Two extra storeys. . . but is it pretty?
What might those most concerned about affordable housing have expected from the recent Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, held in the shadow of a crash-out Brexit powered by a handsy prime minister of Trumpian moral character?
After all, the UK national housing crisis looms ever larger, with family homelessness rapidly increasing. The housing market is within reach of fewer and fewer young buyers, who are forced to rent, so rental housing is daily more scarce and more expensive.
Well, it seems the conference has managed to pull at least one quirky rabbit out of the housing hat. NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) be damned, the Tories plan to allow any homeowner to create micro-mansions by adding two stories to their house, ignoring the plaintive cries of both neighbours and local councils.
Presumably this right-to-remodel-upwards will allow families to grow in situ. As for affordable housing, if or when the new penthouse storey (and a possible sub-penthouse as well) are rented out, this will help increase neighbourhood density. That, according to all the theories anyway, will help drive housing prices down towards affordability.
Alas, as another plank in their housing platform, the Conservatives have simultaneously built a loophole into this grand scheme: let us have no more local eyesores, new additions to neighbourhood housing must beautify, not revolt.
Councils will be allowed to judge these housing beauty contests. Yea or Nay? Who will these local governments inevitably consult in order to help establish standards of neighbourhood beauty? Who else but NIMBYites? Give a dog a bone!
All in all, critics are not amused.
Read more in the INDEPENDENT: Homeowners Will Be Allowed To Add Two Storeys To Houses Without Asking Neighbours, Housing Minister Announces