Those of you who have been reading these posts for a while, may have picked up on the fact that our team has an interest in the retirement living sector.
Ensuring that we are able to support and cater for the needs of a rapidly changing society will benefit everybody - not just those approaching (or over) the age of retirement - and the planning system has a key role to play in achieving this.
Carl Dyer, who leads our planning team, has been speaking to Planning Resource about the benefits that planning properly for the elderly can have for society as a whole. A link to the article can be found below.
In particular, he points out that:
"It's incredibly efficient in planning terms .... The high numbers of staff employed by these facilities means "you immediately create 100 relatively low-skilled jobs for local people", he points out. Then there's a knock-on benefit as the... new residents downsize: "Pretty much all of those 100 people will move out of a home in the area and release it to the local market"
Unfortunately, despite both the social and planning benefits involved in properly providing for the older members of our community, not enough is currently being done. Of the fifty Local Planning Authorities that we have samples only eight had specific planning policies in place to ensure that suitable homes were provided for the elderly; and only seven had any type of allocation for the need.
This needs to change. We can but hope that it will do so quickly.
Analysis conducted by Irwin Mitchell appears to back up Burgess's claim. The law firm ...looked at 50 councils ... Only eight were found to have specific planning policies on housing for older people and only seven had allocated sites for care homes ... a report published by the Greater London Authority last year found that only six of the 32 London boroughs had specific policies to address older people's housing needs. Developers also point to aspects of the planning system that they say discriminate against provision of elderly accommodation. Burgess says: "Retirement living should be exempt from affordable housing provision because of the very special benefits associated with it." Then there's the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), which Burgess says affects care home developers disproportionately due to the large communal areas which feature in many schemes.