William Eichler 18 November 2020

Charity calls for new standards for accessible housing

Charity calls for new standards for accessible housing image

A charity for elderly people is calling for national building standards to be raised to be ‘accessible and adaptable’ as a minimum baseline as a new survey reveals there is a shortage of accessible housing.

A survey by the Centre for Ageing Better, which received responses from 32 councils in England, found that 97% said their need for accessible homes will increase in the next 10 years, with a quarter already describing their need as severe.

The biggest barrier to securing accessibility of new homes is arguments over viability (79%), the poll respondents said, followed by challenges from developers to policies with higher accessibility standards (48%).

Local authorities set out plans of how many accessible homes are needed, once they can demonstrate demand in the area. However, via viability assessments, developers can argue that accessible housing is prohibitively expensive, and negotiate that homes are built to the lowest allowable standards.

According to the latest English Housing Survey, 91% of homes do not provide even the lowest level of accessibility, leaving fewer than one in 10 homes suitable for older or disabled people to visit, never mind live in.

The Centre for Ageing Better, as part of the Housing Made for Everyone (HoME) coalition, is calling for national building standards to be raised to be ‘accessible and adaptable’ as a minimum baseline.

If ‘accessible and adaptable’ homes become the new minimum standard then this will create a level playing field as all home builders will be factoring in the same costs and buying land with the same assumptions.

Only 21% of the councils responding to the survey said that they would be able to deliver the number of accessible homes needed without changes to national policy. The charity emphasises that this is particularly problematic in the face of an ageing population.

Henry Smith, senior programme manager for homes, Centre for Ageing Better, commented: ‘The need for accessible and adaptable homes is urgent and growing larger all the time. The problem is that our homes are currently designed with only the first users in mind, not the dozens of households and individuals who will use it across its lifespan.

‘The Government must act now to make sure that the homes we build now are fit for the future. Accessible housing will improve the health and wellbeing of millions of people, allowing us to remain independent and in our own homes for longer. This consultation offers a real opportunity to improve the lives of older and disabled people now and for generations to come.’

Has Grenfell ground to a halt? image

Has Grenfell ground to a halt?

Adam Jurka looks at why buildings with dangerous cladding should follow NFCC guidance and move over to safer and more permanent interim measures to protect residents from fire.
SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Service Director – Children’s Health & Wellbeing

Wakefield Council
Competitive Salary
This is an exciting opportunity to play a new pivotal role in improving outcomes for children that will make a real and positive difference through... Wakefield, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Wakefield Council

Senior Practitioner - Family Support and Protection

Essex County Council
Negotiable
Senior Practitioner - Family Support and ProtectionPermanent, Full Time£39,168 to £47,405 per annumLocation
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Early Help Social Worker (Maternity Cover)

Barnet London Borough Council
£39,867 - £44,790 Per Annum
This post requires a Social Work qualification and relevant experience at a senior practitioner level. Barnet (City/Town), London (Greater)
Recuriter: Barnet London Borough Council

THRIVE Keeping in Touch Practitioner

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£28,452 - £34,479 per annum
Are you looking for a role where you can make a meaningful change in its local community? London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Head of Heating Services

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£48,819 to £62,247 per annum
Have you an excellent knowledge of complex communal, domestic and alternative energy systems? London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue