Dec 10

Cities ‘Failing’ To Provide Wheelchair-Accessible Homes


Some of the biggest cities in England currently have no plans in place for the provision of wheelchair-accessible residential properties, a new investigation by the BBC has revealed.

Following a BBC Freedom of Information request to hundreds of local councils around the country, it was found that three out of the ten largest cities have no requirements that go further than the national guidelines. These state that homes need to allow wheelchair users through doors and hallways on the entrance level.

The government has said that it does intend to strengthen these standards but, as it stands, disabled people say they face significant additional costs, poor-quality homes and long housing searches.

Local authorities do have the power to require developers to ensure that a percentage of homes meet higher standards, but it was found that cities like Bradford, Coventry and Sheffield have no such quotas in place.

This shortage of accessible homes means that many people are prevented from living independently, often blocked from using parts of their own home or having to pay for adaptations and specialist accommodation.

The government plan, announced earlier in the year, is to see all new-build homes in the future to meet the adaptable homes standard, providing more step-free, accessible spacious homes. 

Funding will be made available through the UK Disabled Facilities Grant, which was increased to approximately £500 million each year over the last five years to increase home adaptations. 

It was also found that big cities like Manchester, Leicester and Birmingham do not currently make provisions in their housing plans for wheel-chair accessibility properties at the point of purchase.

Ensuring that homes are accessible means that people are able to live more independently in their own homes as they get older, giving them greater control and choice over their own lives.

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