Report recommends use class changes to boost retirement housing provision

Policy makers should consider creating a separate use class for retirement housing which would allow flexibility in how councils approach the payment of the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) development tariff which would normally be required for such schemes, a report has suggested.

Retirement housing: ageing population will stoke demand
Retirement housing: ageing population will stoke demand

The Retirement Housing report, by property firm Knight Frank, says that retirement housing makes up only 2.8 per cent of all new homes currently under construction in the UK.

It says that with the over 65s making up nearly 23 per cent of the national population in the next 20 years, the lack of supply "will compound a significant structural shortfall in purpose-built retirement homes".

The report says that, currently, residential care homes benefit from their ‘C2’ classification under the Use Class Order "which means that developers do not have any obligations to provide affordable housing".

"There is also leeway for local authorities to decide how to approach the payment of the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) for these developments", the report says.

But the report says that some retirement housing currently falls under the class of C3 – in with general housing.

"As a result, developers must make the development finance add up when the affordable housing requirements are added into the mix. CIL payments are also mandatory if the council have adopted a charging schedule for C3 users, which can be challenging".

The report says that to remedy this, one option would be for "a separate planning use class for retirement housing, which may leave the way open for some reliefs or even waivers of CIL on a case by case basis, much like the schemes which fall under the C2 planning class.

"This would allow councils to differentiate in their CIL charging schedule between housing and retirement housing".

The report says that given that the Use Classes Order is in some instances over 25 years old, "it is probably time that it is refreshed to reflect the challenges that today’s property market faces".

Elsewhere, the report says that "room should be made", within the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), for local authorities "to outline how they intend to provide housing for the older populations in their areas over the coming decades".

Speaking last month at the Planning for Housing conference, the government’s chief planner Steve Quartermain, said that that tackling councils' failure to plan for an ageing population is "an issue we need to address".

Also last month, a report into the future of care homes recommended that CIL should be reviewed to ensure residential care providers are not being "disproportionately disadvantaged".

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