London Mayor Boris Johnson has called for an end to badly designed ‘hobbit homes’ in the capital with new guidance published on the design of publicly funded homes from 2011.
The London Housing Design Guide sets new minimum standards to meet his commitment to improve the quality of new homes.
He launched the guide for consultation in Croydon today. It sets out six key areas of design for new developments:
- spaces between and around buildings, to integrate with wider public realm
- ensuring a mix of housing sizes, types and tenures at range of densities
- better design of entrances and shared areas, car parking and cycle and waste storage
- new minimum internal space standards on layout and size of rooms – 10% larger broadly than 1961 Parker Morris benchmark
- lighter, quieter and better ventilated homes
- suitable for warmer summers and wetter winters.
The new guide also consolidates existing design standards, cutting the number of tick boxes for developers from 300 to 90. It could eventually be applied to private as well as public sector homes once incorporated as policy in the London Plan.
Johnson said: ‘For too long we have built homes to indecently poor standards – fit neither for Bilbo Baggins nor his hobbit friends – and that is indefensible. The finest city in the world deserves the finest housing for its inhabitants and when we get it wrong it can scar generation after generation.’
President of the Royal Institute of British Architects, Sunand Prasad, said: ‘There is no reason why every one of London’s future homes should not achieve a decent standard of design or better.’