Written statement to Parliament

Previously developed land and density

This speech was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

I am today implementing the commitments made in the Coalition Agreement to decentralise the planning system by giving Local Authorities the…


I am today implementing the commitments made in the Coalition Agreement to decentralise the planning system by giving Local Authorities the freedom to prevent overdevelopment of neighbourhoods and ‘garden grabbing’.

The impact of the old policy approach, set out in Planning Policy Statement 3, is that the combination of a national target for brownfield land, alongside the definition of gardens as brownfield land, has meant local authorities feeling forced into granting planning permission for unwanted development on garden land - simply to maintain the brownfield target.

To bring an end to these detrimental effects, we are today therefore removing gardens from the definition of previously developed land in Planning Policy Statement 3.

We are also removing the requirement upon local authorities to have regard to the national minimum density for housing set out in paragraph 47 of PPS3. This policy has resulted in local authorities not having enough flexibility to set density ranges that suit the local needs in their areas - particularly for family houses.

I am today re-issuing Planning Policy Statement 3: Housing (PPS3) with the following changes:

  • the definition of previously developed land in Annex B now excludes private residential gardens
  • the national indicative minimum density of 30 dwellings per hectare is deleted from paragraph 47

Together these changes put power back in the hands of local authorities and communities to take the decisions that are best for them, and decide for themselves the best locations and types of development in their areas.

This reissued policy document sets out the Secretary of State’s policy on previously developed land and housing density. Local Planning Authorities and the Planning Inspectorate are expected to have regard to the policy in preparing development plans and, where relevant, to take it into account as a material consideration when determining planning applications.

Copies have been placed in the library of the House.