Housing plans risk ‘accessible homes crisis’

New research has revealed that less than a quarter of homes built outside London by 2030 will be suitable for older and disabled people, representing an ‘accessible homes crisis’.

The Habinteg Housing Association has carried out analysis of 322 local planning policies, leading to warnings over an imminent crisis in the supply of all types of accessible homes. It found that only 23 per cent of new homes due to be built by 2030 outside of London are planned to be accessible, negatively impacting on the health and independence of older and disabled people.

Additionally, just one per cent of homes outside London are set to be suitable for wheelchair users despite 1.2 million wheelchair users in the UK and a rapidly ageing population.

By 2030 there will only be one accessible new home built for every 270 people in the West Midlands, one accessible new home for every 52 people in the East of England, and one accessible new home for every 24 people in London. Tis is creating ‘a postcode lottery in the supply of new accessible and adaptable homes’.

Therefore, the Habinteg Housing Association is calling on the government to change national policy so that all new homes are built to be more accessible and adaptable, as they are in London.

Sheron Carter, Habinteg’s chief executive, said: “We would encourage national government to take a more strategic approach to accessible homes delivery. The optional approach is not only putting older and disabled people’s health and independence at risk but creating costly housing problems for the future. While the government has stated their ambition for getting more disabled people into work, our research shows that this will fail unless the housing crisis for disabled people is urgently tackled. We strongly urge the government to raise the mandatory baseline standard for accessible homes.”

Martin Tett, Local Government Association housing spokesman, said: “Housing is critical to the wellbeing of individuals, and well-designed accessible homes are needed to meet the housing needs of our ageing population. Councils want to ensure the right homes are built in the right places but currently don’t have the powers or funding to build the homes that are desperately needed.

“We believe that new homes should be accessible or easily adaptable for people of all generations and needs, and it is vital the government ensures national rules incentivise the building of accessible homes. Furthermore, it is crucial to acknowledge that the majority of people will live in existing housing. The government needs to continue to invest in supporting the adaptation of homes to meet the needs of people as their circumstances change.”

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