Councils lack policies to deliver accessible homes

Only 3% of English local authorities outside London have policies in place to deliver and monitor the number of accessible homes built, research by Habinteg Housing Association has found.

Information obtained by freedom of information requests returned by 266 councils (82% of English local authorities) asked if councils had planning policies to build to the accessible Lifetime Homes standard and, if they did, how many homes have been built in the last six years. The figures exclude London because the London plan regulates to ensure that all homes are built to the Lifetime Homes standard, with 10% to higher wheelchair accessible standards.

The government’s new higher accessible housing standard, Part M (4) Category 2, which is broadly equivalent to Lifetime Homes, features in the building regulations as an optional standard. Local authorities have a duty to produce a local plan setting out their approach to new development by 2017.

Habinteg chief executive Paul Gamble said: “It’s time that all local authorities follow London’s lead to meet the inclusive housing needs of local people. With many councils yet to formalise their local plans ahead of next year’s deadline, there’s a clear opportunity to address the significant shortage of accessible homes to rent and buy nationwide and meet projected demand.”

The housing association is providing local authorities with a toolkit giving information about implementing the government accessible housing standard, and an interactive map has been produced showing the data gathered under the freedom of information request.

Image: Freeimages.com/Tracey Perry

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