HOUSING for the elderly has been identified as a priority by Ribble Valley Borough Council.
The Conservative-controlled authority has resolved that all developments of 30 dwellings or more must include 15% homes for elderly people. Of that 15%, at least half must be classified as “affordable housing” and included in the 30% of the site categorised as affordable – the remaining half will be market sales.
It is proposed to adopt this policy as part of the council’s Core Strategy, the long-term blueprint to guide and inform how the borough develops up to 2028. It would require all developers to build adapted accommodation – flats, bungalows or warden-controlled sheltered accommodation – on all these larger developments, unless they seek special dispensation from the council on the basis that it is not economically viable, or that the developer can instead contribute agreed sums to another project elsewhere in the borough, so the full quota will be constructed.
Longridge councillor Ken Hind, a member of the Housing Committee and vice-chairrman of Ribble Valley Conservative Association, said: “The thinking behind this policy is that the Ribble Valley has an ageing population projected to increase by 49% in the next 15 years. The market has failed to meet the housing needs of this age group, so it will be delivered through special requirements imposed on builders by the council.
“The housing waiting list of 828 (August 2010) showed that 443 – more than half – were seeking adapted accommodation for the elderly. If elderly Ribble Valley residents move to adapted accommodation, their vacated homes can be taken by families and those starting on the housing ladder, easing the housing shortage which the Government project will arise by 2025.
Coun. Hind added: “In my view councillors must now insist upon elderly accommodation being included in every major planning application being made to the ccouncil. For the future it will mean that if the Standen Estate project is granted approval, of the 1040 homes proposed, 158 will be specially adapted for the elderly. This would mean much of the requirement for elderly accommodation in the Clitheroe area in the future will be met by this new settlement.
“The message that this policy sends out to developers is that the council do no want you to just build five-bedroom houses on greenfield sites, however and wherever you wish, but want you to meet the needs of the local population – which includes accommodation for the elderly, young people starting out on the housing ladder and those on low incomes.”