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Put land for retirement properties into local plans, says BPF

Words: Laura Edgar
Retirement / iStock

The British Property Federation (BPF) has called for local authorities to allocate space for retirement homes in their local plans.

Published by think-tank Demos on behalf of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Housing and Care for Older People, The affordability of retirement housing recommends that local authorities allocate land in their local plans that is specifically for older people’s housing.

This, the report says, would mean that retirement developers would not need to compete with commercial developers – who are likely to be able to pay more – for land.

The BPF advises using an evidence-based approach to ascertain which sites would be suitable for retirement housing, whether the land can be acquired more quickly and easily, and whether unit costs could be reduced, with the aim of improving retirement housing affordability.

The affordability of retirement housing suggests that the UK is facing an undersupply of retirement housing, with the number built specifically for older people down from 30,000 per annum in the 1980s to 8,000 per annum today.

In addition, the report highlights that politicians and policymakers pay less attention on older people, and are more concerned with getting first-time buyers onto the property ladder. If older people living in family homes were to downsize, “or rather ‘right size’ to appropriate housing, many large family homes would be made available for growing families to move into, which in turn would free up smaller properties for first time buyers”.

BPF chief executive Liz Peace said: “There is always a lot of focus on how to get first-time buyers onto the housing ladder, but we do also need to see policy changes to ensure that the elderly will be sufficiently housed. Not only will including a retirement housing provision in local plans increase supply and make retirement homes more affordable, it will also encourage people to downsize, thereby releasing more homes on to the market.”