Sutton is the 4th highest of all of the London Boroughs for the development of brownfield sites which includes back gardens. Brownfield sites are those which have been used for another purpose before rather than, say greenbelt. Back gardens are included in this definition. In 2005, 30% of all brownfield development was in fact, on back gardens. In Sutton, this figure soared to 41%.
The Liberal Democrats talk a good game on garden grabbing but have forced through permission against residents' wishes to build 21 houses on council-owned back garden land in Harcourt Road, Wallington.
There are several policies within the existing local planning framework known as the Unitary Development Policy and its successor, the no more snappily title Local Development Framework to protect our family homes which are being demolished to make way for flats and other high-density developments. We will use those powers to stop inappropriate back garden developments and to protect the suburban nature of our area.
We will also campaign for further powers through central government, asking them to stop including back gardens in their definition of brownfield sites. We have an ally to help campaign in City Hall, in the shape of Conservative Greater London Assembly Member Steve O'Connell who has said that he would "die in a ditch to protect our green spaces."
Our Commitment: We will use all policies to stop developers from relentless garden grabbing.