The government published its Planning White Paper, Planning for the Future on 6th August 2020. Much trailed as getting Britain to "build, build, build", the measures outlined are a green light for housebuilders to construct new housing within certain confines; namely, on sites designated for growth.
However, despite lobbying with other sector bodies for more favourable planning conditions for housing an ageing population (as we reported in July) the government did not propose any specifically to boost planning for accessible homes for an ageing population.
There is reference to better design quality for inclusive and mixed communities as well as an invitation to comment on people in ‘protected characteristic’ group. While the latter includes age and disability, little further detail is given for consultation on this. The questions posted for consultation are largely around the administration of the planning process, adopting new local procedures (including digitisation), and linking planning reform with general design quality for developments. However, right at the end it does ask if there are any issues that the government should consider for people in diverse groups and with ‘protected characteristics’ under the 2010 Equality Act. The legislation defines that age and disability are a ‘protected characteristic’ and this therefore provides scope to reflect on the age-friendliness of the planning proposals outlined. The deadline for responses for this is Thursday, 29 October 2020.
Lastly, the equalities angle could also be picked up in an accompany technical consultation issued to coincide with the White Paper on the proposed review of the standard method of assessing housing need. The deadline for responses for this is 8 Thursday, 1st October 2020.