Govt Announces Plans To Raise Home Accessibility Standards
The government has confirmed that it will be moving ahead with plans to raise the accessibility standards of new homes around England to ensure they meet the needs of older and disabled people.
The move means that all new builds will have to feature step-free access to all entrance level rooms and facilities, as well as other features that ensure the properties can be adapted easily as time goes on. This would allow people to continue living independent lives in their own homes for as long as possible.
Following a consultation process, some 98 per cent of respondents supported plans to raise accessibility standards. A second consultation is to be carried out in the future, covering regulatory changes and updates to statutory guidance, as well as any circumstances where exceptions to applying the higher standards would apply.
Since 2010, the government has provided more than £4.5 billion to deliver approximately half a million home adaptations. Under current planning regulations, councils must already consider the needs of older and disabled people when building new homes.
Eddie Hughes, minister for rough sleeping and housing, said: “Older and disabled people must have homes which are suitable for their needs, and allow them to live comfortably and independently.
“This consultation has made clear that raising the accessibility standard of new homes is supported not just by people who use accessible homes, but by industry and wider stakeholders as well. With that mandate, we are forging ahead with the next steps to make this a reality.”
Figures from Habinteg, published in 2020, show that the need for accessible housing has never been more pressing. Data shows that 91 per cent of homes currently don’t provide the four main features that would be considered visitable. It is estimated that more than 400,000 wheelchair users are living in properties that are not accessible or adapted.
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