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Lifetime Homes newsletter September 2016

This Lifetime Homes newsletter gives an update on accessible housing as we approach the one year anniversary of the adoption of accessibility standards into building regulations on 1 October 2016.

In this quarter, Habinteg has launched a new research report on the market for accessible homes and a scrutiny toolkit to help planners and local authorities build more accessible homes. Centre for Accessible Environments are hosting a conference about sensory design whilst October sees a series of inclusive design training courses on housing standards, neurodiversity and IOSH fire safety.


#ForAccessibleHomes day of action highlights awareness about the benefits of accessible homes

Habinteg's campaign to raise awareness of the vital need to increase the number of accessible homes took off with a successful day of action on Friday 8 July. Highlights of the #ForAccessibleHomes:

The #ForAccessibleHomes hashtag on Twitter became one of the top 100 trending items in the UK with many organisations and individuals sharing their stories and picture messages. Support came from as far afield as New Zealand and Canada.

A joint letter to The Guardian signed by Habinteg and 15 other influential organisations made a national media impact. Signatories from a range of sectors including NHF, CIH, Age UK, Disability Rights UK and the Town and Country Planning Association made the strong case For Accessible Homes.

Cabinet Minister Rt Hon Justine Greening MP visited her local Habinteg scheme to meet tenants and find out more about how their accessible homes have helped them. 

The level and breadth of support puts the accessibility of new homes firmly on the agenda but the debate goes on. If you would like to get involved or give your opinion on these issues, please get in touch. You can follow us on Twitter @Habinteg where we'll keep the #ForAccessibleHomes hashtag going or follow us on Habinteg's Instagram account:

Paul Gamble's blog #foraccessiblehomes
Vaila Morrison's blog #foraccessiblehomes


Hidden Housing Market shows demand for accessible homes

New research commissioned by Habinteg and Papworth Trust highlights the hidden housing market of disabled people and demand for accessible housing to rent and buy.

Headline findings of the Hidden Housing Market report include:

The Hidden Market for Accessible Homes report includes four priority recommendations:

  1. Developers should look again at their target markets and products. Are they missing out on a significant market opportunity?

  2. Developers, planners and health and social care commissioners should take note of the desire of the public to maintain independence in mainstream housing and communities as they age or develop needs for care and support

  3. Government departments should collaborate to investigate the relationship between unmet need for accessible housing and being out of work.

  4. Improving our national data resources is critical if we are to respond effectively to the nation's housing needs. 

See the Hidden Housing Market report on Habinteg's website

New evidence shows councils lack plans to meet accessible housing demand

Most councils in England do not have plans for the accessible housing demands of local people. New data released by Habinteg shows that just a handful of local authorities have plans in place that require developers to build much needed accessible homes.

Just 3% of English local authorities outside London have policies to deliver and monitor the number of accessible homes built. This information has been obtained by Habinteg via a freedom of information request, returned by 266 councils (82% of English local authorities). They were asked if councils had planning policies to build to the accessible Lifetime Homes standard and, if they did, how many homes have been built in the last six years.


Planning accessible housing – scrutiny toolkit

Habinteg's Accessible Homes local authority scrutiny toolkit has been created to provide support and useful advice for councils as they plan to create homes that meet the demand of accessible housing within their local area. If you're part of a local authority scrutiny committee you can access the requirements of policy planning from the toolkit. It also includes a checklist for successful implementation and lists how to evidence local need.

For more information please visit the toolkit on Habinteg's website


Lifetime Homes developments in the pipeline

Family homes to last a lifetime at Hollygate Park, Nottingham

Gemma Bridge and her family moved into their new property because they needed more space for their growing family. She said, "We like the fact that the layout flows smoothly from room to room and the flooring – for instance, through French doors from the kitchen onto the patio – is completely flush. It creates a much safer, level threshold for Megan to play, without the worry of steps. We also have a broader than standard driveway, so it's easy to get in and out of the car with children, shopping and the pushchair."

Plans approved in Swindon to deliver much needed Lifetime Homes

Plans in Swindon for 52 Lifetime Homes, have been approved for site where planning permission was previously rejected. Ian Jankinson, chairman of Blunsdon Parish Council said, "I understand the main reason it was approved was because it offers lifetime homes on the site and this was a strong case put forward by members of the planning committee, as they say there is a need for more lifetime homes in North Swindon." The plans were previously rejected over concerns about traffic.

Old housing estate in East London redeveloped into Lifetime Homes

The former Mardyke Estate in Rainham, east London, has undergone a substantial transformation to make way for a new residential development, Orchard Village. Circle Housing has invested £80million to create 555 new homes to meet local affordable and accessible housing needs. Designed by PRP Architects and developed by Willmott Dixon, all homes are built to the Lifetime Homes standard.

Ealing council appoints Higgins Construction to build new Lifetime Homes

Ealing Council has appointed Higgins Construction to build 68 new homes on the Golf Links Estates in Southall, West London. The £17.5 million contract includes the delivery of a new purpose-built community centre and nursery. The scheme will be constructed to London Plan standards and meet Lifetime Homes and Secure by Design.

£5.2 million future for Newcastle almhouses

Newcastle almshouses will be receiving a 21st century makeover. 49 Lifetime Homes bungalows, 33 one-bedroom and 10 two-bedroom Lifetime will be built with £5.2 million investment to provide sheltered housing for elderly residents and much-needed housing for local residents. Three one-bedroom and three two-bedroom properties will be designed for wheelchair users. 

Centre for Accessible Environments offer training courses on Housing Standards, neurodiversity and fire safety

In October, Centre for Accessible Environments deliver a suite of training session on inclusive housing design: The one day Housing Standards course provides an overview of the housing design standards across Categories 1-3 of the new Approved Document M and looks at how these compare to previously used accessible housing standards. More information on the course can be found here.

The Accessible Housing: Category 3 - Wheelchair User Dwellings course will give delegates a comprehensive understanding of the new standards for wheelchair user homes. This course covers the technical requirements of Category 3 in detail, and includes practical exercises helping delegates to consolidate their learning and confidently apply the standards. More information on the course can be found here.

Other courses include:

See CAE's full calendar of training course here


Centre for Accessible Environments one day conference: Acoustics, light and contrast – 26 September

Learn about how acoustics, light and contrast can be designed in order to create more inclusive environments for all users. The one day conference is in central London on 26 September 2016 and costs £15+VAT for CAE members or £50+VAT for non-members.

Expert speakers include:

Full details about the conference and booking are on CAE's website.
Speaker biogs are also available (PDF download)


Contact us

Although the Lifetime Homes standard has been replaced by the new national technical housing standards, the need to design and build accessible and adaptable accommodation remains integral to future neighbourhood planning. We will continue to share information, research, policy recommendations and support for better inclusive homes and communities. Please check in with our Lifetime Homes website, the Habinteg website and our twitter feed @Habinteg to keep abreast of the accessibility debate. As usual we use the tag #lifetimehomes so you can also search for relevant tweets.

For technical enquiries about the Lifetime Homes Standard, you can now contact the Centre for Accessible Environments (CAE). Part of the Habinteg group, they offer advice, consultancy, training and membership updates on access and inclusion, including on accessible and adaptable housing. Please see for further information. Technical enquiries or feedback on the new Cat 2 and Cat 3 housing standards should be directed to the Department for Communities and Local Government who administer them.

It has never been more important to support accessible design and Lifetime Homes so we would be grateful for your input to this developing policy agenda. Please feel free to forward this email to your contacts, or if you have any questions, queries or useful points to make we'd love to hear from you.

If you would like to share news or speak to us about promoting your accessible design project, contact Alex Perry, Communications and Marketing Manager at Habinteg.

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