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Garden space ‘shrinking’ because of stamp duty costs - claim

The sizes and numbers of gardens in London are reducing because stamp duty is encouraging more extensions as an alternative to moving.

That’s the claim made by Ordnance Survey, the national mapping agency, which has furnished mainstream news outlets with aerial photographs showing how garden space has reduced by five per cent in London in the 10 years to 2021.

Some of that reduction is down to the construction of garden sheds and outdoor home offices, but OS believes much of the cause is the building of extensions

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It says that there were 382.41 square kilometres of garden space in London in 2011 - representing 24 per cent of the capital's space. However, now it is 367.46 square kilometres, or 23 per cent.

Experts suggest that outside of the current stamp duty holiday, a buyer of a £1.2m home would have to pay some £63,750 in SDLT but could instead spend around £1,500 per square metre on an extension - suggesting the extra space could be more affordable though enlarging a current house and reducing the garden, rather than buying a different larger property.

Danny Hyam, of Ordnance Survey's technical services team, tells the Daily Telegraph: “In most parts of the country, urban areas are expanding outwards at the edges. In London, there isn't the space for new gardens – it's all big blocks of flats because that's what we've got the space for.

“London is an expensive place to move and so people are basically extending their properties rather than buying. At the backs of gardens with alleyways behind them, we're seeing big garages and big sheds being built.”

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