How encouraging to see a really practical suggestion emerging from HAPPI, the new think tank, so early in its life. I’m referring to the news article carried in Friday’s Building magazine.
It is very fortunate that this new group (Housing our Ageing Population Panel for Innovation) is chaired by Lord Best who, with his background with the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and current role at Hanover Housing Association, is somebody who has had some real front line experience.n
Although the well-publicised problems in the housing market and the continuing shortage of development finance are our major impediments to progress, the planning system remains the biggest single hurdle preventing private sector developers from meeting the tidal wave of demand that we will see for high quality specialist accommodation for older people, over the next 25 years.n
Freeing up land within new larger housing schemes would be a good move but with one important caveat – many new housing estates are developed in relatively remote locations and can be nothing more than dormitories for adjoining towns or cities. Older people need to be part of a community because, as we know, isolation and loneliness are the biggest problems for older people ranking well ahead of their health and accommodation needs.n
Therefore, any development needs to incorporate high quality community and leisure facilities and active management in order to create a vibrant community for the residents to enjoy.n
So thumbs up for HAPPI so far which will be presenting its recommendations to ministers at a meeting on October 19, for publication at the end of November.