Draft NPF4 ‘fails to adequately consider housing needs of older people’

The Scottish Housing with Care Task Force (SHWCT) has criticised the Scottish Government’s draft Fourth National Planning Framework (Draft NPF4) for failing to adequately consider the housing needs of older people in Scotland.

Draft NPF4 'fails to adequately consider housing needs of older people'

Andrew Fyfe, chair of the SHWCTF

As it prepares to give evidence to the Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee of the Scottish Parliament on February 1, the SHWCT has highlighted that while Scotland’s over 65 population is predicted to increase by 30% by 2045 and those over 75 are predicted to increase by 54%, the draft NPF4 mentions older people only three times in its 131-page document.

The recent Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 introduces a requirement for the National Planning Framework to include a statement about how the ministers consider that development will inter alia meet the housing needs of older people; improve the health and wellbeing of people living in Scotland, improve equality and eliminate discrimination.

The SHWCT is disappointed that as currently drafted, NPF4 fails to coherently set out what needs to be done to consistently ensure that the housing needs of older people are being met by development plans and omits any underpinning evidence.

Currently, older people in Scotland have less than a tenth of the provision of housing with care available to them compared to New Zealand, the USA, Canada or Australia. Although England has low levels in comparison to these established nations, supply and investment is much more promising versus Scotland.

Steven Tolson of Goldcrest Communities Ltd said, “During the period of the NPF4, Scotland will witness a substantial change in its demographic structure. Lower fertility rates and people living longer will have a significant health, social and economic impact over the next 20 years. It is essential that we have a rigorous national plan to manage the consequences arising from our ageing population.”

Paul Harries of Lifecare Residences said: “With an ageing population, and a shrinking nursing home stock, there is a need for alternative ways of providing for the housing and care needs of older people. Housing with care is one of these alternatives.”

Recently the group has had support from MSP’s who are keen to see housing with care become an established form of housing in Scotland to ensure Scotland’s ageing population has a range of suitable accommodation for a variety of needs.

Andrew Fyfe, chair of the SHWCTF, added: “It is vital that the needs of older people are carefully considered in the planning system at a national level to ensure a cohesive approach across all local authorities in Scotland. The significance of NPF4 cannot be understated as it will determine how the housing needs of older people will be met until 2045.”

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