rabbit hutch sized new houses

james armstrong james36armstrong at hotmail.com
Sun Aug 16 13:56:00 BST 2009

Olinka Koster, Aug 12th 
Cramped: The Government's design watchdog says new homes do not have enough room for residents to unwind or invite friends for dinner 
Families are living in 'rabbit hutch Britain', with new homes offering the smallest rooms in Europe, a report warns.

It found that newly built properties are so cramped that they do not provide enough space to cook, have visitors around or simply relax. 

And the study by the Government's design watchdog also revealed that both the average room size and overall new-home size are getting even smaller. 

The boom in the number of smaller houses and flats reflects decreasing family sizes in Britain. 

The average number of people in a family has fallen from 3.1 in 1961 to 2.4 last year, according to the Office for National Statistics. The average number of people per household is even lower, at 1.9. 

A hundred years ago, an average of eight family members lived under one roof, with richer households also boasting several servants. 

However, the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (Cabe) said this does not account for falling room sizes and that private homes built today were 'too small for everyday life'. 

In a survey of 2,249 homeowners, whose properties were built between 2003 and 2006, 44 per cent revealed they did not have enough space for small children to play safely while food is prepared. 

Almost half claimed they did not have enough room for their furniture, while more than a third said there was not enough space in the kitchen for appliances. 

The study also warned that the implications of living in such smaller spaces were 'wide-reaching', and could impact on health, well-being and education. 

For example, there may not be enough room to dine as a family, which encourages healthier eating habits and stronger relationships, the report said.

Children without space to entertain friends will do so outside instead - with no parental supervision, it added. Richard Simmons, chief executive of Cabe, criticised local authorities for allowing developers to build homes without ample space. 

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