Friday, July 14, 2006

Hands off our green and pleasant land

[Excerpt from S Manchester Reporter]
Under current planning laws gardens and other urban landscaped areas are classed as brownfield rather than greenfield sites, meaning developers find it relatively simple to get planning permission for housing complexes that cover the entire "footprint" of a given site.
The relatively-new phenomenon has been termed �garden-grabbing� and, according to Mr Leech and his colleagues, threatens to drive a stake through south Manchester�s local heritage.
In the past few weeks the city council has received two planning applications from developers which, if successful, will see them concrete over lush, tree-lined areas surrounding old buildings.
In West Didsbury, a grand Edwardian house called the Rookery � one of many similar former family homes that give Didsbury its unique heritage � has been bought by Median Homes, which wants to convert the building and its grounds into flats.
On the back of quirky planning laws, Median Homes not only wants to convert the house on Palatine Road into nine apartments, but also build an extra block of 15 flats in the grounds.
If the developer succeeds in its bid the property�s famous sweeping drive and manicured lawn will be concreted over.
[Click on the image to read the full story in the South Manchester Reporter.]