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Huge number of new homes needed for 46% rise in older people

PUBLISHED: 07:30 26 May 2020 | UPDATED: 09:29 26 May 2020

House builders will have to provide more homes tailored to the needs of the growing number of older people in east Suffolk Picture: ANDREW HENDRY

House builders will have to provide more homes tailored to the needs of the growing number of older people in east Suffolk Picture: ANDREW HENDRY

Andrew Hendry

Thousands more homes for older people will be provided in east Suffolk in the next two decades after community leaders were told they needed to take more action to help the fastest growing sector of the population.

The eastern half of the county will see the number of people over 65 increase by 46% by 2036 – a further 40,000 households.

Many of these will need housing built specific to their needs or have houses adapted to cater for reduced mobility or disabilities – East Suffolk Council also concedes that many older people are also living in houses too large for their needs and which would provide family homes.

Local Plan inquiry inspector Philip Lewis told the council its plans for housing for older people needed to be clearer and did “not address clearly the significant need identified and would not be effective in delivering the market or affordable housing units”.

More details about housing numbers was needed and currently “the overall level of provision proposed for housing for older people is not quantified”.

He added: “The Local Plan should be clear in what it is seeking to deliver in terms of housing for older people and should be amended accordingly.”

Now the council has made modifications to the Local Plan – and all developments of more than 10 new homes will have to show how older people’s needs are being met in those properties.

The council said “that housing development over the plan period will contribute to the significant need for accommodation for older people”.

Provision of specialist accommodation (sheltered and extra care) will be less feasible on sites of below 50 dwellings but will be expected to be considered in development of 50-plus homes.

A number of developments – including the North Felixstowe and South Saxmundham Garden Neighbourhoods, and land at Brackenbury Sports Centre, Suffolk Police HQ, and Woodbridge Town Football Club will all expect to have specialist provision, while land north of Conway Close and Swallow Close, Felixstowe, will be expected to be bungalows.

East Suffolk Council says people have until July 10 to comment on the proposed modifications to the plan.

David Ritchie, cabinet member for planning, said: “I would encourage people to respond to the consultation on the modifications because once adopted, the Local Plan will be the starting point in determining future planning applications and ensuring new developments are properly planned and of the highest possible quality.”

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