Ageing Better contributes to new planning advice to enable more accessible and affordable homes
Good planning is needed to deliver diverse solutions to meet people’s diverse housing needs as they age.
The new advice outlines key principles for how professionals from across the planning and housing sector should work collaboratively to provide the best outcomes for older people.
In the Planning for Older People practice advice released this week, the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) highlights the important role planners are playing in meeting the needs of England’s ageing population.
Most existing housing stock and new housing development within England fails to meet the needs of its ageing population. By focusing on the quality and location of homes, and by retrofitting existing homes and investing in alternate options to mainstream housing, planners can meet the country’s net zero ambitions, tackle the housing crisis, and address the health and wellbeing needs of older people.
But planners must continue to be innovative and proactive when planning for an ageing population in the UK. The RTPI’s Housing for Older People practice advice demonstrates how the planning system can enable the development of accessible, well-maintained, and affordable homes in locations that provide access to essential local services and opportunities for social connections.
The RTPI, Chartered Institute for Housing (CIH), Centre for Ageing Better, the Older People’s Housing Champions Network and Associated Retirement Community Operators (ARCO) have joined together to publish the new practice advice.
The RTPI is the largest professional body for town planners in the UK and Europe and represents around 27,000 members in over 80 countries worldwide. The Institute has been shaping planning policy and raising professional standards for over 100 years and is the only body in the UK to confer Chartered status to planners, the highest professional qualification.
Henry Smith, Senior Programme Manager for Homes at the Centre for Ageing Better, said:
“We are very pleased to have had the opportunity to contribute to the RTPI’s Housing for Older People practice advice. We know that housing needs among older people are diverse, so good planning needs to deliver diverse solutions.
“It's also vital to ensure that older people have a voice in determining what is the ‘right’ housing for older people and that planners create places where people of all ages are able to live healthy and active later lives.
“The diversity of solutions must go beyond the common assumptions that most older people want to downsize or enter specialist accommodation. While these are valid and important options for some, good planning should also help meet the needs of the majority of older people who are motivated by the same reasons as the rest of the population when it comes to choosing their home – such as wanting room for guests, hobbies, work, or better access to green space.”
Victoria Hills, Chief Executive of the Royal Town Planning Institute, said:
“Proactive planning for older people will help deliver much-needed homes in the right places and build community hubs where older people can easily and safely reach the everyday shops and services that they need.
“The RTPI’s practice advice demonstrates how, by working collaboratively with care workers, housing providers and developers, planners can help meet the country’s net zero ambitions, tackle the housing crisis, and address the health and wellbeing of our ageing population.”
Sarah Davis, Senior policy and practice officer at the Chartered Institute of Housing, said:
“CIH believes that the home is fundamental to health and wellbeing. For older people, living in homes that suit their needs and provide appropriate support and opportunities to engage with others is a huge benefit for living well and independently in older age.
“We welcome the opportunity to support this briefing from RTPI which will support local planners to include specialist homes in local plans and enable this opportunity to be available for more older people in their local areas.”
Joan Rutherford, Chair of Older People's Housing Champions, said:
"The Older People's Housing Champions were delighted to be invited to contribute to this Practice Advice.
“We believe that everyone should have access to a suitable home – whatever their age – including in later life. We hope that this advice will help planners and others to adequately plan Housing for Older People."