14 Nov 2022

Planners integral to meeting the needs of England’s ageing population

In the Planning for Older People practice advice released today, the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) highlights the important role planners are playing in meeting the needs of England’s ageing population.

Most existing housing stock within England fails to meet the needs of its ageing population. By focusing on the quality and location of homes, and by retrofitting existing homes and investing in alternate options to mainstream housing, planners can meet the country’s net zero ambitions, tackle the housing crisis, and address the health and well being needs of older people.

But planners must continue to be innovative and proactive when planning for an ageing population in the UK. The RTPI’s Housing for Older People practice advice demonstrates how the planning system can enable the development of accessible, well-maintained, and affordable homes in locations that provide access to essential local services and opportunities for social connections.

Victoria Hills, chief executive of the Royal Town Planning Institute said: “Proactive planning for older people will help deliver much-needed homes in the right places and build community hubs where older people can easily and safely reach the everyday shops and services that they need.

“The RTPI’s practice advice demonstrates how, by working collaboratively with care workers, housing providers and developers, planners can help meet the country’s net zero ambitions, tackle the housing crisis, and address the health and wellbeing of our ageing population.”

Sarah Davis, senior policy and practice officer at the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) said: “CIH believes that the home is fundamental to health and wellbeing. For older people, living in homes that suit their needs and provide appropriate support and opportunities to engage with others is a huge benefit for living well and independently in older age.

“We welcome the opportunity to support this briefing from RTPI which will support local planners to include specialist homes in local plans and enable this opportunity to be available for more older people in their local areas.”

Joan Rutherford, chair of Older People's Housing Champions said: "The Older People's Housing Champions were delighted to be invited to contribute to this Practice Advice.

“We believe that everyone should have access to a suitable home - whatever their age - including in later life. We hope that this advice will help planners and others to adequately plan Housing for Older People."

Henry Smith, senior programme manager for Homes at the Centre for Ageing Better, said: “We are very pleased to have had the opportunity to contribute to the RTPI’s Housing for Older People practice advice. We know that housing needs among older people are diverse and so good planning needs to deliver diverse solutions.

“It is also vital to ensure that older people have a voice in determining what is the ‘right’ housing for older people and that planners create places where people of all ages are able to live healthy and active later lives.”