Planning applications for new retirement developments have increased by more than 162 per cent since 2010, but risk falling unless the Government prioritises housing for older people, new research has found.
The report, compiled by law firm Pinsent Mason, said the jump in building was driven by new entrants to the market following the last recession, and an increasing interest from consumers in a type of home which fits between general housing and care homes.
Specialist retirement developers, including Churchill and Audley, have also reported a pick-up in buyer interest in the years since the global financial crisis.
Above: Churchill Retirement’s new Chantry Lodge Development in Andover
But Pinsent Mason’s report warned that unless local authorities allocate land, specifically for retirement housing, developers will become increasingly being priced out by general housing schemes as competition for sites stiffens.
The firm called on the Government to create a separate class for retirement housing to encourage more developers into the sector and to ensure that the national need for housing for older people is met.
Care homes, where nursing care is provided for residents, already sit outside normal planning rules.
Rebecca Warren, planning partner at Pinsent Masons, said: “If we can get the older generation into the right housing and free up the family property market this will certainly help with our housing crisis. Plus with more extra care units this will no doubt help to relieve bed blocking pressure on the NHS with a focus on care in your own home.”
The report said that local authorities should look to create housing zones with a special focus on retirement housing.
Ms Warren also said that forcing councils to consider retirement housing separately to their general need for new homes would ensure that a mix of homes were being built.
“There is more of an impetus on local authorities to find sites specifically for homes for elderly people to meet local need,” she said.