The government is set to consider making all new homes accessible for disabled and elderly buyers, as part of its Affordable Homes Programme. This comes via Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick and a government announcement.
The statement read: “We are consulting on views on how to raise accessible housing standards further, including the option to raise this minimum standard for all new homes.”
It added that new required features would include: a living area at entrance level, step-free access to all entrance-level rooms and facilities, wider doorways and corridors, as well as clear access routes to reach windows.
“It would also include further features to make homes more easily adaptable over time to a wide range of occupants,” the statement continued, “including older people, those with reduced mobility and some wheelchair users, for example sanitary provisions that can be adapted easily for installation of grab rails and stairs designed to allow easy fit of a stair lift.”
This comes as the latest English Housing Survey revealed that only 9% of housing stock in England have key accessibility features to deem them ‘visitable’ for a disabled person.
Meanwhile, accessible housing specialist Habinteg CEO, Sheron Carter, commented: “We are very pleased that the government have launched the long-awaited consultation on the accessibility of new homes. Habinteg has been campaigning on this topic for a long time and we are really glad the government has now listened to disabled people and is taking action on this vital issue.
“This consultation is a critical opportunity to kick start a new age for accessible homes which will be widely welcomed by disabled and older people. We are eager to seeing the detail of the consultation and we will strongly recommend that the accessible and adaptable standard set down in Building Regulations M4 (Category 2) be established as the regulatory baseline for all new homes.
“We look forward to engaging with the consultation process and strongly encourage all individuals and organisations that care about housing accessibility to join us in doing so.”