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Architects welcome developer’s commitment to space standards

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Architects have welcomed a move by Berkeley to commit to minimum space standards for all new homes

The developer has said that every home it submits to planning will adhere to self-imposed space standards based on the London Housing Design Guide.

Ceiling heights of 2.5m, principle bedrooms of at least 2.75m in length and a minimum 1.5m² of built-in storage will now be a requirement of all homes designed for Berkeley.

Matt Bell, head of external affairs, at Berkeley, said: ‘The principle is to work from the London Housing Design Guide, which people are now familiar with and support, but strip out some of the prescriptive detail, which drives people mad. Focus on the core issues which matter to residents – the ceiling heights, the main bedroom, and the storage.’

Mae founder, Alex Ely, said if he were to choose three standards from the London Design Guide to apply to all new housing, those chosen by Berkeley were ‘the critical standards’.

He added: ‘This is a really welcome endorsement of the benefits of the London Housing Design Guide Standards from a company that was vocal in its opposition to the guide when it was being drafted. I hope that Berkeley’s damascene moment will persuade others to follow suit.’ 

Berkeley’s announcement will see homes built by them across the UK built to minimum space standards which are currently only common practice in the capital.

A spokesperson for the RIBA, which has long been campaigning for space standards for homes, commented: ‘It’s more than just lip service because it will be for all their developments, not those just in London. They are taking the London space standard across the whole country.  It’s a great start.’

They added: ‘We congratulate Berkeley on setting out a commitment to working to the London design guide space and setting out their own standards on space and storage for all their future developments: space and storage are two key consumer concerns with new build properties.

‘Its commitment to space in the master bedroom is a great start and we would like to see house builders similarly commit to minimum square footage across the whole home. A decent sized home, which is flexible and can adapt as we age is essential for family dynamics, our children’s educational achievement and mental wellbeing.’

While partner at Sheppard Robson, Alan Shingler, said he hoped the standards would be adopted by more developers across the UK. He said: ‘Research by Ipsos MORI commissioned by the RIBA shows that 80 per cent of the public would be more likely to choose a home that meets minimum space standards. I am encouraged to see that Berkeley are publically committing to London Housing Design Guide space standards if only these could be ‘National Standards’ for all private and affordable homes.’

Berkeley’s announcement comes after the developer was heavily criticised in a Guardian report into its Fletcher Priest-masterplanned scheme at Woodberry Down in Hackney.

The 3,000-home scheme, which was given the go-ahead by London Mayor Boris Johnson in May, has come under fire for gentrification with residents unhappy about the regeneration taking place at the 1940s estate.

The move comes ahead of government plans to introduce new national minimum space standards as announced in the Housing Standards Review, as championed by the AJ More Homes Better Homes Campaign.

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