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How better use of the planning system can increase provision of specialist housing for older people

RHGuk report cover

The Retirement Housing Group UK (RHGuk) is pleased to launch our timely new report which makes suggestions for how some simple amendments to the operation of the town planning system could help to increase delivery of specialist homes for older people. As the UK population ages, this vitally important housing option can help to keep older people safe and warm, reduce isolation and provide a secure environment for people discharged from hospital.

The report analyses EAC data on current supply of specialist housing for older people, looks at progress with planning applications and brings together a series of achievable policy asks to ensure the planning system meets the needs of our growing older population. Our report concludes that, as a general principle local authorities and public funding bodies should be required to proactively plan for specialist older persons housing – and to monitor delivery. Our 4 key recommendations are that

  • Local housing needs assessments should always include an assessment of the need for all forms of specialist housing for older people by type and tenure.
  • Local plans should seek to ensure that a minimum of 10% of all new housing is specialist housing for older people unless the local authority can demonstrate why this is not appropriate for their area, (so 30k of the 300k national target for new homes). This is a step change from current provision of c.7,000 units a year, and should encourage new entrants to the sector.
  • 10% of Homes England’s and GLA housing fund delivery should be for specialist housing for older people, including shared ownership and affordable rented housing with support and care.
  • The Government needs to address the long-term issue of viability and the impact of CIL, Planning Obligations and Affordable Housing on the delivery of specialist housing for older people. The Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill should include a legal requirement for Local Authorities to specifically address this issue in setting local Infrastructure Levies.

Please follow this link to download the full report and do contact our Chair, Richard Morton , or one of the RHGuk Team at if you would like to discuss any of our research findings.