I wonder how many of your readers spotted that the balconies at Barons Place (8 October, page 39) have been installed upside down.
I also wonder how many of the team responsible for delivering this development have ever lived long term in a 36 m2 flat. I have, and I can assure you that building ever smaller flats is not the answer to our housing problem. Such projects are simply building slums for the future – and unsustainable slums at that, as the use of volumetric construction will make conversion into larger units difficult.
I hope that, when the 2000 similar units are being proposed, the planning authorities will have the courage to stand up to this attempt to make undersized housing the norm. It would also be the start of a vicious circle – the smaller the flats become, the more that can be squeezed on site and so up goes the price of land. This is the route to a future of smaller flats that are as unaffordable as normal sized flats are today.
Oh yes, and the balconies. When you live in a substandard flat you need all the space you can get, so proper balconies really help. How anyone who builds flats this size can spend money on gratuitous canopies, putting architectural vanity before good housing design, is beyond me.
Alain Head, Shepheard Epstein Hunter, London WC1