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Civic society airs 'rabbit hutch' concerns over plan to convert offices into flats

Planned flats which would be converted from office blocks are in danger of being the size of a ‘rabbit hutch’, claims the Maidenhead Civic Society.

Developer KAMES Capital has applied to turn unwanted office space at Liberty House and Moorbridge Court, in Moorbridge Road, into a series of one and two-bedroom flats and studios.

However, the society is wary of new dwellings falling below the national standard in size.

Currently, this stands at 50 square metres for one-bed, two-person flats and 70 square metres for two bed flats.

Martin McNamee, chairman of planning at the society, says a number of the proposed flats fail to meet these requirements.

“We have no problem with converting excess office space however we object to the practice of permitting such conversions to include undersized living spaces,” he said.

“In the longer term we are going to have sub-standard rabbit hutches. The borough should be standing up to it and saying ‘you can develop office blocks but they have got to be an adequate size’.

“[Moorbridge Court] is the worst example to date.

“The vast majority of the 21 one-bedroom, two-person flats are below the Nationally Described Space Standard of 50 square metres. Flat B3 is only 36 square metres in size, but the worst example is Flat C7 which is an exceptional 30 square metres – only 60 per cent of the required space for acceptable living.”

KAME Capital said in a statement: “We’re pleased that Maidenhead Civic Society supports the reuse of the buildings for the provision of new housing.

“The size and configuration of the units have been designed to accommodate the existing building envelope whilst meeting a recognised demand in the marketplace at an affordable price for prospective purchasers.”

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