Is the bungalow dream at an end?
What a difference half a century makes. In the years after the Second World War, bungalows were being built by the thousands to house people whose homes had been destroyed in the Blitz.
From being a quick-fix, post-war way to put a roof over people’s heads, the bungalow now seems to be on the property blacklist.
That these homes fulfil a vital function, especially for the elderly, is beyond dispute. And while the number of bungalows being built is diminishing, our ageing population is on the rise. In 2012, the number of people in the UK aged over 80 was three million; by 2037 that figure will have doubled to 6.1 million.
Time, you would think, for the Government to be announcing a programme of mass bungalowbuilding. Instead, the opposite is happening. “There have been virtually no bungalows built in new housing schemes here for more than 20 years,” says Michael Dukes, agency partner at Greenslade Taylor Hunt, which covers Somerset, Devon and Dorset. “It’s unlikely this will change unless there are strong landscape or townscape reasons to do so.”
Far from using land to build single-floor residences with gardens, developers are more interested in erecting lucrative three- or four-floor houses, and blocks of flats.
“We have people constantly asking for bungalows,” says estate agent Paul Preen of Lang Town and Country, in the Plymouth suburbs.
“In my area, there is planning approval for around 8,000 properties, none of which, I think, will be bungalows.”
At the other end of the country, the same story applies. “We have one or two bungalows on the books, but they are in relatively short supply,” says Will Tod of Hayward Tod estate agents in Cumbria. “New-house builders are under pressure to make money and make land viable, so they see no value in wasting the land on a bungalow when they can put two or three smaller houses on the plot, or indeed one large house,” he says.
As for bungalows nearer the capital, these come at roughly twice the price of those in more outlying areas.
“I can only think of a couple of bungalows built in Weybridge over the past 10 years or so,” says Steven Woodroffe, a partner at Martin Flashman estate agents. “And they were probably only built due to planning restrictions, otherwise the builder would have built a house.”
The word “bungalow” first entered the English language 320 years ago and referred to a single-floor house, built in the Bengal style. Tanya Bedford from Marchand Petit believes that the bungalow should be cherished. “No need to sound the A modernised, three-bedroom bungalow in New Forest National Park
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Grounded: The Pavilion (yet to be built) for sale with Strutt & Parker (01865 366660) main; interior of Millsford Lodge, above