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Hellman - beware of regulations

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letters

Louis Hellman's heart is in the right place (aj 22.1.98), but he is like so many people: well-intentioned and liberal in temperament, yet not content with informing or recommending - which I welcome - or even with preaching. They must have mandatory regulations. They are, therefore, actually authoritarian.

Of course, we seek the greatest happiness of the greatest number, but 'inclusivity' has become a deceptive buzzword which ignores the real world. In a democracy, the will of the majority prevails, the minority will does not. Legislation may confer rights on some but is intrinsically anti-libertarian, since it limits freedom and the right of choice for others.

Supposing Part M is extended to cover all new private dwellings and, presumably, alterations and extensions, and administered to the letter by Building Control - 'Sorry, but that is what the Regulation says' - how will the architect respond to private clients when they remonstrate: 'It's my home, my money and my family and I want to build a house for our needs. Why can't I do things in my own home which have nothing to do with general public health or safety and are perfectly acceptable to us and the majority of other households?'

'Because,' the architect will reply, 'it might help someone who is in a wheelchair, or parents, like architect Tim Skelton, manoeuvring prams and pushchairs, who might come to the house or want to live in it.'

'Well, if they come to my house I'll help them, and if they want to buy it and there are things which don't meet their requirements, why don't they alter it, just as we have done?' asks the client.

'Because we want to be inclusive,' replies the architect.

'What do you mean, inclusive?' asks the client. 'This legislation has just removed personal choice from every house-owner in the country.'

'I am afraid that's life,' says the architect piously.

Is it, Mr Hellman?

CHRISTOPHER MAGUIRE

Cambridge

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