Not very Grand Designs: New British homes are the smallest in Western Europe and no bigger than the size of a tube carriage

Forget space and light, a new film by the Royal Institute of British Architects, featuring TV presenter Kevin McCloud, reveals that new homes in Britain are shrinking at an astonishing rate

Are you sitting comfortably? The chances are you may be a bit squished if you're the owner of one of Britain's crop of tiny new homes.

According to new research by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) an average one-bedroom home in the UK has
shrunk to the size of a Jubilee tube train carriage and is a risk to people's health.

With the price of land at a premium, developers are building new homes on an astonishing small scale, often no bigger than just 46 square metres.

people in train

(Image credit: TBC)

This means that many residents are living in miserable, 'cramped, dark' homes, according to Kevin McCloud, star of Grand Designs.

To highlight the UK's housing crisis, RIBA has teamed up with TV star Kevin to launch an initative called 'Without Space and Light' which calls for minimum standards to be adhered to when new homes are built.


The initative is backed up by findings showing that living in a poor, cramped and dark environment can have a negative impact on people's quality of life.

Overall, the average UK home is now 76
square metres, ten per cent smaller than 30 years ago,
making British properties the tiniest in Western Europe.

England has no national minimum standards for the size of new homes, and
in heavily built up areas, such as central London, studio apartments
are rarely bigger than 25 square metres.

studio apartment

(Image credit: TBC)

This studio apartment for sale near Russell Square, central London, features bespoke built in furniture to get the most out of it's tiny 24 square metre floor space.

However, in the capital, even tiny homes don't come cheap - this property is currently on the market for £330,000.

Living with white tiled floor and white wall

(Image credit: TBC)

In order to highlight the problem, RIBA filmed Kevin McCloud going 'underground' - on London's tube network to see how difficult it is to live without enough space and light. His findings were documented in a short film.

Speaking about the campaign, he said: 'This isn't rocket science. We all instinctively respond to the opportunity for a view, a connection with the outdoors, fresh air, light and space. A return to minimum space standards is crucial for the health and wellbeing of the people who will be living in new build homes'.

Mayor of London, Boris Johnson added: 'London is the perfect model for how well minimum design stardards can work without suppressing development. I'd hope the Government looks on the success we've had in the capital sand sees the potential of working with developers to ensure everyone has a decent sized home'.

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