[Diggers350] Re: Housing policy train crash in 'Rabbit Hutch' Britain

Simon Fairlie chapter7 at tlio.org.uk
Tue Feb 26 07:59:20 GMT 2013

While British people continue to expect their entire home to be  
heated to 20 degrees throughout winter, isn't it better that they  
remain small?

The biggest cause of "rabbit hutches" in the UK is the subdivision of  
family accommodation into single person units, because people are so  
fussy about sharing nowadays.


On 22 Feb 2013, at 23:55, Brendan Boal wrote:

> 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 Lax and outdated British building regulations are another problem.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.
> "This 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
> http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2008/sep/11/housing
> 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'
> http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/audio/2008/sep/11/ 
> housing.britain.biennale
> 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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