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London Housing Design Guide launched

The London Development Agency (LDA), working together with Mae Architects, has published the new London Housing Design Guide, setting out guidelines for all new public homes in the capital

The guide, which is not a statement of planning policy, will apply to all housing built on LDA land and those schemes with funding from the London Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) from April 2011.

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: ‘It is simply shameful that new homes in London have, until now, been so poorly designed.

‘This is the first step towards ridding London of the tiny, substandard housing which can blight communities for generations. Designers are now free to create innovative homes which are fit for this great city and its inhabitants.’

The guide includes new minimum standards for floor space and private outdoor space as well as guidance on ceiling heights and natural light.

Unlike the draft version, which asked for no single aspect dwellings, the final version of the guide says “developments should avoid single aspect dwellings that are north facing, exposed to noise categories C or D, or contain three or more bedrooms”.

It adds: ‘Where single aspect dwellings are proposed, the designer should demonstrate how good levels of ventilation, daylight and privacy will be provided to each habitable room and the kitchen.’

A consultation on a draft version of the guide took place last year, and a final version of the guide will be published next year to align with the new London Plan and Housing Supplementary Planning Guidance and the HCA design standards review.

Previous story (18.09.09)

Architects demand clarity from London mayor’s housing design guide

Four of London’s leading housing architects have teamed up to voice concerns about mayor Boris Johnson’s London Housing Design Guide

PRP Architects, HTA, Levitt Bernstein and Pollard Thomas Edwards will draft a detailed response to the consultation document, which sets out minimum design requirements for publicly funded homes, but fails to show which are mandatory.

PRP associate Lesley Gibbs said: ‘There needs to be a lot more clarity in the wording. A lot of it talks about what you should do, rather than what you must do.’

The guide, which addresses a range of issues including space standards and environmental performance, was drafted by the London Development Agency (LDA) and architects Mæ.

However, it is understood that it will apply to just a third of proposed residential new-builds in the capital.

HTA managing director Ben Derbyshire said: ‘A big issue for us is whether it will be applied purely to publicly funded housing or end up as supplementary planning guidance. It will work fine for publicly funded housing, but it would be calamitous if it became supplementary planning guidance.’

But Peter Bishop, head of the LDA’s Design for London, which commissioned the guide, said: ‘If we were suggesting imposing the guide across the entire housing market in London, there would need to be a wider debate on the issue… But the London Housing Design Guide is for public housing, procured by public bodies. Any debate about adopting new standards into the London Plan will, I expect, be in 15 to 18 months’ time.’

Consultation on the draft guide ends on 30 September and the final version will be published in April 2010

Readers' comments (2)

  • Has no one heard of Parker Morris, apart from a few small items must still apply for good space standards; the DOE and Ministry of housing guides plus a load more?

    Anyone would think this is all new............... standards were dumped for affordability!!!

    The main problem was that developers said they were to expensive to build?

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  • On one hand goverment trying to cut the expences and wastage ....and on the other hand they are wasting more money doing this pointless and wastefull studies!!
    if anyone thinks this is new standard that is going to improve the housing design standard ......wake-up chaps!!!! welcome to architecture...u must be born yesterday..

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