Monday, 14 May 2012

People of Yorkshire, are you bothered about being bottom? New houses in Yorkshire and the Humber are the smallest in the country – it’s time to demand better!

On Thursday 10 May RIBA Yorkshire hit the streets of Leeds to ask local people whether they are ‘bothered about being bottom’. A living room stage set, that recreated the space that is missing from new homes in the region, was installed at Victoria Gardens, the Headrow outside the art gallery in Leeds.

The stage set: the mat illustrates the 8 square metres missing from the average new-build 3 bedroom home in the UK today. The taped area indicates the additional 5square metres missing from 3 bedroom homes in Yorkshire. 
Photographer: MJ Heritage Photography
RIBA research has revealed the average new three bedroom home being built in Yorkshire and the Humber is 13 square metres smaller than the basic recommended minimum size, and is therefore depriving families the space needed for children to do homework, adults to work from home, guests to stay and for members of the household to relax together. With a floor area of just 83 square metres, the average house in the region is 13 sqm short of the recommended minimum size missing the space equivalent to a double bedroom or dining table for six people and a three seat sofa. (the benchmark for comparison is the London Plan space standards for a 2 storey, 3 bedroom home big enough for 5 people). 

Home buyers are rarely given the overall floor area in marketing information; which means consumers can often be left confused about the actual amount of space they are purchasing.
RIBA team members interview  members of the public and ask what they want from a home.
Photographer: MJ Heritage Photography

The ‘Bothered about Being Bottom’ Leeds event is part of HomeWise, a national housing campaign to improve Britain’s homes run by the RIBA.  Comments received from the Leeds event will be shared with the Future Homes Commission, a national inquiry that is currently developing recommendations for how houses should be designed and delivered in future. It will provide policy makers, house designers and builders much-needed consumer evidence to ensure that new homes are good quality and fit for modern households.

John Orrell, chair of RIBA Yorkshire Regional Council and founder member of the regional housing group said: ‘There is a pressing need to build more homes in our region and throughout the UK but we should make sure that they are the right types of homes.  The RIBA’s research revealed that many new homes are far smaller than recommended minimum standards and it is very disappointing that the Yorkshire and Humber region has the worst record in the country.

It is difficult to accept why families in our region have to settle for less. Factors that may influence the size and affordability of new homes, such as land values and planning restrictions are equally onerous, if not more so, in many other regions of the country – so it is time for people in our region to be ‘bothered about being bottom’ and demand better.
John Orrell, RIBA Yorkshire Regional Chair is interviewed for BBC Look North
Photographer: MJ Heritage Photography
We had a fantastic day, speaking to individuals about what they think makes a good home. We also attracted the press! The story was covered on the BBC Website, as well as interviews on BBC Look North, BBC Radio Sheffield and BBC Radio Leeds.
Greg Hall, RIBA Marketing Manager is interviewed for BBC Radio Leeds
Photographer: MJ Heritage Photography
The HomeWise website which features a series of online resources to help people to ask the right questions when choosing a home is at

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