Conservatives 2015: Lewis calls on builders to design homes for active older people

The housing and planning minister has challenged the housebuilding industry to design and market a product that active older people will want to move to.

Retirement homes: minister wants developers to deliver more
Retirement homes: minister wants developers to deliver more

Brandon Lewis told a Conservative Party conference fringe session hosted by think-tank Respublica that "we do need to do more to create a better product for older people". "We haven't quite cracked it in this country," the minister said.

Lewis told the fringe session that there is currently a gap in the market for products for active older people.

He said: "My dad is 73, he goes to the gym every day, he runs his own business, when I go home and say I've found a nice McCarthy & Stone place for you, I'll get a two word answer. He's got the home that he's worked for, and he's bought. There's not a product out there that makes him have a positive reason to say, 'I want to move to that'."

Lewis added: "Government is going to struggle to do this. It's got to be up to the industry to understand what is the product that makes my parents - and potentially everybody else's in the room - say, 'I want to move to that'. We have got to do more work on that, and I will be doing more work on that, but that's going to have to be sector led."

Lewis also told the fringe session that the development sector has a responsibility "to make sure they are building not just good quality homes ... but good quality design as well".

According to the minister, one of the biggest challenges to getting new homes built is that neighbourhoods "don't want these big ugly blocks of Lego brick houses being built in the wrong place".

He said that people are "much more receptive" to "nicely built homes ... generally in keeping with the communities they are already in".

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