Andrew Burgess, Planning Director of Churchill Retirement Living responds to today’s planning reforms:
“Unfortunately, these new planning reforms don’t give sufficient weight to older people’s housing needs.
“There is a danger that elements of these reforms will actually act as a barrier for freeing up family homes for those wanting to downsize, as there will not be sufficient housing for them.
“We’re concerned to hear that presumption will be in favour of starter home development on brownfield land. With so much focus on those at the start of the housing ladder, local authorities must also ensure an appropriate range of housing is offered to older people, not just blindly adhering to this presumption without properly considering local need.
“That said, we feel it’s absolutely right that Government will now have powers to intervene when local authorities fail to produce local plans setting out how housing needs will be met.
“It’s disappointing too that measures to exempt starter homes from CIL and section 106 contributions haven’t also been applied to older people’s housing. By applying this to just one type of housing, the market could well become distorted, and specialist developers like us disincentivised to build.
“As a developer of housing for those aged over 60 who build exclusively on brownfield sites, we are currently experiencing long delays on planning decisions. No housing developer wants sites to sit idle, so any penalties for those authorities that make 50 per cent or fewer planning decisions on time will make a real difference. However, we see no mention of better resourcing the Planning Inspectorate - this continues to heavily impact on the supply of housing coming forward. ”