The Garden Guide

Land and Property Development

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The Historic Gardens Review (Issue 18, June 2007, p.4) reported that 'attempts are being made to curtail the activities of British developers who buy large, detached houses with spacious gardens and apply for permission to build numbers of small houses on the site'. This is undoubtedly good. But it would be better if property developers took an interest in the investment aspects of property-with-gardens.

Many towns and cities are surrounded by large areas of bleak and overworked farmland. In urban areas where population increase is likely, it is wise to make contingency plans for the future. Property investment companies could buy this land and develop it as woodland parks, lakes and gardens. This would have benefits for ecology and for carbon sequestration - and there would be good prospects for developing a limited number of 'small houses with gardens' at a later date. Property developers have a better track record of integrating new housing into an existing landscape than of creating sensibly and attractively landscaped scheme from scratch. With this kind of forward planning, a higher standard of housing could be achieved to cope with the expanding population rather than throwing together ugly developments at the last minute under the pressure of increased housing demand.

Farmland on the urban fringe often has little economic, scenic or ecological value

Urban fringe woodlands cost little to establish and are well suited to property development

Lakeside Housing Development