Gavin Barwell spent much of the weekend on television discussing the Housing White Paper, which is now expected on Tuesday this week.
One of the more surprising reveals (from an interview on ITV with Robert Peston) was an indication that the government plans to use the White Paper to boost specialist housing for retirees looking to down-size, as well as more traditional models of sheltered housing.
Whilst there is definitely a need for specialist properties for those looking to downsize, but retain their overall standard of living, the government has historically been rather slow to recognise that the sector may be in need of policy support.
Whilst there are policies in the NPPF which promote planning for all sectors of society, very few local planning authorities have focussed on the need for suitable homes for the elderly in their local plans.
The timing of this announcement, only a few days after the RTPI published its guidance note on Dementia and Town Planning, gives some cause for optimism. Primarily as it suggests that the Government might, finally, get on board with Retirement Housing.
Assuming that the White Paper actually appears tomorrow, you can expect more commentary from IM during the course of the week.
“... we’ve got a lot of demographic change in the country and an increasing elderly population, so it’s not just about how many houses you build, but are you building the right kind of houses,” “If we can make it easier for elderly people to move into that kind of accommodation, it releases family homes that we’re desperate [for],” he said. A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government insisted it was not about pushing anyone out of their home “The white paper will explore ways to stimulate the market to deliver new homes for older people and disabled people. We want to make sure older people have a good choice of accommodation to help them to live independently for longer, and help reduce costs to social care and health systems,” he said.