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New space standard 'could save £114m a year'

Introducing a minimum space standard for new homes in England could save developers and councils £114 million a year.Communities minister Stephen Williams has said simplifying rules and regulations, while giving councils the option to impose a minimum space standard for homes, would reduce bureaucracy and save money, Mail Online reports."Councils and communities will be able to choose if they would like to introduce new space standards to influence the size of new homes in their local area if this is right for them," he said."By doing this, we could save developers and councils as much as £114 million a year, while making homes safer, more accessible to older and disabled people and more sustainable."The UK currently has the smallest homes in western Europe, with the average new build home measuring just 76 square metres.According to a government consultation carried out earlier this year, 80 per cent of people support the introduction of minimum space standards, which would cover bedroom sizes, ceiling heights and storage space.However, housebuilding representatives have claimed such standards would make the construction of new homes more expensive.Steve Turner, spokesman for the Home Builders Federation, said they could reduce the affordability of new houses, particularly affecting first-time buyers and those on lower budgets.He added that people who purchase houses are "overwhelmingly happy" with their properties.Minimum space standards for homes have already been introduced in London and are expected to be rolled out across the country, if they are approved by local authorities.Andrew Forth, policy and public affairs manager for the Royal Institute of British Architecture (RIBA), said the evidence shows people would be happier in larger homes, which would address concerns about lack of room for furniture and for children to do their homework.Older people living in larger properties could be encouraged to downsize as a result of new regulations, freeing up space for big families.RIBA has been campaigning for more spacious housing since September 2011 and president Stephen Hodder welcomed the government's recognition of the problem of poor quality homes. 

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