Town Planning Review

Planning, regulation and space standards in England: from ‘homes for heroes’ to ‘slums of the future’

Town Planning Review (2021), 92, (5), 537–560.


The regulation of housing quality has a long history in England. As the state itself increasingly became a housing developer in the twentieth century, design standards were subject to self-regulation. Through this, the idea that housing quality includes minimum dwelling sizes - space standards - has entered public consciousness. The 2010-2015 coalition government introduced suggested space standards through planning control, but also extended the range of ‘permitted development’ - a form of deregulation - where space standards could not be applied. In this paper we explore the history of space standards in England and what these tell us about planning regulation.

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Author details

Clifford, Ben

Ferm, Jessica