accessible housing LGA

Responding to the launch of the new Housing Made for Everyone (HoME) coalition, the Local Government Association (LGA) has emphasised the need for local councils to have more control over housing planning and the ability to hold developers to account.

The association, which represents 339 councils in England responsible for a range of public services including housing and planning, stressed that it was committed to providing accessible council housing but lacked powers and funding.

“To tackle the shortage of suitable homes for older and disabled people, councils need greater planning powers and resources to hold developers to account, ensuring that they build the right homes in the right places needed by different groups within the local community,” commented Cllr Darren Rodwell, the Local Government Association’s housing spokesperson.

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“Accessibility features and home adaptations are also vital to help keep people safe and independent in their homes and prevent avoidable admissions to hospital and care homes. Every £1 spent on housing adaptations are worth more than £2 in care savings and quality of life gains.

“As well as funding and powers to kick-start a renaissance in council house building, such as through reform to the Right to Buy scheme, the Disability Facilities Grant needs to be fully funded to keep up with demand, while we also need to see a long-term sustainable funding solution for adult social care.”

The statement from the LGA comes as 10 prominent organisations from the housing and charity sectors, including Age UK, the Centre for Ageing Better, RIBA and Habinteg, launched the new HoME coalition on the 5th November to demand the next government to address the impending accessible housing ‘timebomb.’

In particular, HoME is calling for a change to building regulations for new homes, making the currently optional M4 (Category 2) standard, which requires new homes to be built with basic accessibility features, to be mandatory.

Introduced in 2015, housing developers that have challenged Local Planning Authorities’ requirements for new homes to built to the standard on grounds of costs have faced criticism from charities such as Age UK and Habinteg, who argue the cost-based arguments fail to stand up to scrutiny.

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