Doorstep block

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The humble doorstep, lovingly scrubbed by generations of housewives and a feature of many a sitcom, is to disappear from British homes.

New building rules, to be announced before Christmas, will mean that 150,000 new homes built every year will have to have front doors level with the pavement to ensure access for people in wheelchairs. Nick Raynsford, the Construction Minister, will also declare that new buildings must have a downstairs lavatory suitable for use by the disabled, wider doors and corridors as well as shallower approaches. But existing buildings will not be affected.