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Housing: Elderly

Volume 455: debated on Friday 26 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps her Department is taking to ensure that house building programmes take into account the long-term needs of older people. (110646)

[holding answer 25 January 2007]: Ensuring appropriate housing provision for older people is part of the wider work of the Department, particularly through the national framework set by planning policy and building regulation. The long-term needs of older people within house building programmes are being addressed through the following means:

A. Communities and Local Government is leading work on a cross-Whitehall strategy for housing and older people. The strategy will review current provision and plan for the future in the context of an ageing society. We expect to publish the strategy in summer 2007.

B. We have recently published Planning Policy Statement 3, which states that Local Planning Authorities should plan for a mix of housing on the basis of the different types of households that are likely to require housing, including the accommodation requirements of specific groups such as older people. Regional Assemblies are expected to reflect the needs of the elderly in the evidence base that they use to underpin their Regional Spatial Strategies and Regional Housing Strategies.

C. For house building programmes, we are now encouraging home builders to follow the principles set out in the Code for Sustainable Homes, which includes lifetime homes standards as an optional element. We are also considering making assessment under Code standards mandatory in future. Through the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE: the Government’s adviser on urban design and architecture) we are also promoting take-up of the principles of Inclusive Design—design that caters for everyone’s needs, including those of older people. I am placing copies of this document in the House Library, or it can be found on the intranet at:

www.cabe.org.uk

In addition we have also announced that we will work with the Housing Corporation—and its successor, ‘Communities England’—to ensure that most government-funded new build schemes will adopt the lifetime homes standards from 2010.