Influencing the local planning policy background for older people’s housing

John Sneddon
John Sneddon
Managing Director, Tetlow King Planning

Planning for Older People’s development relies upon local planning authorities understanding that proposals will be of benefit to the local area and crucially are planning policy compliant.

A planning application that is compliant with local planning policy, contained in Local Plans or Core Strategies, have a more straightforward journey on the path to obtaining planning permission. These documents should recognise the needs and benefits of accommodation for older people including those developments that include care and support in particular.  

In order to achieve a more responsive local planning policy environment in individual Council areas, representations to emerging plans are important to influence their content. In many situations, local planning policies are the main yardstick against which new developments are measured and arguably have more impact on the outcomes of planning applications than national planning policy.

When a new local plan, or other planning documents are being prepared for formal adoption, several rounds of public consultation are required. Through these consultations it is possible for any person or group to shape local policy so that it is favourable and positive towards older people’s developments. For example, many councils do not have a specialist housing policy or a Strategic Housing Market Assessment which has properly and clearly considered the potentially large need in the area for housing to specifically meet the needs of older people. Many local planning documents can also confuse care beds with sheltered housing and extra care whilst using a whole range of differing terminology, on many occasions, with many definitions being supplied of what is meant by the different terms.  

"In many situations local planning policies arguably have more impact on outcomes than national policy"

There is also the debate regarding the planning Use Class of different types of specialist housing. Some Council’s seek to tackle this head on, whilst others provide a confused definition which in turn leaves the applicant to explain and justify their position through the planning application. This can be expensive and cause unnecessary delays. Other consultations, such as promoting potential sites through a Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment or advocating a rate for older people’s housing in Community Infrastructure Levy schedules, are also important for anyone seeking to obtain planning permission.  

To provide developers and operators with a more advantageous local policy background Tetlow King Planning are undertaking a monitoring exercise of the Local Authorities in England for relevant emerging local plans and consultations. This provides the opportunity to submit a tailored policy comment which will shape the emerging local planning policies. At the very least, this could be a representation stating that the need for specialist housing for older people should be considered, through to a detailed representation which formulates a policy suggestion and seeks to outline the levels of need within the area.

Every fortnight, in conjunction with Housing LIN, the monitoring report will be published here and will summarise which local authorities are consulting on emerging documents and their deadlines. Do also visit the Housing LIN’s online planning portal for further resources on planning housing for people in later life and/or register here to receive their free weekly ebulletin, HLINks, and receive the latest updates.

Tetlow King Planning will be presenting at the Housing LIN’s annual conference Vision 2020 on 26 March in Manchester. They are also able to provide advice with regard to specific representations and submit a representation on your behalf. They can be contacted on in Bristol or in West Malling.

The Housing LIN is monitoring its response to Covid-19 on a daily basis and will notify sponsors, speakers and delegates immediately should there be any changes in the arrangements in this year's annual conference. 


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