HS9 Mobility Housing Policy
In developments of 20 or more new dwellings, the Local Planning Authority will seek to negotiate, where appropriate, the provision of dwellings specifically designed for, or capable of easy adaptation to, wheelchair standard.
Reasoned justification :
6.52 In recent years attention has been focused on the need to make housing in general more accessible to less mobile people. As many of these people are elderly or experience mobility problems the growth in specialist sheltered housing or residential and nursing homes has satisfied some of these demands. Estimates by the Wirral Association for Disability (WAD) indicate that 30,000 Wirral residents are disabled to some extent, five times the number officially registered with the Council’s Social Services Department. Over 1,200 of the 8,000 people on the 1995 Council House Waiting List have a medical, disabled or sheltered housing priority.
6.53 Policy HS9 is consistent with the approach emerging in the Merseyside Code of Practice on Access and Mobility, which is being prepared by all the Merseyside District Councils. However, with the need for many less mobile people to remain integrated in the community and not be placed in institutions, it is important that general policies should be framed to allow access to non-specialist housing. Many design features are set out in Supplementary Planning Guidance Note 46 and can also be easily applied to private housing as well as public buildings.
6.54 In the past, the Local Authority was able to construct mobility housing for rent, but with recent changes in housing legislation, more emphasis has been placed on Housing Associations and the private sector to provide for all housing needs. Whilst it would be undesirable to build in particular features in all new houses, it is important to design houses that can be easily adapted to take wheelchairs, for example by designing low entrance thresholds, halls that allow manoeuvring space, and door sets of an adequate width. Single storey accommodation, such as ground floor flats or bungalows, is the most appropriate, but consideration may be given by developers to provide adaptable housing of two storeys, where the houses have downstairs WC’s and straight staircases, suitable for stairlifts.
6.55 It is important that mobility housing is not concentrated to form potential “ghettos” for the less mobile. Accordingly, such housing should be distributed throughout new development. In practice many of the principles for mobility housing are easily achieved at the design stage, and such features as level access from outside the home will help all family members, and not just the less mobile.