London's Building Space Standards Set To Roll Out Across the UK
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London's Building Space Standards Set To Roll Out Across the UK

posted in News by Skippy on 12:06 Oct 23rd, 2014

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A recent move by the government is set to offer the same space standards which are provided in London to councils across the rest of the country. After months of persistent lobbying behind the scenes, the news emerged just as the government published its delayed housing standards review which also covers the security, accessibility, adaptability and water efficiency of new homes.


London Space Standards Extended Across Britain


With the sharp increase in London property prices and development, calls have been growing in recent years to create a space standard which would help to ensure that new housing is built on a level playing field to make the market fairer to potential buyers.


After seeing the success of the standards in London, it was felt that rolling them out nationwide would help the current housing situation. The move marks the first time in British history that all new houses have the same space standards. Before there was The Parker Morris standards, but these were only for social housing and were abolished in 1980.


The new standards will not become part of normal building, but local authorities will now have the option of adding them to their current policies “where justified by need and subject to viability”. Any developers who want their development to be excluded from the new rules will have to argue each one on a case-by-case basis.


The DCLG consultation which has been released on the subject stated: “the government does not consider there is a case for statutory regulation in this area. However, it does consider there is a need for a national standard to replace the many different existing space standards used by local authorities.”


The announcement ends months of concern from architects and housing charities which were concerned that London may have to accept lower space standards to match the rest of the country, but instead the rest of the country will use London’s standards.


Alex Ely, who co-wrote London’s 2010’s space standards, said “This is good news that the rest of the country is to be aligned to London. It’s been demonstrated that the London design guides have proved worthwhile and have noticeably improved quality of housing and have been generally accepted by industry. If it works in London it seems a useful benchmark to apply elsewhere.”


But Gavin Smart, director of policy and practice at the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH), says that the improved space standards should be compulsory.


“We currently build the smallest homes in Europe,” he said. “We are concerned that the government’s solution to set out voluntary standards for new build houses doesn’t go far enough and we would look instead for these to become mandatory to make real progress.”


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