Policy HSG6: Specialised Accommodation for Older People and those with Specialised Needs

Open22 Jan, 2024, 10:00am - 4 Mar, 2024, 11:59pm

Policy HSG6:  Specialist Accommodation for Older People and those with Specialised Needs

Specialist housing and accommodation for older people and people with specialised needs will be provided on strategic sites, as identified in Policy SPS3.

Proposals for all types of specialist accommodation to meet the needs of older people and people with specialised needs will be permitted within settlement policy boundaries where the location:

  1. Is well integrated with the local community; and
  2. Is appropriate in terms of access to facilities, services and public transport, taking into account the nature of the accommodation and the needs of its occupiers, staff and visitors.

Care uses will also be exceptionally permitted adjacent to settlements where:

  1. They fall within Use Class C2 (including nursing and residential care) or include a mix of C2 and C3 accommodation but are predominantly Use Class C2; or are wholly affordable housing accommodation (Use Class C3) that would provide on-site care regulated by the Care Quality Commission; and
  2. There is a proven unmet need for accommodation of that type in that local area; and
  3. It can be demonstrated that there are no more suitable and deliverable sites within settlement policy boundaries in the area within which the need arises; and
  4. The massing and scale of the built form is appropriate to the site’s location, taking into account local character and the sensitivity of the landscape.

All proposals will be designed to reflect best practice and take into account the needs of the end user. Where proposals would provide apartments or flats, they shall provide a satisfactory standard of communal areas and private open spaces, such as balconies, for occupants.

The council will require affordable housing on all developments that provide dwellings in accordance with Policy HSG2 (Affordable Housing). Where it can be demonstrated that it would not be possible to provide affordable accommodation on-site, developers will be required to pay a financial contribution of equivalent value towards the provision of affordable housing.

Proposals that result in the loss of specialist accommodation will only be permitted where it can be demonstrated that they are no longer needed, or the accommodation is no longer practical, desirable or viable to retain. It should be demonstrated that all options for reproviding any type of specialist accommodation on the site have been considered.

10.45 The number of older people living in the borough is expected to continue to increase over the plan as people are living longer. It is therefore necessary to ensure that appropriate accommodation in suitable locations is available to meet everyone’s needs. It is also necessary to consider the requirements of people with other specialist care needs.
10.46 Older people have a range of income levels, aspirations and differing levels of health, fitness and disability. These diverse needs will be recognised through the encouragement of a broad range of housing choices including a variety of housing types, tenures and specialist accommodation. This will include sheltered housing, retirement living, extra care housing/assisted living, residential care and nursing care.
10.47 In order to meet needs, it will be necessary to consent approximately an additional 600 units of sheltered housing (in Use Class C3) and approximately 300 care bed spaces (in Use Class C2) over the plan period. This will be met through the delivery of market and affordable specialist housing and accommodation on the strategic sites (as identified in Policy SPS3) and by enabling suitable windfall development.
10.48 The majority of specialist accommodation would be expected to be located within settlements. However, some types of specialist accommodation providing high levels of care may exceptionally be permitted outside settlements where they would meet an identified and evidenced local need, and it can be demonstrated that there are no better sites available. Market accommodation offering lower levels of care and support, such as sheltered housing, will be considered in the same way as conventional housing.
10.49 It is recognised that older people generally aspire to live close to where they were living in mainstream accommodation. For the purposes of identifying need and interpreting ‘local area’, this will generally be assessed settlement-wide. Should other approaches be proposed, this would need to be robustly justified.
10.50 A range of types of accommodation will also be required to meet other specialist needs. The council will also support the delivery of clustered small supported housing schemes which can support a range of needs by providing ‘step down’ accommodation from institutions to help people live more independently and move-on accommodation from hostels.
10.51 Where specialist accommodation is provided, it will be important to ensure that it effectively provides residents with a high level of amenity, and enables them to live independently as far as possible for example by ensuring it is located close to good public transport, local amenities, health services and shops. For older persons, their design should reflect best practice as set out in HAPPI (or any subsequent guidance).
10.52 In accordance with Policy HSG2, affordable housing will be required on all units that have the physical characteristics of dwellings for independent existence, including units in Use Class C3. In some instances, specialist accommodation (within Use Class C3) may be sought as a component of the affordable housing on market-led sites.
10.53 Extensions to specialist accommodation which will provide additional capacity should also be assessed against the requirements of this policy.
10.54 Where specialist accommodation is proposed to be lost this should be robustly justified. As part of this, it should be demonstrated, through a thorough marketing exercise, that the site could not be reused for any type of specialist accommodation.
Implementation and Monitoring

The policy will be implemented through:

  • Decisions on planning applications.
  • Working in partnership with the Housing Department, HCC Adults’ Health and Care, Registered Providers, and other relevant bodies to ensure the delivery of specialist accommodation to meet needs.

The policy will be monitored against:

  • The number and tenure of specialist units granted planning permission and delivered inside/outside the SPB.