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Thursday 11th of December 2008
September 12, 2008

Britain’s new homes are too small


by Gill Montia
Britain's new homes are too small

Back in the 1960s the term “rabbit hutch” was commonly associated with towns that were designated overspill destinations for Londoners desperate for some country air and decent accommodation.

New housing estates sprung up and locals in towns such as Andover, Basingstoke and Swindon muttered that the homes were no bigger than rabbit hutches.

Nearly 50 years on, UK housing developers have been exposed as building the most cramped housing in Europe.

Questions are being asked at this month’s world-leading architectural event, the Venice Architecture Biennale, as to why the quality of British housing has fallen behind the rest of Europe.

According to campaigners, England and Wales are the only parts of Europe where house-building is unregulated by legally binding minimum space standards.

London mayor, Boris Johnson, wants the reintroduction of minimum space standards for all publicly-funded housing in the capital.

He believes one-bedroom flats should have minimum floor area of 50 square metres and three-bedroom homes a minimum of 74 square metres.

Up until the early 1980s the Parker Morris Standards of floor space were mandatory for all housing built in new towns and many public and private sector housing developers now fail to meet these standards.

House builders argue that the reintroduction of standards could increase costs and decrease the number of new homes available.

According to housing charity, Shelter, living in overcrowded conditions has a serious impact on people’s health and can cause depression, anxiety and stress.

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Story link: Britain’s new homes are too small


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