage, reported to be at crisis point by the Home Builders Federation in March. The rapid growth of the UK population – estimated to reach 70 million by 2029 – means there is a continual and urgent need for more housing stock. The biggest problem is where these houses can be built. Planners say that stopping ‘garden grabbing’ could mean more development on greenfield sites. “If its garden grabbing out, then it may be countryside grabbing in.” said The Planning Officers Society.

It was only in December that Grant Shapps, the Housing Minister, said that he wanted to tap into the vast number of people who are now willing to build their own homes. “Whilst house-building in general has been suffering, the self-build community has been growing. Most people will be surprised to learn that last year the second largest home builder wasn’t one of the big household names but an army of individuals who call themselves self-builders.”

Garden self-build

House built in Yorkshire on a garden plot by local people who didn’t want to see it developed into an apartment block!

Julian Owen, from Nottingham based Julian Owen Architects and member of the Association of Self Build Architects, comments “We find that self builders tend to be more sensitive about the build process, focussing on sustainable homes that are environmentally friendly and that blend appropriately with the local architecture.”

“The majority of self build homes are built on garden land” says Michael Holmes, spokesperson for The Homebuilding & Renovating Shows. “In simple terms, making it harder to get planning permission to build new homes on gardens means it will be more difficult for ordinary people to build their own home.”

To find out more about building your own home or how this new policy could affect your building plans, visit The Homebuilding & Renovating Show, on at Sandown Park, Surrey on 26 & 27 June. For more information and tickets visit or call 0844 5811377.

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