Report highlights planning role in housing for older people

Improving the handling of planning applications for specialist housing schemes is ‘fundamental’ to improving the lives of older people, a report has concluded.

Report recommends use of section 106 cash to improve neighbourhoods with older people in mind
Report recommends use of section 106 cash to improve neighbourhoods with older people in mind

The report, Strategic Housing for Older People by the Housing Learning & Improvement Network (Housing LIN) and the Association of Adult Social Services, says planners are often confused about the nature of extra care housing and other supported accommodation – often regarding such schemes as care homes.

It also claims many housing need surveys fail to take account of the needs and aspirations of local older people.

Among a raft of suggestions the report recommends:

 - Improved communication between planners and health and social care organisations to increase awareness of the different forms of supported housing now available;

 - Increased recognition of how such housing can play a role in community regeneration;

 - The use of section 106 planning gain money to boost the supply of specialist housing and create neighbourhoods that meet the needs of older people (such as appropriate street furniture and good and well-maintained street lighting);

LIN director of the housing Jeremy Porteus said: "Both existing national guidance and the high-profile draft guidance require planning policy to take account of our rapidly ageing population. However the current frustrating obstacles cannot be laid solely at the door of planning officers or even their local authority housing colleagues.

"Social care and NHS commissioners and providers should be meeting with their planning counterparts to explore and explain the range of innovative but under-developed specialist housing options that can meet the needs of increasing numbers of older people who want to live independently in the community."

Strategic Housing for Older People can be read here.

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