Mayor’s office says Parker Morris principle plus 10% will be consulted on in the London Plan review

Housebuilders may have to build private developments to at least 10% above Parker Morris standards by 2012 under proposals launched this week by the mayor of London.

The proposal is supported by a cost analysis by Cyril Sweett, which found that more generous standards could be achieved with only a “marginal” increase in build costs.

The draft London Housing Design Guide, released this week, sets out these new space standards, building on those set by Sir Parker Morris in 1961.

For now the new standards will apply only to public sector developments, those built either in conjunction with the Homes and Communities Agency or on publicly owned land.

But Richard Blakeway, the mayor’s director of housing, said the aspiration was for the standards to cover all developments in the capital.

He said: “These proposals will be included in the consultation for the London Plan, which will come out later this year. If they are approved, housingdevelopers will be required to keep to these standards by the year 2010/2011.”

He added: “We recognise it is a difficult time to be introducing this, but it is the right time. We should not be compromising on quality during a recession.”   

The draft design guide, drawn up by Mae architects, proposes new developments should be built to an average minimum size of 89m2. Alex Ely, director of Mae, said the standards were based on furniture requirements, and to provide flexibility of layout.

Steve Turner, spokesperson for the Home Builders Federation, said: “Clearly if you need bigger rooms, you need more land, which will put prices up. Housebuilders want to build houses that end users are able to buy – we need to be careful that affordability is not threatened.”

Blakeway said the guide simplifies the number of requirements for public housing developers from 390 to 80. As well as space standards, these include guidance on climate change mitigation and integration with the public realm.