Publication: Pre-Submission Gloucester City Plan

Pre-Submission City Plan

Policy A5: Specialist housing

Development proposals for specialist housing must be:

  1. Supported by evidence of the demonstrable need for this form of housing within Gloucester City;
  2. Suitable for the intended occupiers in relation to the affordability, quality, design and type of facilities with, if appropriate, the provision of support and/or care supported by a sustainable business model;
  3. Accessible to local shops and services, public transport and community facilities appropriate to the needs of the intended occupiers; and
  4. In a location that avoids excessive concentration of such housing within any one street or small area.

Where the development falls within use class C3 (dwelling houses), the development will be expected to contribute to the supply of affordable housing within Gloucester in accordance with Policy A2.

If development, including change of use, would involve a net loss of specialist residential floorspace, this will only be permitted where appropriate replacement specialist housing accommodation will be made that satisfies the above policy or it is demonstrated that there is no local need for the floorspace to be retained for the current or last use.

3.1.34 The UK has an ageing population and meeting the needs and aspirations of older, frail and disabled people is a priority. National and locally there is evidence that such housing should focus on the provision of well-designed adaptable, care-ready, HAPPI, general needs accommodation that meets identified needs and is suitable in terms of location, design and affordability. The accordance with the JCS, the City Council expects applications to support the delivery of inter-generational living and mixed and balanced communities in the city.

3.1.35 Specialist housing is defined as housing designed and designated for occupation by older people, disabled people, and vulnerable people with specific housing needs. Such provision will include an element of care and support needed to allow residents to live as independently as possible. Specialist housing includes the following types of provision:

  • Sheltered housing
  • Residential care and nursing homes
  • Extra-care housing
  • Shared homes
  • Cluster units
  • Respite, rehabilitation and convalescent accommodation
  • Hostel accommodation
  • Accommodation for the homeless.

3.1.36 The council will work closely with Social and Health Care commissioners to assess needs and develop strategies that will help inform development proposals. Early engagement with relevant commissioners by developers is essential to ensure there is a need for the form level and type of accommodation proposed.

3.1.37 Design is a critical element of any development or dwelling housing but has a particular relevance to specialist housing and older persons' housing: for example, space and flexibility, daylight in the home and in shared spaces, balconies and/ functional high-quality outdoor space, adaptability and 'care ready' design. Proposals for specialist housing will be expected to reflect existing and or emerging best practice in relation to the proposed occupants.

3.1.38 Older persons households, and disabled persons households often have a limited income. Therefore, applications will need to demonstrate how the housing costs and related service charges are sustainable in relation to local earnings and incomes of the specific group for which the housing is designed. A scheme's eligibility to be treated as 'exempt accommodation' for Local Housing Allowance purposes is not an indication that the provision is affordable housing, merely that the residents housing costs are benefit supported. Consideration will need to be given to future needs of residents and whether benefit dependency undermines longer term personal development, care, or housing needs.

3.1.39 Given that specialist housing often provides housing for vulnerable persons, the safeguarding of their health and wellbeing is a key issue. Proposals will need to demonstrate that the landlord and service providers are either on a relevant procurement framework and/or can demonstrate that they are a fit and proper organisation to deliver the proposed scheme. Legal agreement will allow for the substitution of landlords or service providers whose business model risks long term delivery of the housing or the support/services, or the management of the scheme or provision of support/services are deemed inadequate by the Council and /or Social /Health Care commissioners.