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Thu September 24 2020

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Customers are perfectly happy with their shoe boxes, say housebuilders

16 Sep 11 Housebuilders have come out in defence of their product after an attack from architects, and said they would happily build bigger houses if more land was made available to them.

Yesterday the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) said that “thousands of cramped houses - shameful shoe box homes - are being churned out all over the country, depriving households of the space they need to live comfortably and cohesively”.

However, the Home Builders Federation (HBF) has defended its members, saying that if they could build over more of the country they could build bigger houses. HBF said that RIBA had failed to ask the right questions. "The right answer is a new planning system," it said, adding that RIBA had failed to consider land supply issues, or affordability.

Undermining its own argument, however, the HBF then added that people were perfectly happy with their shameful shoe boxes: “High customer satisfaction ratings demonstrate that new home buyers are overwhelmingly happy with the product home builders provide”.

Applying the market forces argument, HBF said that its members only existed because they build houses that their customers want and can afford.

HBF executive chairman Stewart Baseley said: "This report is a disappointing missed opportunity. We'll happily work with RIBA and others but if they are serious about the future of housing in this country they must support the proposed NPPF and ensure that they fully understand the pressures on land and viability that home builders face every day.

"Even with these constraints developers are building the homes that this country desperately needs and providing billions of pounds of investment in infrastructure and the environment.”

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