Policy HOU 2: Specialist housing provision
- The delivery, retention and refurbishment of supported and specialist housing, which meets an identified need, will be supported. Supported and specialist housing should be designed to satisfy the requirements of the specific use or group it is intended for, whilst being adaptable and responsive to changing needs over the lifetime of the development and meet the requirements of other relevant local plan policies.
- Measures that assist people to live independently in their own homes and to lead active lives in the community will be supported subject to other relevant local plan policies. This could include adaptable homes and the utilisation of assistive technology, which can accommodate the changing needs of occupants as they grow older.
- Schemes that provide specialist housing for older people, whilst promoting independent living, will be supported, provided that the following criteria are met:
- the type of specialist accommodation proposed meets identified needs and contributes to maintaining the balance of the housing stock in the locality;
- the proposal provides easy access to services, community and support facilities, including health facilities and public transport, enabling its residents to live independently as part of the community;
- the proposal meets the accessibility and wheelchair housing standards set out in Policy HOU 8 'Space, accessibility and wheelchair housing standards';
- the design of the proposal, including any individual units of accommodation, should be capable of meeting the specialist accommodation support and care needs of the occupier. This includes pick up and drop off facilities close to the principal entrance suitable for taxis (with appropriate kerbs), minibuses and ambulances and the ability to provide assistive technology and internet connectivity where relevant;
- the provision of suitable open space/grounds that can be used by residents;
- the provision of suitable levels of safe storage and charging facilities for residents’ mobility scooters, where relevant; and vii. affordable housing provision will be required in line with the thresholds and policy approach set out in LPS Policy SC 5 'Affordable homes', where independent dwellings would be formed.
8.6 Supported and specialist accommodation could include:
- move-on accommodation for people leaving hostels, refuges and other supported housing, to enable them to live independently;
- accommodation for care leavers;
- accommodation for disabled people (including people with physical and sensory impairments and learning difficulties) who require additional support or for whom living independently is not possible;
- accommodation for people with mental health issues who require intensive support;
- temporary accommodation for rough sleepers and those with substance misuse;
- accommodation for victims of domestic abuse; and
- accommodation for older persons.
8.7 Whilst the term independence is often used in the context of older people, promoting independence is important across all stages of life, young children, throughout adulthood and into old age. Our priority is to reach people early and keep them in their own homes through prevention and early intervention to reduce people reaching crisis point. This will include equipment and adaptations to support continued independence and enable care to be provided at home, and work with registered providers to improve the use of existing accessible housing stock.
8.8 The population projections used in the Cheshire East Housing Development Study 2015 identify that the population of Cheshire East is likely to increase from 383,600 persons to 431,700 persons over the 12-year period 2018-30; a 12-year increase of 48,100 persons. The population in older age groups is projected to increase substantially during this period, with an increase in the population aged 60 or over of 35,600, of which over 60% are projected to be 75+ (22,250 persons). This is particularly important when establishing the types of housing required and the need for specialist housing for older people. Whilst most of these older people will already live in the area and many will not move from their current homes, those that do move home are likely to be looking for suitable housing.
8.9 The term 'older people' covers a range of people with differing needs. These can be addressed through a number of housing options either in specialist housing (for example, supported housing, extra care, assisted living, retirement villages, care homes and continuing care communities, residential and nursing care, close care or very sheltered housing); or mainstream housing (that is, people living independently in their own home, if necessary with some adaptations to their properties) depending on the level of care and support provided.
8.10 A large proportion of older people and vulnerable residents prefer to live at home. The council will consider applications to adapt or extend such houses in a positive and supportive manner as a means of helping more people to remain living independently in their own home, consistent with other policies in the local plan. An appropriate housing mix, in line with LPS Policy SC 4 'Residential mix' and Policy HOU 1 'Housing mix' should also provide for appropriate options for those residents in the borough looking for alternative housing options, such as downsizing.
8.11 The Cheshire East Residential Mix Assessment (2019) considers the need for specialist older person housing across the borough up to 2030. There is a current estimated need of 6,862 specialist housing units for older persons but this is expected to increase by a further 5,573 over the 2018-30 period, meaning that the total required additional provision up to 2030 for specialist housing for older people is estimated at 12,435. All of these properties are already counted within the Objectively Assessed Needs identified in the LPS.
8.12 The Cheshire East Residential Mix Assessment (2019) identifies that it is unlikely that all of the identified needs for older people will be delivered by specialist accommodation alone. Many householders identified as needing specialist accommodation will choose to remain in their own homes with appropriate assistance from social care providers, assistive technology and appropriate adaptations or downsize to more suitable accommodation. Furthermore, the health, longevity and aspirations of older people mean that they will often live increasingly healthier lifestyles and therefore future housing needs may be different from current identified needs.
8.13 The provision of specialist older persons accommodation should also consider the overall viability of development, in the longer term, including the availability of revenue funding for ongoing care and its procurement. It will also be important for the council and its partners to determine the most appropriate types of specialist older persons accommodation to be provided in the area. Early engagement with the council, the health service and other social care providers is recommended.
8.14 Where specialist accommodation for older people is proposed that would create independent dwellings, affordable housing will be required in line with the dwelling thresholds and policy approach set out in LPS Policy SC 5 'Affordable homes’. In accordance with Criterion 7 of LPS Policy SC5 'Affordable homes' in exceptional circumstances, where scheme viability may be affected by the provision of affordable housing at these thresholds, applicants will be expected to provide viability assessments to justify any alternative level of affordable housing provision and to meet the other policy requirements for affordable housing in LPS Policy SC 5 'Affordable homes'.
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