Having been alerted to something going on by the increasing number of hits to my blog entry Crap flats and back to backs I’ve just done a quick web search and lo and behold work started on site in March. I’m six months late with the news but I don’t live in London or skim all my entries for updates.

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UPDATE: This project started on site in March 2013

Below is the rendering of the intended scheme from the Building Magazine article.

Hounslow council has approved a £100m scheme to regenerate a derelict 1.85ha site in Brentford, which has lain empty for 20 years.

19th May 2011 – Carlton have submitted revised plans for a 200 new homes development on the Alfa Laval site in Brentford.

Designs by Assael Architecture for a mixed-use scheme on the former Alfa Laval site in the heart of Brentford have received planning permission.


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UPDATE: 22/9/11 Now this from the RIBA and their excellent Case for Space publication

8 sqm is the single bedroom you’re missing. It’s the space for a new arrival to the family, the space that means the kids have a room of their own or a spare room for a guest to stay over. It’s the space that could take the kitchen out of the lounge and the sounds and smells that go with it.


Building Design magazine ran a story recently about a new development in Roehampton (South West London) by Assael architects for some flats.  I phoned Wandsworth council to try and find out more and this is what I discovered.


Type in the planning reference 2009/4199

Land at Highcliffe Drive, Clarence Lane SW15

No single aspect flats that I could see from a cursory glance but no kitchens either.  The kitchen seems to be a vanishing room in modern developments and in this development appears only as a corner unit in the living rooms. No view from the sink, no isolation of smells from the living room.  Too bad if you’re boiling cabbage or cooking curry.

I’d like to say that I don’t understand why modern developments have done away with separate kitchens but the sadness is that I do understand and I don’t like it.  If you look back at the history of housing from year dot through to the present there was no doubt a time when families shared a kitchen as in tenement blocks, or all lived in one room where the range provided the warmth, and variations on that theme.

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During the 1940s my late Father studied architecture at the South East Essex Technical College in Longbridge Road Barking, later to become the Barking Campus of the University of East London and then sold in 2006 for housing.  “Academy Central” developed by Taylor Wimpey has preserved the main building and put housing on the surrounding land as advertised at their website here

Living space

I had a quick look at the plan for a two bedroom flat and noted immediately that it is corridor access single aspect.  The kitchen, bathroom and ensuite shower are all internal having no natural light.  The provision of two bathrooms and toilets in a space intended at most for two adults and two children, and more likely a couple with a guest room, seems excessive and takes useful space away from the master bedroom.  There is a stub wall only between the kitchen and living space and no dining room.


Cooking smells will accumulate in the living room, unless some form of extraction is present (not immediately obvious from the plan).  Through ventilation is not possible without opening the door to the corridor which will compromise security and provide an opportunity for a young child to run out into semi-public space.

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This used to be a long article about back to backs and tuberculosis. I shortened it because most of the TB in the UK arrives from other countries.

While it’s true that Victorian housing conditions and lack of ventilation exacerbated health problems, in the UK in the C21st the vast majority of tuberculosis is brought in from outside the country by people from developing countries.

“These individuals account for nearly three-quarters of all tuberculosis notifications in the UK with an incidence that is 20 times higher than in UK-born individuals”