Monday, July 22, 2013

Garden Grab in Old Barkingside

While our eyes are concentrated on the north end of Barkingside Town Centre with the impending arrival of a new Lidl supermarket in Fencepiece Road, the greenbelt status of the Oakfield site and of course the Better Barkingside project one could be forgiven for not spotting the proposed Garden Grab “development” down at the southern end of our High Street. We are thus grateful that a local resident down that way has brought this to our attention.

Our town hall moth did tip us off about this some time back but we didn’t know a planning application had actually been submitted.

It appears that a developer speculator has, over several years, purchased the ends of longish gardens belonging to the cottages in Tanners Lane between Sainsburys and Sandringham Gardens, combining them into a small square site abutting Sandringham Gardens, and has now applied to build squeeze in a terrace of 7 x 3-floor houses, each with 3 bedrooms, but only 7 off-street parking spaces and a communal rubbish area immediately behind an existing resident’s rear garden fence.

The plan shows the footprint of the dwellings as being not too dissimilar to those of the listed Pert Cottages opposite in Sandringham Gardens but they have the benefit of a large common area to the front with ample private parking space. The application can viewed on Redbridge-i’s planning portal under application 1441/13. As you will see there are quite a few objections already but you will note none from numbers 50-64 Tanners Lane. I wonder if the terms of the sale of their gardens prevents them from doing so? Objections need to be received by the Planning Department by Thursday 25 July.

Now, I’m not sure what the current situation is with this type of development. It was a practice that has seen lots of gardens built on in the past with gated communities and even flats. There are a quite a few in Wanstead and South Woodford. However, there was the new Planning Act 2008 and we now have a different government who appear, on the one hand, to want to encourage the construction industry, but on the other wish to give powers back to local communities with such plans, back in 2010, as to take gardens out of the brownfield category.

It will be interesting to see what recommendation Officers make when it goes to, presumably, Regulatory Committee.

Note: One line that objectors may wish to consider, if the plans look like being approved, is to suggest that the "development" is turned through 180° such that the new rear gardens abut properties in Sandringham Close and the open aspect with car parking and communal rubbish facility abuts the gardens of those in Tanners Lane who made this proposal possible.


  1. Well at least this is going through a planning process! Over the last 20+ years many people living next to Thorpedale Gardens (a mostly unadopted road running between Queenborough Gdns & Woodville Gdns) have grabbed part of the road for themselves and one for a time put a gate across the road. The council seemed able to eventually have the gate removed, however they seemed unable to stop this land grab.

  2. up here in Hainault I do worry for the little pieces of green that we have on each corner of our streets where they meet,some have the electric brick build sub stations on.I swear one day they will have houses on???????ki have even complained when a corner house was having a side extension and decided that they would use the public area as the new entrance to their back garden even cutting down the shrubs to do so.but I will say the council were very quick to act.

  3. Regarding the "note" in the above post, a planning committee has to consider an application as submitted. It has no power to redesign it.

  4. The people in the cottages are not in a position to comment. Some have sold their garden to the developer and then sold the cottage with a courtyard garden. They have no further interest in what happens and the buyers have bought with the knowledge that there will probably be further development. One of the residents, who has not sold her garden but wishes to move, now finds herself unable to sell because of the uncertainty. She is further disadvantaged by the huge Barnardo's development not forty feet away which makes her cottage even less attractive. She feels that she will have no choice but to sell her garden to the developer, not only because it will not be in her interests to make a lone last stand but because the money from the sale will, to a certain extent, compensate for the loss in value brought about by the Barnardo's development.

    I have lodged my objection to the plans but my heart bleeds for my friend's predicament.

    If you had asked me before this application was mooted, I would have answered that annexing gardens for housing development had been prohibited years ago. My in-laws lived in Emerson Park and in the 1980's the practice of purchasing sections of the large back gardens and building a small estate was stopped. Was this a national policy or unilateral action by Havering?

    I feel more and more that development will never stop while there is a blade of grass in London that is not concreted over.The recently disclosed plans to take some of the arterial roads underground and put parks and open spaces in at ground level sounds wonderful, but in practice I wonder how long it would be before the areas previously taken up by the roads will be covered with housing.

    A responsible government would be considering ways to encourage people, especially incomers, to settle in other parts of the country rather that obliging the already very densely populated London boroughs to meet ever higher targets for creating new housing units.

    When rats and rabbits are overcrowded they begin to attack each other. Are humans so very different?

  5. I am not familiar with the area,but it does seem to me that the houses will over look the cottages and the gardens not an ounce of privatcy such a shame,
    other areas are being developed on a great scale,saffron walden,haverhill,and bury st Edmunds are all getting a mass of housing built,it is the same all over the east of Engand and the south east.soon there will be no tranquil parts left apart from in the "shires" where the MP's will make sure it is.i do not think that any political party will be any different,i just have a concern about who will be paying the rents?and I must say that the new King Soloman building does look a bit clinical almost a bit like a future polyclinic??????????do hate to speculate but its awful and with falling numbers of Jewish children attending or even living in the borough it makes you wander for its future..

    1. Yes - controlled immigration my elbow!

  6. I can clarify the situation as I now understand it better. The developer has purchased nothing: he has options on most of the gardens and will purchase if planning permission is granted. The options expire in April 2014.

    This is apparently not the first development to be mooted on the land. There were previous plans to build flats. This never happened but I don't know at which point the idea was abandoned.

    An important question is: if plannning consent is withheld, the developer will no longer wish to exercise the option to purchase the gardens. For some of the cottages, the person who owns the garden is no longer the person who owns the house. What will then happen to the land? Will the owners 'give' it to the householders? Will they try to sell it? If the householder doesn't want to buy it, will it just be left overgrown and ramshackle as it is at the moment? It seems to me that, whether the development goes ahead or not, the developer has created a blot on the landscape and then just walked away. The only cost to him is drawing up the plans.

    1. As a resident of Pert Cottages I have today received a new proposal for the above devlopment(13/10/2014)
      One word comes to mind......GREED

  7. nowhere is safe from development in redbridge any more,i would plant some lovely fast growing conifers at the bottom of my garden if i ived in one of the cottages in the hope that they will grow very fast indeed