A developer has been told it cannot build three large detached houses in a Birmingham suburb, marking a major victory for residents.
City planners have been praised for “standing up to garden grabbing” after rejecting proposals for the luxury homes in Woodbourne Road, Edgbaston.
The planning system has come under fire in recent years over its inability to stop building on large gardens in Edgbaston, Sutton Coldfield, Hall Green and other areas.
Changes to planning guidelines, introduced by the coalition Government, have also been criticised for lacking the teeth to stop it happening.
But developer Hackett and James was told that its six and seven bedroom houses were unacceptable. The luxury homes were to have three or four car garages, ensuite bedrooms, gyms and pools.
A spokesman for the developer said: “Planning policy states that back-land development can make a positive contribution on an area.
“This is a wonderful development opportunity and would have a positive affect on property values in the area.”
But Coun Keith Linnecor (Lab Oscott) said: “These houses are quite large.
“It is a relief that after so long we are finally stopping garden grabbing. We are stepping up to defend our gardens.”
Planning officers concluded that the development, planned for alongside the Harborne Walkway, was out of character and might set a precedent for further backland garden building in the area.
Resident David Delaney-Hall said: “Large gardens are part of the character of Edgbaston, this could set a dangerous precedent.”
He added that a proposed access road to the site, between numbers four and six Woodbourne Road, was too narrow.
Council transport officers ruled that, at five metres, the road would be wide enough, but there were concerns about a chicane and pinch points. But committee member Coun Bob Beauchamp (Con Erdington) said: “This is quite an outrageous request. The access is dreadful and these houses will stick out like a sore thumb.”