Homes for older Londoners: Building healthy homes for a comfortable and independent retirement

A report issued by the London Assembly Housing Committee has found that the planning system often acts as a barrier to providing homes for older people.

The report states that the Mayor should lobby Government for changes to Planning Use Classes that will remove retirement housing from being treated in the same way as conventional housing in terms of liability for financial contributions. This might involve considering changes that would incentivise low- to mid-value market retirement homes – for example by exempting the communal floor area from a range of planning obligations.

The report adds that retirement housing receives no special treatment from the planning system. While it carries additional costs, it attracts the same financial obligations as mainstream housing, including payments to Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) and section 106 obligations.

The report further adds that London Plan policy and housing design guidance outline the specific needs for older peoples’ housing and specify how new supply can be delivered by the planning system. The London Plan promotes "lifetime neighbourhoods" and "lifetime housing", which help older people remain in their communities without having to move to specialist housing.

The report also states that planning departments in local authorities recognise and take into account the future demographic make-up of their communities. Their Local Development Plans therefore should aim to create the widest choice of housing suitable for older people, and help to develop environments that work for older people. 

Date: November 2013 Date of publication

Author: London Assembly

DCP link: This item updates DCP section 7.231

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