George Clarke's Amazing Spaces, TV review: The architect who built his home – but forgot to buy a measuring tape

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The Independent Culture

As we all know from the viewing highlight of the week – Jeremy Corbyn's debut Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday – Britain has an acute housing shortage. Obviously, the nation needs a shedload of good ideas to help address the crisis, but I'm not sure that the "amazing spaces" featured in George Clarke's latest series provide much of an answer.

Let's take Peter the sculptor's new "magical stargazing cabin", built with his own hands in his garden in Norfolk. It was a remarkable achievement, given that Peter refuses to draw any plans, use a measuring tape or even a spirit level as he creates his space. "My plan's in my head," he explained as he knocked up the wooden structure, mostly from reclaimed materials he found on the nearby beach. Trouble was, the "plan in my head" turned out to be twice as large as it should have been, and therefore cost about twice as much to build, with a roof twice as difficult to engineer (it still came in at only £3,000).

A much bigger problem was the, ahem, aesthetic appeal of this new clifftop addition to the pretty landscape of north Norfolk. It may be fine for Peter and his family looking up at the big skies and out across the golden beaches. But fellow residents and tourists looking up at a 30ft-high wood and corrugated iron super-shed in the shape of a coffin may not find the view quite so magical. Peter, you see, managed to circumvent the planning rules by sticking a couple of wheels on the side of his cabin, thus transforming its official status into that of a "caravan", albeit a rather immobile one. The only good thing about the cabin is that it must irritate the hell out of all the luvvies who've chosen to colonise this part of the coastline, driving property values out of sight for the locals. But he really should have invested in a tape measure.

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