Local authorities fail to prioritise housing for elderly

Carl Dyer

Two-thirds of local authorities are failing to prioritise housing for older people in their planning policies, according to national law firm Irwin Mitchell.

The law firm said less than 10% of local authorities had both an elderly persons’ housing planning policy and allocated development sites for such housing.

Partner Carl Dyer said: “Too many councils simply are not making adequate provision in their local plans for the provision of retirement housing or for care homes.”

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Irwin Mitchell graded 329 local authorities from A to D on their provisions for housing for the elderly as below:

Grade A: clear policies indicating details of the required number of dwellings/care home beds, how this will be achieved and specific site allocations given;

Grade B: a clear policy as above but no land or site allocations;

Grade C: site allocations given, but no clear elderly policy; and

Grade D: neither  –  with policy (at the most) confined to generalisations such as “we will make provision for housing all types of people including the elderly and the disabled”.

Only 32 (9.7%) were graded A, 72 (22%) were graded B, 22 (6.7%)  were graded C and 203 (62%) were Graded D.

Geographically, local authorities graded A were fairly evenly spread, although a little more clustered in the South and Midlands than in the far North of England. Most were found in urban rather than rural districts. There was little correlation between elderly housing need and a explicit planning policy.

Carl commented: ”The fact that 203 out of 329 local authorities are a category D, with no clear elderly accommodation policy or site allocation is shocking and evidence of the appalling failure of local planning authorities to plan for a demographic shift which is not only foreseeable, but which has been foreseen and commented on.

“There are now 11.6 million people in the UK aged 65 or over and the number of people aged 60 or over is expected to pass 20 million by 2030. There are over 500,000 people aged 90 or over; and 14,570 aged 100 and over.

“The number of people with dementia in the UK is expected to hit 1 million by 2025 and 2 million by 2051. Our population is ageing. This is well known and well documented -a phenomenon happening slowly and over an extended time period. It is exactly the sort of change which our planning system should be able to anticipate and plan for; but that is simply not happening.”

Two-thirds of local authorities are failing to prioritise housing for older people in their planning policies, according to national law firm Irwin Mitchell.

The law firm said less than 10% of local authorities had both an elderly persons’ housing planning policy and allocated development sites for such housing.

Partner Carl Dyer said: “Too many councils simply are not making adequate provision in their local plans for the provision of retirement housing or for care homes.”

Irwin Mitchell graded 329 local authorities from A to D on their provisions for housing for the elderly as below:

Grade A: clear policies indicating details of the required number of dwellings/care home beds, how this will be achieved and specific site allocations given;

Grade B: a clear policy as above but no land or site allocations;

Grade C: site allocations given, but no clear elderly policy; and

Grade D: neither  –  with policy (at the most) confined to generalisations such as “we will make provision for housing all types of people including the elderly and the disabled”.

Only 32 (9.7%) were graded A, 72 (22%) were graded B, 22 (6.7%)  were graded C and 203 (62%) were Graded D.

Geographically, local authorities graded A were fairly evenly spread, although a little more clustered in the South and Midlands than in the far North of England. Most were found in urban rather than rural districts. There was little correlation between elderly housing need and a explicit planning policy.

Carl commented: ”The fact that 203 out of 329 local authorities are a category D, with no clear elderly accommodation policy or site allocation is shocking and evidence of the appalling failure of local planning authorities to plan for a demographic shift which is not only foreseeable, but which has been foreseen and commented on.

“There are now 11.6 million people in the UK aged 65 or over and the number of people aged 60 or over is expected to pass 20 million by 2030. There are over 500,000 people aged 90 or over; and 14,570 aged 100 and over.

“The number of people with dementia in the UK is expected to hit 1 million by 2025 and 2 million by 2051. Our population is ageing. This is well known and well documented -a phenomenon happening slowly and over an extended time period. It is exactly the sort of change which our planning system should be able to anticipate and plan for; but that is simply not happening.”

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