A relaxation in planning laws that allows developers to convert office buildings into flats was supposed to have been a great Conservative solution to the housing crisis in London. The new laws allow developers to reduce the minimum number of square metres allocated per person from 37 to just 16. This has led to the rise of the ‘dog kennel’ flat.
Roots of the Capital’s Housing Crisis
When there are more people wanting to live in an area than there are houses for them to live in, prices inevitably rise. When the prices are rising fast enough, investors will buy the properties to take advantage of the increase in value – adding to the demand and compounding the problem. Include a government that sells off social housing but doesn’t replace it (let alone increase it) and you have the perfect storm that is our capital’s current housing crisis.
The Government’s Plan
There’s no way that the present government will increase the amount of social housing. They are ideologically committed to certain projects (deficit reduction and Trident renewal spring to mind) that leave nothing in the public purse for such a large-scale building project. One measure they have introduced is a relaxation of planning laws intended to encourage developers to convert disused office space into housing.
The Rise of the ‘Dog Kennel’ Flat
We say ‘housing’ in the broadest sense of the term. By relaxing the planning laws, the government has paved the way for homes measuring as small as 16m². The flats in a proposed development in Barnet that was featured in the news this week are being derisively described as ‘Dog Kennels’ because of their tiny size.
Great News for Developers
This is great news for developers, the studio flats are expected to sell for around £180,000. The government has created 14,000 extra homes in this way – approximately three-quarters of all new housing in the last year. Critics (which include Homeless charity Shelter and the Tory-controlled Barnet council) say the apartments are just too small.
Value for Money
If you are looking to relocate from an overcrowded capital, BMA Estates are here to help. Our experienced team of friendly agents will help you find the perfect apartment or house to suit your needs. For more information, call us on 01603 338433.
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