Building good homes for older people

Wincanton’s Neighbourhood Plan is still at an early stage, though a review of the key local consultations has already flagged up a number of issues that may make it into the draft Plan in some form.

One of these is that there is a lack of suitable housing for older people in the town.

The feeling is that all the recent housing developments are 2, 3 & 4 bed houses and townhouses; allied with the fact there are many single older people living in large houses who would prefer to move into a one or two bedroom smaller home that is more centrally located.

Both these points are common to many other communities across the country.

There is also a large care home planned in Wincanton, but the need that’s being flagged up appears to be for older people who are not yet ready for a Care Home level of support, are still mobile and want to retain their independence – perfectly understandable! (We may well  formally assess the need in a Housing Needs Survey to give us the evidence)

So what can a Neighbourhood Plan do to encourage developers to build alternative types of houses?  We can select sites and write policies! Let’s look at some other NP’s;

Our neighbours at Malmesbury, Wiltshire (who have just successfully passed their referendum) have included the following older person-specific policies in their plan;

  • Policy 2 allocates an additional approximately 50 dwellings at Burton Hill for use by older people
  • Policy 6 allocates approximately 50 units for elderly and extra care at the redevelopment of Burnham House.
  • Policy 7 requires that planning permission be granted for the development of dementia-specific accommodation.
  • Policy 8 that all new accommodation for older people should be well-connected with the town and Policy 9 that it should be sustainable.

Langwathby Parish in Cumbria approached it differently;

  • LNP5 – Older people’s housing
    Within any proposed development of four units or more there should be provision for 20 – 25% housing for elderly people. These dwellings should be two bedroom bungalows restricted in occupancy for those over 65 year of age. They will be available for sale or for rent on the open market. The restrictions will be secured by condition.

Petersfield has similar concerns to Wincanton regards getting the correct mix of housing types to support a sustainable community. They have two policies;

  • Housing Policy 2 (HP2) – Provide an appropriate mix of market housing. Market housing proposals will be expected to provide a mix of sizes of units, where appropriate, in accordance with the percentages set out in Table 2. The overall achievement of the mix of unit sizes will be monitored as part of the Annual Monitoring Report.Dwellings designed to be suitable for older residents (aged 60 and over) must demonstrate, as a minimum, that they meet the space and accessibility requirements of the Lifetime Homes standards. These dwellings will also be suitable for younger residents and are not intended to be restricted in use.

Housing Mix 

housing mix

Housing Policy 3 (HP3) – Allocate housing to meet the needs of an ageing population. Sites H8 (Land at Durford Road) and H12 (Bulmer House Site) – are allocated as specialist housing and Continuing Care facilities to meet the on-going and changing needs of older persons. These sites are not allocated for conventional housing. Planning permission will be granted for such developments so long as the proposals conform with the site design frameworks in this Plan and meet the requirements set out in other appropriate policies of this Plan as well as those within the East Hampshire District Local Plan: Joint Core Strategy. The proposed developments will not be expected to provide on site affordable housing but the developer will be required to make a financial contribution which will be agreed with the Local Planning Authority.

So that’s some examples of policies being developed in NP’s for older people’s housing. The next step is to ensure quality housing is built on these sites – which will be the focus of a future post.


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