|Developer Makes Loss 'Garden Grabbing' in Acton|
Property up for auction at a loss after permission refused
This Sunday in the Mail, a property in Acton was used to illustrate an article on 'garden grabbling' in the property section. Ross Clark wrote about property developers facing opposition from residents and councils when they seek to develop gardens or expand existing properties into flats.
He said that anyone fighting 'garden grabbing' where developers demolish a home in order to build flats or a small estate in the garden - will be cheered by the story of 2 Creswick Road, Acton.
Here is the text of the article:
A developer has been forced to sell off the Twenties four-bedroom house in West London at a hefty loss, having failed to win permission to replace it with 14 apartments.
The tale suggests the attitude of councils may be hardening. A developer hanging on to a site wouild be advised to seek planning permission quickly: the Tories have promised to make it much more difficult to build on back gardens.
They want to change rules classifying back gardens as 'brownfield' land. Councils have effectively been forced to cede to garden-grabbers because the Government has set them a target of building 60 per cent of new homes on brownfield land.
When 2 Creswick Road and its two-thirds-of-an-acre garden were sold for $1.5 million in 2005, it must have seemed a lucrative prospect. The price was more than twice the £650,000 fetched in the same month by a nearby property with a smaller garden.
After two failed planning applications, the property was sold again, this time to Guernsey-registered Savile AD4 Ltd. For £1.75 million. It has been left counting the cost. The house has been bought by a property dealer and is now up for auction with a guide price of £1 million.
When the first planning application was made in 2007, several houses in Creswick Road, including No 4 next door, had already been demolished and replaced by flats. Yet the plan angered neighbours. Ealing Council received 16 letters of objection and two petitions.
Judy Harris, secretary of Ealing Civic Society, says: 'People need gardens for children to play in and grow vegetables. This development would have had no outside space other than car parking.'
The council rejected the application and two others, saying the development would be 'incongruous and overbearing'.
Architect David Sayer, who drew up the plans for the last application, says: 'The council was being oversensitive. It is getting harder to get permission for this sort of development. Councillors are threatened that they will be voted out of office and councils just chicken out.'
Local Tory councillor David Millican is unrepentant. 'Building in back gardens is not generally desirable. We are densely populated and back gardens are a form of green space,' he says.
2 Creswick Road is to be auctioned by Savills (020 7824 9091) on October 26th.
However, the listing also points out that 'Planning (Reference P/2008/2748) was refused on 1st May for the redevelopment to provide a part three and four storey residential building comprising fourteen flats (following demolition of existing house), vehicular and pedestrian ramped accesses, internal access road, involving excavation of ground floor site levels, car and cycle parking in rear garden area, refuse facilities and boundary treatment.
October 20, 2009