Publication: Pre-Submission Gloucester City Plan

Pre-Submission City Plan

Policy A6: Accessible and adaptable homes

In order to create accessible homes that meets the needs of an aging population, frail and disabled persons, and to meet the City Council's duty under the Equalities Act,the following accessible and adaptable homes standards will be met:

  1. 50% of housing development should be of a size, configuration and internal layout to enable Building Regulations requirement M4 (2) 'accessible and adaptable dwellings' to be met; and
  2. 4 (four) % of the affordable housing component of every housing development should meet Building Regulations requirement M4 (3) 'wheelchair user dwellings' to be wheelchair accessible or be easily adapted for residents who are wheelchair users.

3.1.40 Accessible homes support the changing needs of residents from raising children through to mobility issues faced due to frailty, old age or through disability. The standards allow people to live independently maintaining their health and wellbeing for as much of their life as possible, either in their existing home or in alternative accommodation to meet their changing needs and aspiration within their neighbourhood or local area. This helps to promote safe, accessible environments that promote inclusion and community cohesion.

3.1.41 Homes built to M4 (2) standards have design features that have been tailored to foster accessible living, helping to accommodate old age, injury, disability, pregnancy and pushchairs or enable future adaptation to accommodate this diversity of use.

3.1.42 The National Planning Practice Guidance states that local plan policies for wheelchair accessible homes (M4 (3)) should only be applied to those dwellings where the local authority is responsible for allocating or nominating a person to live in that dwelling. In the interest of mixed and balanced communities, the Council would also encourage developers to build wheelchair accessible market homes, and Policy A7: Self build and custom build homes also supports provision of such homes.

3.1.43 Evidence shows a significant need for accessible and adaptable homes in Gloucester during the GCP period to meet the needs of an ageing population and those with a disability. Habintec 'Towards accessible housing: A toolkit for planning policy', provides a methodology for calculating the number of wheelchair user households with unmet housing needs. To support this policy the toolkit has been applied and it demonstrates that 4% of affordable housing needs to be wheelchair accessible to meet unmet and future wheelchair housing need.

3.1.44 In terms of adaptable housing, an analysis has been undertaken to understand likely needs. It demonstrates an under-supply of existing homes and a future requirement for homes that meet this standard. Further information is available in the Housing Background Paper, available to download from the City Council's website.

3.1.45 Developers of Specialist Housing may wish to increase the level of M4(3) category homes to reflect the needs of the intended occupants.

3.1.46 Compliance with the criteria should be demonstrated in the Design and Access Statement submitted with the planning application and conditions will be applied to any consent granted to ensure the standards are complied with.