Housing policy train crash in 'Rabbit Hutch' Britain

Brendan Boal b_m_boal at yahoo.com
Fri Feb 22 23:55:34 GMT 2013

This is dead right, but another factor in the more generous size of continental housing is the far greater proportion of new homes that are self-built. When people are building their own homes they inevitably make a better job of it than any corporate provider.  If a more acceptable standard of household space could be established in the UK in this way, it would eventually affect all housing for the better. For this to happen, however, we need to break the big developers virtual monopoly on green field building land and require that a healthy proportion of adequate sized building plots be made available to self builders. 

Lax and outdated British building regulations are another problem. We're heading for a serious energy crisis yet our homes are far less energy efficient than they could be. The technology too fix this is straightforward, well established and not that expensive, yet it is not utilised to anything like the extent it should be. Government really needs to start representing the public interest by enforcing a whole new approach to build quality and access to building land,  rather than allowing monopoly developers to continue churning out cheap, badly insulated, rabbit hutches. 

was what I prayed for: a plot of land not to large, 

containing a
garden, and near the house a fresh spring of water, 

and a bit of
forest to complete it."

 From: Tony Gosling <tony at cultureshop.org.uk>
To: Massimo <diggers350 at yahoogroups.com> 
Sent: Friday, 22 February 2013, 21:36
Subject: [Diggers350] Housing policy train crash in 'Rabbit Hutch' Britain

passed me by this old chestnut

New British homes the smallest in Europe
Robert Booth - The Guardian, Thursday 11 September 2008 
The UK is building the most cramped housing in Europe in a phenomenon
dubbed "rabbit hutch" Britain, with every country in western
Europe, from Ireland to Italy, providing bigger new homes.
"The cause is simple and shocking," said Ellis Woodman, the
curator behind the British pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale,
opening today, which examines why the quality of British housing has
fallen behind the rest of Europe. "England and Wales are the only
parts of Europe where house-building is unregulated by legally binding
minimum space standards," he said. "That oversight is all too
indicative of the failure of successive British governments to ensure
that we are well housed."
Robert Booth audio: 'The most cramped houses in Europe'

Homes in the UK have the smallest rooms west of Poland and old
dwellings are not much bigger, with the average floor space almost a
quarter smaller than in Denmark, which boasts western Europe's most
spacious living accommodation.
Among the smallest homes on the market are Barratt Homes' "Manhattan
pods" in Harlow, Essex, which have just 34 square metres of space
and a living room measuring three metres by 3.6 metres.
A survey by the housing charity Shelter of 500 families living in
overcrowded conditions revealed that 86% felt someone in their family was
suffering from depression, anxiety or stress and 71% said overcrowding
had a negative impact on their health.
"I haven't got any room for anything," said Sonia Donovan, a
23-year-old pregnant single mother who lives in a one- bedroom council
flat in Plymouth. "In my bedroom I've got my bed, my son's bed,
cupboards and baby's cot. It causes a lot of stress in a small property,
especially with my small son and another one on the way. I'm depressed
and I feel homeless."
In November, London mayor Boris Johnson will propose the reintroduction
of minimum space standards on all publicly-funded housing in the capital,
with one-bedroom flats having to be no smaller than 50 square metres and
three-bedroom homes a minimum 74 square metres. Johnson said in the
summer that it was "shameful that new buildings in London have some
of the smallest rooms in Europe".
In a separate move aimed at freeing up more space in Britain's homes, the
government said yesterday that it would waive planning procedures for
loft conversions of fewer than 50 cubic metres and single-storey
extensions no more than 3 metres deep.
Housebuilders have warned that space standards could increase costs and
slow down housebuilding, which is already falling short of government
targets. "We can't increase the footprint of a home without
increasing the land we need to buy and develop," said Steve Turner,
a spokesman for the Home Builders' Federation. 
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