Existing Housing Stock.

The houses in Ardoyne are small two bedroom houses. They have long front gardens, but limited free space to the rear.  The stair rises steeply from the front hall, and concludes in the middle of the first floor.

The plan is compact and economical. The typical floor area of an unaltered house in 56 sq.m.

With a two storey extension to the rear this typically increases to 70 square metres. 

It should be remembered that social housing standards recommend  65 sq.m for a 3 person 2 bedroom apartment.  Fully extended these house are well below the requirements for social housing. They are also below the standards laid out in the amendum to PPS7 (below).

1-Person bedsit.
1 person/ 1-bedroom
2 person/ 1-bedroom
3 person/ 2-bedroom
  60/65 70/75
4 person/ 2-bedroom 70/75  75/80  
4 person/ 3-bedroom
 75/80  80/85  
5 person/ 3-bedroom
 80/85  90/95  95/100
6 person/ 3-bedroom
 85/90  95/100  100/105
6 person/ 4-bedroom
 90/95  100/105  105/110
7 person/ 4-bedroom  105/110  115/120  115/120

The roof space is also of limited size. Many of the ridge to  ceiling joist heights are in the region of 1600mm – 1700mm.    (5ft 6 inches to 6 feet).

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Typical House with loft conversion.

For a family with several teenage sons, and/or daughters, the demand for additional space is understandable. The families have nowhere else to extend, and because their incomes are typically low they cannot afford to buy a larger house. These houses are what they can afford, and these extensions are what they can afford to do.

 It is alleged that certain builders have been advising owners that planning permission is not required, and given that until recently the Planning Service has not seen fit to enforce any breaches it is understandable that many believed what they were being told. Indeed the builders may themselves have believed what they were saying as this problem has been building for over a decade. 

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