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Ban on open-plan housing ‘not suited to Asian cultural needs’
From The London Evening Standard
I'm not keen on open plan myself but everybody I know who is in such a flat took it because even if they didn't have minimalist airy taste the alternative, aka the street, was not to be contemplated.
A Town Hall is poised to ban open-plan design in new housing developments because it is unpopular with Asian families.
A six-month investigation by Tower Hamlets found affordable units in the borough — aimed at key workers and people on low incomes — were vacant. But there are more than 22,000 people on its housing waiting lists.
The council believes this is because many families, particularly those of Asian origin, are not interested in homes with a combined kitchen and living space. A report on the problem says: “Separate provision would be much more suited because the [Asian] lifestyle requires separate seating space for male and female visitors and also the type of food cooked, heavy in oil and spices, which can have strong odours.”
Despite the borough's large Asian community — almost 37 per cent of the population, according to the latest census — only 12 per cent of the open-plan units were sold to Asian buyers. Almost 70 per cent of those sold recently have gone to white people.
Tower Hamlets is now set to alter its planning guidance to specify the need for separate rooms in all new developments.
So these are not even council flats. The council is dictating that builders must build specifically to the preference of Asian (read Muslim) buyers, not the indigenous population or any other target customer.
Waiseul Islam, chairman of the council's group on affordable home ownership, said: “Overcrowding and the demand for social housing have continued to rise locally, and shared-ownership schemes designed to assist people into home ownership haven't been as successful as anticipated.”
The council group reported anecdotal evidence that shared-ownership flats were empty. The report concluded: “In all planning pre-applications meetings officers do try to influence the design of affordable housing units, and stress that there should be separate kitchen areas in family-sized units.”
So stack-a-prole units are fine when the proles are white or even black but not Asian. This comment is pertinent.
Is the proportionally low number of purchases of shared ownership properties for sale in Tower Hamlets from the Asian community there explained by the disproportionately high proportion of the same community living in state subsidised social rented housing within the same borough ?