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Official – UK newbuilds are shoeboxes of Europe

August 16th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Anyone who has looked around a new housing development in recent years can’t fail to have noticed how new houses are getting smaller and smaller. Developers use tricks such as specially made ‘three-seater’ sofas that are only as long as a normal two-seater; doors are left off and TVs are conspicuous by their absence – all to hide the fact that the room is woefully small.

A recent survey by Cabe, the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, has confirmed that new houses in the UK really are the shoeboxes of Europe.

The average floor space of a new UK home is only 76 square metres. That’s 13%, 21% and 32% less than Ireland, Spain and France respectively and just over a third of the space enjoyed by Australians and Americans.

The problem here is that developers get greedy, trying to cram as many of these overpriced shoeboxes onto a plot of land, while the local council planning department, who should really be the ones policing this and refusing permission, have a conflict of interest as more houses means more council tax. It is hardly surprising that those houses that do have garages, rarely contain a car as they have out of necessity become storage rooms or converted living spaces because the original design was lacking in space. Overcrowded developments also have detrimental effects on local traffic congestion.

New houses should have a minimum floor area and a minimum land area around it. If these are not met then the selling price that the developer can demand should be limited. We should also be forcing new-builds to have cellars.

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