'Shoebox' Homes are on the increase

Architects have criticised the "shameful shoe-box homes" being built in Britain today, saying many are too small for family life.

UK new homes are apparently the smallest in Europe, research by the Royal Institute of British Architects (Riba) found the floor area of the average new three-bedroom home in the UK is 88 sq m, some 8 sq m short of the recommended space.

This increase of the smaller home was largely due to the Planning Policy Guidance 3 – better known as PPG3 – the result being more apartments, three storey townhouses, smaller rooms and minimal gardens.

RIBA claim that these new small homes were not what people wanted: a third of people wouldn't consider buying a new home, its study found, with the room size being the most common discouraging factor. Harry Rich, Chief Executive of RIBA says "It seems clear that people have too little influence on the design, quality and size of homes available to them."

The majority of houses that we work on at Arc Design Services are people looking to increase space and this gives them good value for money with house prices on the rise. It does however, beg the question that something needs to give, as land is in short supply. We are increasingly also looking at new basements going underground to gain more space. This is fashionable in central London but we are seeing this increasingly here in the North West too.

The problem of building bigger houses of course is the increased cost for the buyer. Andrew Whitaker, head of planning at the Home Builders Federation says, “Houses would become more expensive and we're already suffering from a lack of affordability for young people and first-time buyers.” Building costs are not going down and they are increasing at an alarming rate. This then puts the costs up on to the end user pushing more people out of the market.

We at Arc Design Services believe that we are heading for another property boom as we need around 250,000 homes built every year over the next 10 years or so as the population is estimated to increase by 4-5 million over the next 15 to twenty years and we estimate that last year only 110,000 were built, so we’re pretty sure that another bust will be on the cards too when the bubble bursts!

So what is the solution? A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government has said: "The key to informing change would be to put local communities themselves in control, which is why, under our planning reforms, neighbourhoods will be able to design and vote on their own plans for the future of their areas, giving them the chance to exercise meaningful choice over the type and size of homes that are built, and giving developers the chance to benefit from a smoother process for getting planning permission by working with local people from the start."

If you need more space in your home and are interested in extending (maybe even into the basement?!) contact us to explore all the possibilities available.

Arc Design Services Telephone: 0161 928 4433 Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

26a Victoria Road, Hale
Altrincham, Cheshire, WA15 9AD
United Kingdom