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 and Friday 11 May, an expert team from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) will hit the streets of Leeds to ask local people whether they are 'bothered about being bottom'. A living room stage set that recreates the space that is missing from new homes in the region will be installed at Victoria Square, outside the art gallery in Leeds.

Come along to Victoria Square to see what new Yorkshire homes are missing and have your say about what makes a good home.

RIBA research has revealed that 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 of 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 sq m short of the recommended minimum size, missing the space equivalent to a double bedroom or dining table for six people and a three-seater sofa. (the benchmark for comparison is the London Plan space standards for a two-storey, three-bedroom home big enough for five people).

Home buyers are rarely given the overall floor area in marketing information, which means that consumers can often be left confused about the actual amount of space that they are purchasing.

The 'Bothered about Being Bottom' Leeds event is part of HomeWise, a national housing campaign to improve Britain's homes, and is being 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 the 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.
We look forward to meeting people in Victoria Square for the RIBA's Bothered about Being Bottom event and passing their views on how to improve our local housing to the Future Homes Commission’s national inquiry.'

The HomeWise website, which features a series of online resources to help people to ask the right questions when choosing a home, is at www.behomewise.co.uk  

Notes to editors

  • For further information contact Emma England on 0113 389 9870 emma.england@riba.org
  • Unlike most countries in Western Europe, the UK has no legislation in place to ensure that all homes are built to a proven acceptable size. The only space standards currently in place are within The London Plan: Spatial Development Strategy for Greater London (July 2011), which has provided the benchmark for the RIBA’s research.
  • The results in the RIBA's Case for Space report are based on 80 sites across England. 8 of these were in Yorkshire and the Humber.
  • The full RIBA Case for Space report can be downloaded from www.behomewise.co.uk  
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