I recently presented at Lichfields' Newcastle Breakfast Seminar on the topic of elderly care accommodation. Or, as I have seen termed elsewhere, accommodation for those in their “extended middle age!”.
The older population, elderly people, those in their extended middle age, however termed, is growing. Indeed, the number of people aged 65 or over in England is projected to increase more than any other age cohort in future years.
Figure 1: Population projections by age cohort, England (2014=100)
Source: ONS, Lichfields analysis
As previously reported by Lichfields, this projection has wide-ranging implications as the country’s demographic profile is the foundation on which public finances are determined and major policy decisions are made. Another of the key implications of the population profile changing so markedly is that housing needs will change too.
In the same way that national policy is clear that local planning authorities (LPAs) must meet the housing needs of their local area, both for market and affordable housing (NPPF para 47), national policy is also clear that LPAs must meet the housing needs of different population groups, including older people (NPPF para 159). However, whilst the focus has been on building more houses in general (and rightly so), interventions have largely been concentrated on those at the start of their “housing career” (such as Starter Homes, First Time Buyer ISAs and so on). Significantly less focus has been placed on those in the later stages of their so-called “housing career”.
This is evident from the Housing White Paper which, in seeking to “fix our broken housing market” sets out some key targets, including:
225,000+ new homes to be provided per year (pg 9)
200,000 people brought into home ownership (para 4.21)
225,000 affordable homes to be built (para 4.26).
Yet there is no such target for meeting the needs of the older population. Rather, the Housing White Paper simply defers the issue, setting out the following:
Offering older people a better choice of accommodation can help them to live independently for longer and help reduce costs to the social care and health systems. […] To ensure that there is more consistent delivery of accessible housing, the Government is introducing a new statutory duty through the Neighbourhood Planning Bill on the Secretary of State to produce guidance for local planning authorities on how their local development documents should meet the housing needs of older and disabled people.
Whilst not tackling the issue head on, what the Housing White Paper does is reiterate the thrust of the NPPF - now in its fifth year – i.e. that LPAs are expected to have clear policies for addressing the housing needs and requirements of different groups, including older people. That said, some clear recognition of the severity of the current situation and an emphasis on the urgency required in introducing measures to start to address it would have been welcome.
This begs the question: do LPAs currently have clear policies for addressing the housing needs and requirements of older people? And in short, the answer is no.
Lichfields has analysed the 99 post-NPPF adopted Local Plans identified in its Planned and Deliver Of these:
29 do not have a generic elderly persons’ accommodation policy;
88 do not have a specific requirement for elderly accommodation; and
94 do not make specific allocations.
It’s a ticking time bomb.
As an industry, in both public and private sectors, we need to ensure that we understand, through robust evidence, what the housing need is for the growing ageing population. Alongside this, we need to understand what supply is currently available. Only then can we formulate clear strategies on how the residual need could be met.
To help evidence the need and in order to understand the opportunities to deliver housing for the ageing population, Lichfields has produced its Carepacity Toolkit.
Carepacity can assist in the planning process by:
objectively assessing the need for housing for older people and finding potential development sites;
understanding existing supply;
assessing the potential of development sites;
supporting the planning case by quantifying the range of benefits arising from the development of housing to meet the needs of the ageing population; and
enabling delivery through an understanding of the planning and financial implications of different typologies of elderly care provision, as summarised below.
Figure 2: Typologies of accommodation
Source: Lichfields analysis
To discuss Carepacity further, please get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
 Department for Communities and Local Government - Fixing our broken housing market (February 2017)
Nearly three months have now elapsed since the UK voted to leave the European Union. Whilst we have seen a change in leadership with a new Prime Minster and ongoing speculation about what the current period of uncertainty will bring – what has remained a constant is that the UK is still in the midst of a housing crisis.Teresa May, in her speech which set out the Government’s priorities, pledged to do more to push up the production of new housing stating that:
Unless we deal with the housing deficit, we will see house prices keep on rising. Young people will find it even harder to afford their own home. The divide between those who inherit wealth and those who don’t will become more pronounced.
Recent news reports have also highlighted that home ownership in England has fallen to its lowest level in 30 years.
Additionally, noting that interest in the private rented sector has intensified since the referendum, housebuilders are increasingly looking to private rented sector investors and developers to ensure that sites are built out to meet a demand for ‘Build to Rent’ (BTR) outside the owner occupier market. Property Week recently reported that:
Fearing a slowdown in the housing market following the Brexit vote, housebuilders are increasingly looking to strike deals with private rented sector investors and developers to help keep developments ticking over.
All of the above, quite rightly, highlight the plight of the younger population attempting to take a first step to home ownership. However, the perpetual need to provide adequate housing for the older population – a rapidly growing age group - is also often overlooked to in the housing debate.As can be seen in NLP’s recent Ageing Population Research Note, the latest Office of National Statistics (ONS) 2014-based population projections suggest that the over-65s will grow at the fastest rate compared with other age groups in every region of the UK. They show that by 2039, a quarter of England’s population will be over 65, whilst the number of people aged over 85 is projected to more than double to just over 3 million.
Coupled with this, it is notable that currently, up to a third of the 1.4m Britons who live elsewhere in the EU are retired and, whilst the effect of Brexit is yet to be felt, it is possible that the number of Brit’s retiring abroad could reduce, meaning more retired people remaining in, or returning to, the UK – and needing appropriate housing options.The National Planning Policy Framework’s (NPPF) paragraph 47 requires local planning authorities to meet full needs for housing in a housing market area, including the needs of older people. Indeed, the NPPF reiterates that this need can be met in a variety of ways, setting out that:
People over retirement age, including the active, newly-retired through to the very frail elderly, whose housing needs can encompass accessible, adaptable general needs housing for those looking to downsize from family housing and the full range of retirement and specialised housing for those with support or care needs. (NPPF Annex 2)
So whilst attention should rightly continue to remain focussed on ensuring that the housing needs of the younger population are met, there is a clear need to ensure that the wider debate on how to meet need encompasses the housing needs of the older population, and the range of products required.In response to this, NLP has re-launched its CAREpacity toolkit which aims to provide a helping hand to developers seeking to deliver housing for older people. It includes a range of tools designed to aid developers in:
Identifying future development opportunities;
Demonstrating the need for development;
Quantifying and clearly communicating development benefits;
Assessing the economic viability of development.
For more information on CAREpacity, please see our flyer or contact NLP directly.
 Guardian Property Week