Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Garden Grab in Old Barkingside
– Episode IV

The story continues. To recap episode I was back in July 2013. A developer had applied for planning permission to build 7 new homes on a plot to the rear of cottages in Tanners Lane that are currently those cottages rear, but quite long, gardens. This application was withdrawn before Redbridge council considered it.

Episode II was in October 2014. The same developer applied for planning permission to build 5 new homes on the same plot but this time rotated through 90 degrees so the homes faced Sandringham Gardens. This application was refused permission by Redbridge Council and the applicant appealed to the Secretary of State. However, the appeal was withdrawn before it was considered.

At about the same time, in October 2015, the applicant made a third Planning Application, Episode III, this time for 4 new homes again facing Sandringham Gardens. This application was due to be considered at Regulatory Committee next week on Monday 18th January with the Officer’s Report recommending “Grant Permission”. However, the application was withdrawn on Monday 11th January for “commercial reasons”.

Why, you may ask? My guess is that the developer doesn’t actually own all the land on the plot - yet. You don’t have to own a property to apply for planning permission, silly isn’t it, but there you are, those are the rules. I think what we are seeing here is a game of cat and mouse, or poker. Once planning permission has been granted the value of the land attains a premium value. Perhaps someone is holding out for an inflated price for their land?

The plot viewed from Sandringham Gardens

1 comment:

  1. You are right that the developer doesn't own the land. He has options on the gardens and will purchase when planning permission is granted for a price which was fixed some years ago. As far as I know we are not at the point where one houseowner is holding out for a high price as the delay at the moment is still the issue of planning permission. I suspect that the reverse may be true - as the number of proposed units comes down, the developer would want to pay less for the land than he had originally intended.

    At least one of the cottages has been sold with the 'option' land fenced off, i.e. the current owner of the house doesn't own that end of the garden, it still belongs to the previous owner who has moved away. As a result there is a plot which cannot be accessed by anybody (even the option holder, as he would have to cross land owned by other people to get to it),which is becoming increasingly overgrown and is providing a home for all kinds of vermin.

    At one time, before the previous owner sold the cottage, there was a large specimen willow on the now inaccessible plot. While the people next door were on holiday (and, significantly, before any application for planning permission had been made), a 'tree surgeon' parked his van in Sainsbury's car park, cut down the willow and lifted the panels from the holidaying neighbours' fences to carry the wood across their garden to his van. These are the kind of unscrupulous people we are dealing with. The developer specialises in this kind of small infill development and knows all the tricks.

    Infill housebuilding has brought about the degeneration of many areas in the suburbs. A stop was put to it in Havering years ago because is was so rife, especially in some areas of Hornchurch and Upminster where the gardens are quite large. It increases density and affects the value of adjoining properties. It is only Local Authorities' desperate attempts to fulfill the government-imposed quota of additional housing units that has allowed the practice to rear it head again.

    If this kind of development is allowed, it will truly be the thin end of the wedge and nobody with a garden will be immune from this kind of speculation - even if you don't sell, your neighbours will and you will have a development almost literally 'in your back yard'.