Close to 200 people joined Habinteg and CAE’s 2022 Accessible Homes Week webinar to find out about the government’s July decision to raise the mandatory accessibility standard for new homes in England to the M4(2) Category 2 accessible and adaptable dwellings standard.
The 20 September Zoom event featured a live panel discussion with questions from the audience of local authority Planning and Building Control teams, and related Housing sector professionals including architects, designers Housing Occupational Therapists.
Local planning policies
Opening the session, Habinteg’s CEO Nick Apetroaie, said: “We need local planning authorities to be thorough and proactive in planning for the housing needs of wheelchair users by specifically naming M4(3) standards in local planning policies, with clear percentages of new homes required in each plan.
“The government has said it needs to consult further on the detail of the new policy. We need this to happen as soon as possible because there is a growing need for flexible and accessible housing to meet the needs of disabled and older people.”
Prepare for changes
Nick passed the baton to Habinteg’s Director of Social Impact & External Affairs, Christina McGill, who opened an informative discussion with the panel by first introducing CAE’s Access Adviser, Natasha Davies, about the need for accessible homes and how the sector should prepare for local policy changes following the outcome the government’s decision.
“As Category 2 accessible and adaptable homes will soon be taken care of through the new baseline regulations, I think local authorities need to consider if their Planning and Building Control teams could spend more time looking at the need for homes to be built to the Category 3 wheelchair accessible housing standard,” Natasha said.
You’ll find Natasha about five and a half minutes into the event’s recording.
Advertise accessible homes
Christina spoke with Stanley Lau, Planning Manager, London Borough of Waltham Forest, on how Waltham Forest is meeting the need for accessible homes in the borough, with support from CAE.
He said: “I think what’s important is how you advertise accessible homes. At Waltham Forest, as part of any planning permission, there is normally a clause in section 106 agreements that states wheelchair homes are marketed exclusively for a period of one year. This is captured within a wheelchair accessible dwelling marketing strategy.”
Find out what else Stanley had to say on advertising at about 16 minutes into the recording.
Meanwhile, Matt Kelly, Head of Development, Habinteg, spoke about the top five practical obstacles local authorities may face when developing their own accessible & adaptable homes.
He said: “Habinteg built a scheme a few years back and we thought we’d designed and built out a fantastically accessible scheme.. until we noted that one of the barriers that any potential residents were going to encounter in the immediate built environment was a lack of drop curb.”
Take a look at what other advice Matt had about obstacles when developing accessible & adaptable homes from around the 30-minute mark of the recording.
Finally, the audience was treated to a new take on family living from Ben Williamson, Director of Architecture, Phippen Randall & Parkes, who spoke about building homes for multigenerational living.
“At the outset of our projects, we always start with a meeting, and that meeting sets the brief that will set the mixture of dwellings that we get, which is also informed by things like planning, policy and the local market.
“And, what I’ve heard an awful lot of is ‘we know what people want because we know what sells’. And what normally sells, are conventional homes, because many of us lead conventional lives.
“However, maybe the children don’t leave – about 20% of 25 to 34-year-olds live with their parents – or maybe you don’t want to go into a care home, maybe you can’t afford to go into a care home, maybe you don’t want to leave your community or you want to be cared for by your family. In those situations, you end up with multigenerational households.”
- View the full 2022 Accessible Homes Week webinar
- Habinteg 2022 Accessible Homes Week webinar transcript_200922
- Take a look at the Housing and disabled people toolkit produced by Habinteg and the Equality and Human Rights Commission to support delivery of quality homes and services to disabled people in England
- Find out more about Centre for Accessible Environment’s accessible housing consultancy and training on housing schemes, development and design
- Book a CAE accessible housing course
- Learn more about CAE’s bespoke accessible housing courses