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Councils failing to cater for ageing population in planning policies

More than a third of councils across England lack adequate plans to provide suitable housing for the ageing population, research claims.

New analysis produced by property consultancy Knight Frank and law firm Irwin Mitchell found 36% of local authorities do not have clear policies in place to support housing for seniors.

The new survey builds on research carried out in 2017 and 2020, which ranked local authorities between ‘A’ and ‘D’ according to their approach to seniors housing provision within their local plans.

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 Local authorities with an ‘A’ rating have clear policies indicating details of the required number of dwellings / care home beds and how this will be achieved together with specific site allocations for such development, whereas those with a D rating had neither clear policies nor site allocation. 

This year’s survey results found that out of 326 local authorities in England 76 or 23.3% were graded A, 96 or 29.4% were graded B, 36 or 11% were graded C and 118 or 36.2% were graded D.
Over the five years in which this research has been carried out, the percentage of grade A local authorities in England that have adopted specific planning policies and site allocations addressing seniors housing has improved– increasing from 9.7% in 2017 to 23.3% and the percentage of local authorities graded a D has also reduced – from 62% to 36.2%.
 

Nicola Gooch, planning partner at Irwin Mitchell, said : “Whilst the situation is clearly improving, it is still the case that planning policies are still putting a brake on new development in the sector.

“We need all local authorities to take a pro-active approach if we are to unlock the full potential of seniors housing in England. 

“However, policy change alone will not be enough unless it is also accompanied by sufficient resourcing to enable local planning authorities to devote time and attention to understanding both the demographic changes that are coming our way, the diversity of needs within our ageing population and how best to plan for those needs.”

Lauren Harwood, head of seniors housing consultancy, at Knight Frank, added: “This year’s survey is released against a backdrop of an increasingly difficult development environment; with nutrient and water neutrality issues, insufficient local government resources and local plan failures all making it harder than ever to bring forward new seniors housing schemes. 

“Rising operational and build costs, as well as an increasingly competitive land market have added another layer of complexity.

“As a result, there is currently still a huge supply and demand imbalance of senior housing in England, which is widening amidst a growing and ageing population. It is vital therefore that we increase the provision of seniors housing. With that in mind, it is crucial that developers understand where the opportunities are, and how they can access these to help meet the needs of our seniors.”

Private Seniors Housing Accommodation – top 15

Grade

2022

Grade

2020

Affordable Senior Housing Accommodation – top 15

Grade

2022

Grade

2020

Local authority

Area

 

 

Local Authority

Area

 

 

Kensington & Chelsea

London

A

C

Southwark

London

A

D

Camden

London

A

B

Camden

London

A

B

East Hertfordshire

East of England

A

A

Kensington & Chelsea

London

A

C

Southwark

London

A

D

Brent

London

A

A

Brent

London

A

A

Hounslow

London

A

A

Tunbridge Wells

South East

A

D

Tower Hamlets

London

B

B

Reigate and Banstead

South East

A

B

Cornwall

South West

A

C

Dacorum

East of England

A

C

Leeds

Yorkshire & The Humber

A

C

Bracknell Forest

South East

A

C

Central Bedfordshire

East of England

A

A

Hounslow

London

A

A

County Durham

North East

A

B

Guildford

South East

A

A

Cheshire West and Chester

North West

A

C

Woking

South East

A

A

Northumberland

North East

A

B

Tandridge

South East

A

A

South Gloucestershire

South West

A

A

Havering

London

A

B

Wakefield

Yorkshire and The Humber

A

A

Broxbourne

East of England

A

C

Hackney

London

B

B

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