Today (Tuesday 8 September 2020) the Housing Secretary The Right Hon. Robert Jenrick has announced that the launch of a Government consultation on making new homes more accessible to disabled and older people.
Sheron Carter, Habinteg CEO said:
We are very pleased that the Government have launched the long awaited consultation on the accessibility of new homes. Habinteg has been campaigning on this topic for a long time and we are really glad the Government has now listened to disabled people and is taking action on this vital issue.
Our recent experience during Covid-19 lockdown has highlighted for everyone how much the design of our homes can impact on our physical and mental health and wellbeing. But for disabled and older people accessibility impacts everyday life regardless of the pandemic.
This year’s data from the English Housing Survey revealed that just 9% of our housing stock provides even the most basic accessibility features whilst at least 400,000 disabled adults are living in homes that are neither accessible nor adapted. The country faces an increasing demand for accessible and adaptable housing and it’s vital that we invest now in homes that will stand the test of time.
Habinteg’s 2019 insight report showed that under current local plans less than a quarter of new homes outside London will be delivered to accessible or adaptable standard by 2030. That’s simply not going to make a big enough difference to the overall number of accessible homes available to rent and buy.
We should and must expect better of our new homes so that they are not only beautiful but offer a sensible standard of access and adaptability as part of an overall commitment to long term sustainability and true consumer choice.
This consultation is a critical opportunity to kick start a new age for accessible homes which will be widely welcomed by disabled and older people. We are eager to seeing the detail of the consultation and we will strongly recommend that the accessible and adaptable standard set down in Building Regulations M4 (Category 2) be established as the regulatory baseline for all new homes.
We look forward to engaging with the consultation process and strongly encourage all individuals and organisations that care about housing accessibility to join us in doing so.”
You can respond to the consultation here.