'Rabbit hutch' housing to be curbed by Government

The living space in new homes has fallen by more than one-third since the 1920s

The construction of “rabbit hutch” houses will be curbed under Government moves to stop builders packing too many homes into tiny plots.

The living space in new homes has fallen by more than one-third since the 1920s, leaving England with some of the smallest properties in western Europe.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) said it was considering forcing architects to design bigger rooms.

Under its plans, which went out to consultation today, house-builders would be required to abide by “minimum space standards”.

The DCLG is also contemplating a system of “space labelling” to give house-buyers a clear idea of how much living space is in a property.

According to the Royal Institution of British Architects (Riba), the size of a typical new terraced house has fallen from more than 1,000 sq ft in the 1920s to 645 sq ft today.

Harry Rich, Riba's chief executive, said: “We are pleased to see the Government consulting on space standards. Our public research has repeatedly revealed that space in new homes is a major concern.”

Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, has protested that families are “trapped in rabbit hutch homes” because of existing guidelines on the density of new buildings.

The DCLG also set out moves to reduce bureaucracy facing builders, saying it intended to abolish 90 rules that can be applied by councils, including the requirement that some have  to collect their own rainwater.