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Planning for an ageing population in rural England: The place of housing design

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Publication details

JournalPlanning Practice and Research
DateE-pub ahead of print - 8 May 2009
DatePublished (current) - 2009
Issue number2
Number of pages18
Pages (from-to)233-249
Early online date8/05/09
Original languageEnglish


A key aspect of planning for the future housing supply in rural areas of England is the demographic context of an ageing society. Older people have a very diverse range of aspirations and needs in relation to their housing and wider sense of well-being. Planning is part of a wider policy response to facilitate a range of housing options for older people, including age-specific housing and in the mainstream housing stock. A key factor in responding to future aspirations and needs is the design of new housing. The government has signalled its intention to move towards the application of lifetime homes standards to all new housing in the future, firstly by encouraging take up of these design standards in the private sector, but with the option to review progress and the possible need for regulation in 2013. This very positive policy development would help to enable older people to exercise greater choice and control over their circumstances. However, a consideration of the prospects for increasing the supply of housing with higher design standards in small rural communities suggests a very slow pace of change in the housing stock. In addition, therefore, there needs to be a more immediate focus on other policies to address the challenges facing an ageing society in the countryside.

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