Commitment to lifetime homes design welcomed
12th August 2013
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Commitment to lifetime homes design welcomed

7 August 2013

A county councillor has welcomed a borough council commitment to ensure new homes are designed to be fit for an ageing population and is hoping more will follow.

Our Deputy Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Greater Heanor member, Councillor Paul Jones, praised Amber Valley Borough Council's proposals which seek to ensure that any new housing developments and changes to existing buildings should be designed in line with the Lifetime Homes Design criteria.

Lifetime Homes Design criteria is a series of 16 standards intended to make homes more easily adaptable for lifetime use as people get older, at a minimal cost.

In 2008 the Government announced its intention to work towards all new homes being built to Lifetime Homes standards.

We are already embracing the criteria and where it is a partner in providing extra care housing, the designs are scrutinised to ensure they are appropriate for older people and fully adaptable in line with the principles of Lifetime Homes.

The Lifetime Homes criteria include:

  • parking (width of space or potential to widen spaces so they are accessible to people with mobility problems)
  • approach to home from parking space, ie distance should be as short as possible, level or gently sloping and wide enough paths
  • communal entrances (should be well-lit, have a level threshold, suitable width)
  • internal doorways and hallways (should be able to be used by people with mobility aids including wheelchairs)
  • entrance level living space and potential for entrance level bed space (in homes with two or more storeys, there should be entrance level space that could be used as a temporary bedroom and living space)
  • entrance level toilet and shower (where there is no bathroom on the ground floor, there should be an accessible toilet, with potential for a shower to be installed)
  • potential for fitting of hoists in bedroom/bathroom − ceilings should be capable of supporting such equipment
  • bathrooms - must be accessible and on the same floor as the main bedroom
  • Bathroom walls − should be capable of taking firm fixings and support for adaptation, for example grab rails
  • windows and window handles − should allow people to see out when seated and each room should have a window that can be opened by people with restricted movement and reach
  • location of light switches, taps, electric switches and sockets, TV, telephone and computer points and other controls used regularly or in an emergency − all should be able to be used by all, including people with restricted movement and limited reach.

Councillor Jones said:

"Amber Valley Borough Council's proposals are a great step forward in ensuring that residents can stay in their homes for as long as possible and they fit in well with the county council's developing accommodation, care and support strategy for older people.

"It is important that older people and those with disabilities are given the opportunity to remain in a home environment for as long as possible.

"We know that the reason many people go in to residential care is because their own homes are not suitable for them as they get older, which is why these Lifetime Homes standards are so important in future planning.

"If local planning authorities adopt this progressive attitude we will be future-proofing the housing stock and ensuring that as the population gets progressively older that the need for them to move out of their family home is reduced."

Amber Valley's proposals are set out in its draft Core Strategy − Local Plan part one, and a consultation on the plans closes on 23 August 2013.

About the Author

Sarah A

Member since: 10th July 2012

Hi, I'm Sarah. I've lived in Heanor with my family for over 10 years and I'm passionate about our beautiful little corner of this historical county. If you know of something that's great about our area,...

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