Government proposals to reform the country’s planning system and deliver high quality, sustainable homes, ‘entirely ignore’ the needs of an ageing population, the body representing the retirement community sector has said.
Responding to the planning white paper, Michael Vogues, executive director of ARCO, said the needs of older people do not feature in the plan.
The government said the “landmark changes” will transform a system that has long been criticised for being too sluggish in providing housing for families, key workers and young people and too ineffectual in obligating developers to properly fund the infrastructure to support them.
“These proposals entirely ignore the housing and potential care needs of 12 million older people. We call on the Government to give this issue urgent attention through specific policy commitments,” said Vogues.
“The greatest housing shortage the UK faces is of older people’s housing with care and we are falling further behind other countries. Older people do not have enough good options to downsize to where they can have peace of mind that their health and care needs will be met.”
Housing Association Habinteg agrees that the planning white paper must be underpinned by a “national commitment” to housing design standards that deliver accessibility and adaptability in order to meet the needs of older and disabled people.
Director of Strategy and External Affairs, Nick Bungay said: “It is not enough to assess the equality of access to review planning applications in broad terms, we must evaluate what the overall impact of reforms will be on the likely quality and design of homes that get built.
“There is little point in having a home that is deemed to be ‘beautiful’ if its practical usage by future occupants is limited. Similarly the sustainability and environmental impact of a home cannot be maximised unless the need for future adaptations is also minimised and designed for from the outset.
“So while we welcome the overall aim of speeding up delivery of new homes we would like to see much more detail on how the new system would promote and safeguard their quality and long term sustainability.”