Family Sized Units

MQT on 2009-02-25
Session date: 
February 25, 2009
Question By: 
Andrew Boff
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


To what extent does the mayor think that the demographic shift towards smaller households is as a result of the shortage of family sized properties.

Please could the Mayor make available the data used by the LDA in relation to the Barrier Park East development on socially rented demand in Newham that justify the LDA's position that "The percentage of one and two bedroom units on this scheme reflect local needs".


Answer for Family Sized Units

Answer for Family Sized Units

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Thanks, Andrew . You are asking, as usual, a very, very interesting thoughtful question, 'To what extent do I think the demographic shift towards smaller households is a result of the shortage of family sized property?' It is very interesting. I think there are lots of other factors at work and I think that family breakdown, people's desire to live on their own, people living longer -- there are all sorts of reasons why households have been shrinking like an arm, a leg, a torso every few years. They are getting smaller, there is no question.

It may also be that it is a function of the smaller units that we have been building over the last few years and people's difficulty of getting enough room to breathe let alone to breed. That is something that I think we should be addressing.

Andrew Boff (AM): Would you possibly get whichever agency - possibly the LDA because they are the ones who look like they need to be most enlightened - to do some research in this? It is a self-fulfilling justification from the LDA specifically with regard, in this question, to Barrier Park East but this could apply to many developments around London where they use the justification of smaller family sizes to build more and more one and two bedroom flats when actually what they should have been doing in the first place is addressing the more serious problems of overcrowding in especially socially rented accommodation which has resulted in young people having to leave home.

We have had a lot of talk over the past few years about extended families, how they are to be encouraged, how we should be bolstering the family unit and how we should be encouraging people to live together and yet we do not provide the right size properties for that to actually happen in London. I would ask that the LDA at least does some research before coming forward with some basically ridiculous justification for spending valuable housing money on perpetuating this glut of one and two bedroom properties that we are seeing specifically in relation to socially rented accommodation.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Andrew, you campaigned on this consistently. I cannot comment in detail on the scheme you raise in particular. I think you are right. I think I would like to see some research and I would like to see some argumentation about what LDA priorities are in this matter and I will certainly see what I can provide for you.

Andrew Boff (AM): Thank you very much, Mr Mayor.