Could roof terraces be the new back garden?

The Government has recently warned that the density of housing development in the urban areas of England must increase and land should be used ‘more efficiently’. However, it is difficult to see how changes can be incorporated when many homeowners desire plenty of outdoor space, as well as somewhere for the kids to play.

With space at a premium, and not just in cities, where would this green space come from?  Perhaps it is time to re-think the concept of ‘outdoor space’ and consider moving the traditional garden space to the roof, with the added benefit of all-day sunshine and a view.  The addition of artificial grass and timber decking would reduce the maintenance of a traditional garden space, although some might be concerned about the safety of playing children.

The housing minister, Gavin Barwell, has brought the new development of Kidbrooke Village in Greenwich, London to the attention of MPs. The homes are described by builders, Berkeley Homes, as ‘Urban Houses’, and they are considered to be suitable for first time homebuyers and families as well as those considering downsizing.  While each of the homes has its own roof terrace, the price tag of £880,000 might be beyond the reach of many first time homebuyers.

Kidbrooke’s Urban Houses are modelled on the traditional ‘back to back’ terraced houses, many of which are long since demolished, being considered slums.  The design has enabled the housebuilder to build twice the homes it would otherwise be able to build on the site.

The housebuilder has made assurances that the roof terraces are perfectly safe for children to play on, although with glass balustrades and fencing it might not be a good idea to erect football goalposts or a trampoline. Weight restrictions might also constrain the planting scheme.

While all this might put some buyers off, nearly all of the houses are occupied and more are now being built.

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