Clones. They're old news

I have been surprised by all the fuss about cloning. Clearly, the scientists who replicated a sheep and who are now talking about the possibility of a multitude of Spice Girls are unfamiliar with executive home builders. These housing titans are light years ahead of the scientific fraternity. They have been cloning homes for decades and the fruits of their labour can be found dotted around the suburbs of metropolitan communities up and down the nation.

The reason why executive home builders have kept so quiet about their scientific breakthrough is because of the conflict cloning has with the corporate marketing strategy. Executive homes are always described as exclusive. Unfortunately, a home cannot be cloned and still be exclusive. No one would want to live in an executive clone.

What the builders have done is to disguise their scientific genius by attempting to differentiate between each property.

The advertisements run something like this. "Luxury Living at Affordable Prices. XYZ Homes are proud to announce the opening of their prestigious new development - The Beeches. Now you can enjoy the splendour of your own exclusive executive home. Choose from the luxurious Kingsbury, the spacious Queensbury or the glamorous Royale. XYZ - the first name for the last detail making your dream home a reality".

Closer examination will reveal that the Royale is a slightly smaller version of the Queensbury which, in turn, is a slightly bigger version of the Kingsbury.

Apart from the cloned exterior (red brick, grey slate) and cloned interiors (cream paint, green carpets) executive homes have a lot of other attributes in common. The most striking is that executives do not live in them. Executives live in splendid isolation; they do not live in an XYZ four-bedroom, three- bathroom (one ensuite) Queensbury home in close proximity to another 20 or so non-executives.

It is generally easier to get out of Wormwood Scrubs than it is to get into a new executive home development.

Executive home developments are meccas for mini cab firms, home delivery pizzas and the Round Table Christmas fund-raiser. This is largely on account of most executive home developments being close to nothing other than more executive home developments.

I wonder though what the executive home will do for the social fabric of our society. In streets which were built before the executive clone was invented there is a glorious and aspirational hierarchy which develops. Certain streets are better than others and, indeed, certain streets have parts which are better than other bits of the same street. Executive homes, on the other hand, are egalitarian. There is no difference between a Kingsbury and a Queensbury, the development is designed to ensure each home has exposure to equal amounts of sunshine, and there is very little difference between the Beeches development and the Oaks development a few miles away.

Does this mean that in a century's time the house as a measure of social standing will have disappeared entirely? I sincerely hope not. It is snobbery which drives the property market. It is one of the few manifestations of wealth which is not regarded as course or common. It is perfectly acceptable to invite someone to your house. It is not acceptable to invite them to inspect your collection of Personal Equity Plans.

Politicians have expressed their nervousness about the spread of cloning, and on the experience of the executive home their concerns are justified.

It has it place, but its value to society depends in the end on the extent to which it is used.

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Corporate Tax Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - HIGHEST QUALITY INTERNATIONAL ...

Relationship Manager

£500 - £600 per day: Orgtel: Relationship Manager, London, Banking, Accountant...

Marketing & PR Assistant - NW London

£15 - £17 per hour: Ashdown Group: Marketing & PR Assistant - Kentish Town are...

Senior Network Integration/Test Engineer

£250 - £300 per day: Orgtel: Senior Network Integration/Test Engineer Berkshir...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home