UK failing to plan enough homes for rapidly ageing population


Senior planner Jennifer Nye

The UK is failing to plan to enough homes for its rapidly ageing population, new research has revealed.

National planning and development consultancy Lichfields found that only 16 out of 149 Local Plans had identified a specific requirement for older people’s housing. Out of these, only six had identified a specific requirement for older people’s housing.

Lichfields’ senior planner Jennifer Nye said: “The UK’s elderly population is growing and a clear plan is needed to ensure the housing needs of this demographic are adequately met. But national and local planning policy is not currently doing this. We need to establish a system which requires all local planning authorities to objectively assess the housing needs of its older population.

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“This should recognise the roles of different types of accommodation which are required and ensure that policy is fit to enable delivery.”

Lichfields said existing classifications for different types of housing for older people were creating uncertainty and confusion.

The consultancy found that, though lacking effective policy measures, councils were stepping up efforts to monitor older people’s housing delivery.

Scotland, where 80% of local authorities monitoring the supply of elderly accommodation, was leading in the area, Lichfields said.

Lichfields called for a national strategy outlining how the housing needs of older people will be met.

Jennifer added: “In line with the wider global trend, the UK population profile is ageing dramatically and the planning system will play a crucial role in facilitating the delivery of the homes and facilities required to meet the needs of this growing demographic.

“But falling to provide sufficient new homes for this group could have wider impacts on public services, especially social and health care, whilst also impacting on the ability of the younger generations to gain a foot-hold on the property ladder.”


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