A GLUT of bids by developers to build on garden land in Northwood and Ruislip has angered homeowners who fear the character of their neighbourhoods could be changed forever.
Several applications have been submitted so far this year, either to build new homes directly on to garden land, or to demolish old properties and replace them with bigger ones.
A change in planning law two years ago, reclassifying garden land as green rather than brownfield, was supposed to make it more difficult to build on such sites – but with the demand for homes in London rising still higher developers continue to seek out potential plots.
One particular application in The Drive, Northwood, to build four detached homes at the bottom of just one garden, would require the removal of about 50 trees.
Neighbour Wendy Wright has lived in the area for 19 years. She told the Gazette: “We don’t know why they think they can get away with it.
“We are on the edge of London but we are surrounded by trees, this is why we enjoy living here. Everyone is up in arms at this development.”
Developer Howarth Homes argued that the four new properties they propose to build at the rear of 43 The Drive would provide a logical extension to one half of Knoll Crescent, a road which is split into two cul-de-sacs.
“Since June 2010 a series of appeal decisions both in Hillingdon and other authorities have determined that excluding private residential gardens from the definition of previously developed land does not introduce blanket protection for residential gardens,” the company stated in its plans submitted last month.
“The trees required to be felled can be lost without causing detriment to public amenity.”
A petition against the development by local residents has gained more than 50 signatures and their arguments will be heard by a planning committee on Hillingdon Council on a date yet to be fixed.
Meanwhile, other ‘garden grabbing’ plans are being considered.
A parcel of land at the bottom of the gardens of 94 and 96 Green Lane in Northwood, backing on to Ashurst Close, is the subject of a bid by Alburgh Developments to build two semi-detached homes. The Rickmansworth firm previously failed to win permission for a block of six flats.
In Ruislip Manor, Daniel Family Homes wish to demolish the bungalow at 81 Shenley Avenue and replace it with a pair of three-bed semi-detached houses.
But the firm argues it would not worsen the street scene: “The existing modest bungalow is arguably out of character with the main character of the street. It is clear that the site, compared with others within the street, is under-utilised.”