Friday, April 26, 2013

Battery hen Britain: UK homes are now the most cramped in Europe

Battery hen Britain: UK homes are now the most cramped in Europe, Homes in Britain are becoming the smallest in Europe with new one-bed flats now typically no bigger than a Tube carriage.

Faced with rising land costs, developers are cramming a lounge, kitchen, bedroom and bathroom into as little as 495 square feet.

The result is ‘cramped, dark and artificially lit’ environments that put health and wellbeing at risk, the Royal Institute of Architects said.

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Stark: Britons are living in the smallest homes in Western Europe and it is making us ill and unhappy, a report said today

How we live: RIBA say the average UK one-bed flat (left), equates to living in a London Tube carriage (right)

It warned the lack of space and light could cause marital problems and even stop children from reaching their full potential at school.

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The average new UK home has shrunk to 818 square feet, 10 per cent smaller than 30 years ago, making our properties the tiniest in Western Europe.

Campaign: Kevin McCloud, presenter of Channel 4 show Grand Designs, is leading a campaign to ensure people live in bigger, lighter homes, and took to a Tube train to make his point

Riba’s Case for Space report says homebuyers are increasingly concerned that new homes are not big enough for their needs.

‘Research suggests consumers are right to be worried,’ the report says.

‘A lack of space has been shown to impact on the basic lifestyle needs that many people take for granted, such as having enough space to store possessions or even to entertain friends.

‘In more extreme cases, lack of adequate space for a household has also been shown to have significant impacts on health, educational attainment and family relationships.’

Research shows a lack of natural light – often due to small windows – can lead to a diminished immune system, diabetes and premature ageing.

Natural light can decrease the risk of insomnia, depression and obesity, while over-exposure to the artificial variety can disrupt sleeping patterns.

The abolition of the minimum space standards through the 1980 Local Government, Planning and Land Act is to blame, Riba says.

Properties in Ireland are 15 per cent bigger, in the Netherlands they are 53 per cent bigger and those in Denmark – at 1,475 square feet – are a staggering 80 per cent more expansive.

For those living in a home between two and ten years old a lack of space is the main reason for wanting to move out.

Riba has launched a campaign called HomeWise, headed by Kevin McCloud of Channel 4’s Grand Designs, to call for minimum size and light standards for all homes.

New build homes same size as TUBE CARRIAGE

Message: RIBA's report spells out what it believes can happen to those living in less light than they should

Research: Space at home is shrinking, according to the research, and many are living in the same area as a Tube train

Posters: RIBA are hoping their posters will go viral and encourage people to join their campaign

‘This isn’t rocket science. We all instinctively respond to the opportunity for a view, a connection with the outdoors, fresh air, light and space,’ Mr McCloud said.

‘A return to minimum space standards is crucial for the health and wellbeing of the people who will be living in new build homes.’

The presenter blamed the Town and Country Planning Act for the shrinking size of homes.

‘It effectively rationed the distribution of land for development by producing the green belt,’ he added.

‘That meant land started to be traded as a commodity and increased in value.’

A Jubilee Line train carriage covers 495 square feet, Riba said.

Happy? A couple pleased to be in their flat (file picture), but experts say that Britons now expect to get less space for their money, and say that should change

Low level living: The popularity of the bungalow, like this show house in Maidstone in Kent, soared in the 1930s and 40s but just 300-a-year are now built

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