A GOVERNMENT planning inspector has dismissed Dudley Council refusing a planning application due to ‘garden grabbing’ as nonsense.

The application was for a three-bedroom house at the rear of 67 Manor Abbey Road in Halesowen and was originally dismissed by the authority in September 2023.

The council rejected the plan, saying it would ‘create an unjustified and contrived form of ‘garden grabbing’ that would form an uncharacteristic and incongruous alteration and addition to the street scene’.

The decision was appealed and sent to the government planning inspectorate who dismissed the appeal but planning inspector John Felgate pulled no punches in criticising the council’s wording.

Mr Felgate said: “I fully accept the appellant’s argument that residential development on garden land, within an urban area such as this, is not objectionable in principle. 

“In this context I agree that the council’s use of the term ‘garden grabbing’ in their refusal reason makes no sense, and indeed is unhelpful in understanding the nature of their objection.”

Despite his grammatical grumble Mr Felgate added: “I have found that the proposed development would cause significant harm to the area’s character and appearance, and to the privacy of neighbouring occupiers. 

“That conflict is not outweighed by any of the other matters raised.”

Despite the criticism, Dudley Council says there is no need to change its policy of using the phrase.

Helen Martin, Dudley Council’s director of regeneration and enterprise, said: “The planning inspector dismissed the applicant’s appeal, agreeing with the council’s decision to refuse the application. 

“The use of the term ‘garden grabbing’ in our report was descriptive and not policy based, so no change in our approach is required.”

Planning inspectors have also dismissed an appeal against the council’s refusal of a six metre by three metre LED advertisement display screen on Foster Street in Stourbridge.

The inspector concluded the proposed sign would be an intrusive feature that would dominate its surroundings to an undue extent.

An appeal to overturn the council’s refusal to allow an illuminated sign in Halesowen has also been thrown out.

In October 2023, Dudley planners rejected a plan for the sign at Vintage Gamer on Windmill Hill in Cradley on the grounds it would have a harmful effect on the streetscene.

Planning inspectors agreed and concluded the sign would be ‘unduly dominant and incongruous’.