Magazine article The Spectator

Banned Wagon

Magazine article The Spectator

Banned Wagon

Article excerpt

OF all the horrors in this world, the doorstep, you might imagine, would rate pretty low on the list. But not so. Under Section M of the building regulations, doorsteps are now illegal. If Nash were putting up his terraces in Regent's Park today, he would receive a visit from the heavies at Westminster and Camden councils and be ordered to replace his grand wrought-iron entrances with concrete ramps.

The ban on doorsteps on main entrances to new houses, initiated by the last government, is a response to lobbying from disabled groups and, although well-intentioned, it has caused havoc with architecture. It has also raised the risk of flooding. A doorstep presents a solid barrier to a torrent of water rushing down a street, whereas a ramp allows water to run up it. As a result, it has become necessary for builders to put in complex drainage systems at the foot of ramps - adding hundreds of pounds to the cost of new homes - when a temporary wooden ramp is all that is needed to provide access for the disabled where required. …

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