Planning for future means more inclusive environments

Published: 8 Oct 2020

The Centre for Accessible Environments would like to see any proposed planning reforms and policy stemming from the Government’s consultation commit to creating more inclusive environments.

Any planning proposal should prioritise and meet the need for more accessible homes and communities for disabled and older people. This includes making streets, retail, work spaces and external environments more inclusive.

The consultation, which closes on 29 October at 11:45pm, sets out its plans to speed up and modernise the UK’s planning system, and seeks to:

  • overhaul the planning system and reform the way the country builds
  • streamline the planning process and using technology to deliver homes faster
  • build more homes on brownfield land, protecting green spaces for future generations
  • build homes that place the community at the heart of the new planning system
  • offer a discount on home purchases for key workers
  • create a stronger community voice in the planning and design of developments

As the access consultancy and training arm of Habinteg Housing Association, we are keen to see more effective planning policy and building regulations to ensure an increase in the supply of accessible and adaptable homes.

Habinteg’s Director of Strategy and External Affairs, Nic Bungay, said:

“The Planning for the future White paper speaks about the need for new homes to be beautiful and sustainable. But to make this vision a reality, proposals must be underpinned by a national commitment to housing design standards that deliver accessibility and adaptability in order to meet the needs of older and disabled people.

“It’s not enough to assess the equality of access to review planning applications in broad terms, we must evaluate what the overall impact of reforms will be on the likely quality and design of homes that get built.”

CAE is currently supporting a number of local authority housing and planning teams to appraise accessibility of plans submitted for residential and mixed-use developments. CAE are also sharing knowledge and expertise through the provision of bespoke training for planners on accessible housing standards.

CAE’s consultants have worked on access design appraisals for housing projects of all sizes – from single dwellings to large scale developments – assisting throughout the whole design process.

Our clients include Southwark Council, Cherwell Council, Homes England and Ebbsfleet Development Authority.

An access design appraisal is one of a number of consultancy services offered by CAE. An appraisal helps to ensure accessibility is thought of from the outset of a project.

To find out more about CAE’s access and design appraisals and best practice improvements for your project, email info@cae.org.uk or call 0207 822 8232.