It's not strictly speaking 'in' my back yard -in fact it's just a few feet away from it - but the Tavern's garden may soon be overshadowed by a two-storey house as our neighbour cashes in on a 'garden-grab'.
We were Prescotted two years ago*, when, despite unanimous and vociferous objections from surrounding householders and the Parish Council, a neighbour secured planning permission for a 4-bedroom house in his distinctly modest garden. So far, he's not acted on it - thanks to a timely recession.
All the 'opportunities' to object - letters invited, a meeting to speak at - turned out to be empty pretence; the (Conservative) local council opposed the development but, two weeks later, the Regional Planning Officer arrived in his Jag for a cursory inspection, shook the applicant's hand and overruled the Council on the basis that it was a brownfield site.
Brownfield? Brownfield? The land was an apple orchard until the 1960s, when an estate was built; the applicant occupies a corner plot, bounded on two sides by red-brick Victorian houses. The new house will take up virtually the entire garden and closely overlook four neighbours as well as visually intruding into a conservation area.
Added to that, the site is at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac with no road access unless the existing garage is demolished, and every other householder in the Close objected on the grounds of increased traffic. How much is it worth to become a social pariah?
Reclassifying gardens is not enough - we need to be able to appeal against decisions made under the brownfield classification. Our area has already lost several large gardens, a sports club and the local allotments to high-density housing - let's hang on to what's left before it's too late.
*Like being shafted but with planning permission
9 hours ago