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Horridbloke

Repairing The Damage

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Since the mid-nineties the housing stock of my town has changed a lot. Lots of formerly nice houses have been carved up into flats, often packing too many extremely rubbish flats into the brick shell.

The theory of course was that by providing lots of "starter homes" (1 or 2 bedroom low-end druggie squats) a developer could become extremely rich. Many of them did indeed become rich. It has however resulted in a huge number of overpriced rubbish wage slave boxes that nobody in their right mind would buy. This was ideal when most people weren't in their right mind, however what happens to the town when mindsets and price return to relative sanity and all the archetypical FTB young couples decide they'd rather buy something they could actually bring up a family in?

I'm not a housing expert but it seems to me that once a house has been converted into flats and those leaseholds flogged off it would be next door to impossible to undo the process - the damage is permanent.

(New-builds aren't such a problem because the building will only be around for several decades.)

Thoughts?

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Since the mid-nineties the housing stock of my town has changed a lot. Lots of formerly nice houses have been carved up into flats, often packing too many extremely rubbish flats into the brick shell.

The theory of course was that by providing lots of "starter homes" (1 or 2 bedroom low-end druggie squats) a developer could become extremely rich. Many of them did indeed become rich. It has however resulted in a huge number of overpriced rubbish wage slave boxes that nobody in their right mind would buy. This was ideal when most people weren't in their right mind, however what happens to the town when mindsets and price return to relative sanity and all the archetypical FTB young couples decide they'd rather buy something they could actually bring up a family in?

I'm not a housing expert but it seems to me that once a house has been converted into flats and those leaseholds flogged off it would be next door to impossible to undo the process - the damage is permanent.

(New-builds aren't such a problem because the building will only be around for several decades.)

Thoughts?

Not at all - I have a colleague who murdered a victorian this way - couldn't sell the flats, so had it converted back to a house and managed to sell it a year or two ago breaking about even after all the costs.

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Since the mid-nineties the housing stock of my town has changed a lot. Lots of formerly nice houses have been carved up into flats, often packing too many extremely rubbish flats into the brick shell.

The theory of course was that by providing lots of "starter homes" (1 or 2 bedroom low-end druggie squats) a developer could become extremely rich. Many of them did indeed become rich. It has however resulted in a huge number of overpriced rubbish wage slave boxes that nobody in their right mind would buy. This was ideal when most people weren't in their right mind, however what happens to the town when mindsets and price return to relative sanity and all the archetypical FTB young couples decide they'd rather buy something they could actually bring up a family in?

I'm not a housing expert but it seems to me that once a house has been converted into flats and those leaseholds flogged off it would be next door to impossible to undo the process - the damage is permanent.

(New-builds aren't such a problem because the building will only be around for several decades.)

Thoughts?

The bigger problem is selling off the backgarden for 'brownfield re-development'.

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Not at all - I have a colleague who murdered a victorian this way - couldn't sell the flats, so had it converted back to a house and managed to sell it a year or two ago breaking about even after all the costs.

Had he sold any of the flats at all? If not then I could understand it working, though I shudder to think of the conversion costs involved.

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A couple I know who've split up and are in negative equity are having the house converted into a flat each. Their new partners must be thrilled.

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The bigger problem is selling off the backgarden for 'brownfield re-development'.

Agree with that. A misguided, misinterpreted policy. One of Prescott's, enough said.

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Sorry folks. I thought I'd come up with an interesting and reasonably different subject there, but obviously not. I hereby apologise to the forum and its members for polluting it with guff. :(

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Had he sold any of the flats at all? If not then I could understand it working, though I shudder to think of the conversion costs involved.

No - none sold. Obviously that would have made things a lot harder.

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OK, to depart from HPC orthodoxy ...

As a single, I don't want lots of bedrooms. But I do like space around me. The only kind of place in the UK meeting that kind of spec is a flat, converted from a large building, victorian or older.

Anything modern - piddling little rooms. A 30' through-room is just soul-destroying if it's an L-shaped beastie with low ceiling, flimsy walls and no open space.

Old cottage or lower-end victorian terrace - ditto.

Whole big house - way too big, expensive, etc. WTF would I do with 6 bedrooms and 4 receptions?

I once lived in a 1-bed flat of about 190 sq m. It suited me nicely.

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Guest Parry aka GOD
Agree with that. A misguided, misinterpreted policy. One of Prescott's, enough said.

Yep, was a get out clause after the 60% rule. The costs of reclamation/regen can be uneconomic if purely development driven.

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Guest Parry aka GOD
Sorry folks. I thought I'd come up with an interesting and reasonably different subject there, but obviously not. I hereby apologise to the forum and its members for polluting it with guff. :(

Not at all. Good subject.

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Where I live on the Kent/London border, this kind of 'disease' is epidemic. The town has a direct route into London at it's heart, is relatively leafy and attractive and this has left it popular with commuters. The vast majority of the housing stock would have been 19thcen. to mid 20th century, lovely tree-lined avenues in the 'burbs and older townhouses in the centre.

Now, of that existing housing:

The townhouses have almost all been split up into flats; unattractive, pokey flats in the main.

The (attracticce) semi/semi-detatched housing is 80% gone, in it's place (and I'm sure you're way ahead of me) are the inevitable slave-blox. Juliet-balconied and flimsy plasterboard, brick cube monstrosities; gardens given over to carparks and freeholds to leaseholds.

It is f**ing tragic and looks practically irreversable.

As an aside, it's taken us seven years to find a flat here that doesn't depress the ****** out of us! We now live in a sixties development of flats that actually had an architect involved in the planning. The build quality is still poor, but the flats themselves are great. I would consider buying one but for the fact I would never buy a leasehold.

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Agree with that. A misguided, misinterpreted policy. One of Prescott's, enough said.

Well my interpretation was to develop former inner city industrial sites. Reality: destroying perfectly good detached houses with extended gardens.

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Guest Parry aka GOD
Well my interpretation was to develop former inner city industrial sites. Reality: destroying perfectly good detached houses with extended gardens.

if you add Prescott's 'Pathfinder' initiative into the mix, all makes sense.

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190sqm?! - that is 2.5 times the size of the average new build...

Yep. Add the high ceilings, and you could fit a wimpeybarrett 4-bed detached into just my sitting room there. And my flat was the smallest of four in a converted coach house, at least 400 years old.

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No - none sold. Obviously that would have made things a lot harder.

Thanks for the clarification.

It all sounds wonderfully farcical. How come he didn't manage to sell any of them?

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