Housing and independent living
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Have your say about improving the accessibility of new homes

Cher_ScopeCher_Scope Community Team Posts: 2,472 Disability Gamechanger
The government are currently carrying out a consultation about how to raise the accessibility of new houses.

if you want to get involved and have your say, you have until 1 December 2020 to respond.

You can submit any feedback via:

Responding online 

or

Emailing: [email protected]

or 

Writing to:
Accessible Homes Consultation
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
2nd Floor SW, Fry Building
2 Marsham Street
London
SW1P 4DF

If you have any thoughts about it that would like to share with the community, feel free to leave them in the comments below :)

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Replies

  • janer1967janer1967 Community champion Posts: 6,278 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi 

    I find new homes are more accessible anyway due to the regulations eg width of doors 

    I live in a new build bungalow classed as dual function it doesnt have rails etc but is easy to get in out even in my chair  but because it isnt disabled as such it has a bathroom with bath and shower rather than a wet room 

    Also the worktops are normal height, I also only have one entrance / exit so do worry in the event of fire as I would have to go past every room in the house to get to that door, so would have to throw myself out the window as least it only 1 storey  
  • Cher_ScopeCher_Scope Community Team Posts: 2,472 Disability Gamechanger
    Oh heck @janer1967 we don't want you throwing yourself out of any window.  I think that'd be good feedback to send in.  Your insight as someone with lived experience is invaluable.
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  • janer1967janer1967 Community champion Posts: 6,278 Disability Gamechanger
    I will send in the issues just so others can be helped 
  • janer1967janer1967 Community champion Posts: 6,278 Disability Gamechanger
    Had a look but its a bit too intense and detailed to complete 
  • Cher_ScopeCher_Scope Community Team Posts: 2,472 Disability Gamechanger
    edited November 2020
    Oh dear, that doesn't sound accessible (the irony) :( 

    Could you email it straight to them?
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  • newbornnewborn Member Posts: 623 Pioneering
    There is lots of work already done inventing the wheel. Habinteg started, and others, including london councils and especially Greenwich, are tweaking.e.g. 'wheelchair' width needs to be ok for bariatric electric, which also is sense for furniture moving, or getting people in and out on stretchers, or whatever will be needed by all future users, disabled or not, and their visitors. 

    Seriously disabled people need, built in from construction, the OPTION to increase the wiring circuits, without ripping up floors, walls or ceilings or spoiling decorations.   This is because often they need electrically controlled curtains, entry doors, lights, bed raisers, hoists, etc., and loads more sockets than others would need.  There's no need to pre-wire every newbuild for such extreme extra use, but it's important the wiring can be easily run if or when needed.

     I have a strong view there is no excuse for any mean little high windows.  Daylight and views are vital for those indoors, or in bed.  All lintels could just as easily be floor to ceiling, with opening doors and even small balconies, so people in bed can see out, and can tend plants or see birds, and get a cooling through draft in summer and feel the sun even by having the bed wheeled over to the open french window.  Also, when constructing, walls can be  made non supporting, so in future, those who need to divide a room, or enlarge a room, can do so.   No blocks of flats without separate lift shaft, usable DURING fire,  to allow disabled or frail residents to escape without running downstairs ( and no, since Grenfell, it is NOT good enough to say people should stay put and wait to fry)

    My big point is that ALL newbuild should be access and eco friendly, to begin to redress the dire shortage. 

     It's as if the entire housing stock in the country is the same as making the entire clothes supply in children's sizes.   Actually, that's a good analogy, because if all the clothes were in adult sizes, it would at least be possible to cut them down a bit for children, so everyone could at least have clothes.  But if they are all too small, bigger people cannot get into them at all. Everyone can get into a wide door.  Everyone can enjoy light bright floor to ceiling windows and lots of balconies.  Making homes pleasant for disabled people doesn't make them unpleasant for others.  Plus, the 'others' are only T.A.B.S.  (temporarily able bodied)  Sooner or later, even the young athlete will be injured, and in time become old, and quite possibly become in some way disabled at various points, even recovering from major surgery and needing months in bed, then barely able to walk.
  • woodbinewoodbine Member Posts: 2,247 Disability Gamechanger
    I think there's a lot of work to be done on new homes the biggest task is to build them we need a million new homes and we need them ASAP, we need them to be energy efficient and yes we need them accessible but as I say most of all we need them.
  • newbornnewborn Member Posts: 623 Pioneering
    Noooooo.   It is an area I have specialised in.  You can't build first, think later.  The entire national housing stock has virtually zero properly accessible eco friendly homes.   The big problem is that the local authorities are lobbied by developers and don't even do the minimum theoretically built into law.  A percentage are meant to be to standard, but the developer will blackmail by saying the loss of profit makes it less economically attractive, so unless the planning consent lets them break the law by not building any accessible homes at all, they will go off sulking and build nothing.   

    a) It's a lie.  The document  admits the average extra cost is £1,400. (For M4(2))   The better is M4(3), which ALL newbuild should be, to redress the shortage.   Retro-fitting is never satisfactory and costs a fortune, to the public purse or to the individual.  Nobody is fully fit throughout life.  Everyone is at best a T.A.B (temporarily Able Bodied)

    b) It's irrelevant.   The job of government is not to maximise profit for private developers.  It is to obey the equality law.  Having no suitable housing is a major problem not only for the disabled and elderly, but for the central and local governments and N.H.S.   Ruined lives in solitary confinement for years, staring at a wall, trapped in the wrong building, will cause old and disabled people to need putting in care homes at thousands of pounds a week, or having carers to do what they could do for themselves, if only they could get around, or even something as important as having a clean and drying w.c., (standard, therefore fairly cheap, in Japan) instead of the cheapest u.k. one the builder can find, makes the difference between the dignity and independence of managing the loo alone, or needing to wear nappies and have carers come to clean you.   NOTE The so called Equalities Impact on this document declared There Is NO impact, if the consultation chooses the option of having NO disabled housing

    c) The entire housing system is broken.  Not only the national stock having virtually no stock suitable for an entire lifetime's variations in mobility and health, but also the unfit-for-purpose division into three occupancy   styles, none satisfactory or flexible for modern conditions.  Council housing gives lifelong tenancy at artificially cheap rents, which is preposterous since Housing Benefit was introduced for periods when the occupant is impoverished.   Private housing gives precarious tenancy, ended at two months without fault, and extremely costly, particularly to anyone who has committed the crime of saving up a modest sum because they will have no private pension or wealthy relative for rainy days.  Ownership is often a trap for instance in an unsaleable flat with cladding, or where people need to move in a hurry during a static market. 

     Average lengths of stay when housing was more readily changeable were seven years.  Now it is over twenty.   That isn't because suddenly nobody needs to move to be near a family member or a new employment opportunity.  It's because they are stuck in the wrong home in the wrong place at the wrong cost.  There are other, better systems in other countries, such as Germany, or Singapore.   The probable   solution is to have no such thing as private or council tenancy, and no bar on people entering an open but indefinite tenancy with the government as head landlord.

     Current private landlords could choose to hand the management of the property to the central pool, with indemnity, no need to worry about problem tenants, and an option to sell with first refusal to the central authority at any time.    Council tenancies could be converted, giving current occupants a chance to move around as freely as private tenants, and the incentive not to under-occupy, because they would pay full rent, assisted by Housing Benefit in times of poverty, just like anyone else.  There would be an incentive for owner occupiers to transfer themselves and/or their property into the commonhold, if they couldn't afford the mortgage, or couldn't sell, or needed a quick move.   New housing would be funded from pension funds and private investors, who are keen for somewhere secure to invest long term, particularly in the world-turned-upside-down by pandemics and climate change and improved technology but more unemployment and instability.  It would be government owned for private rent, and ALL to M4(3) apart from rare exceptions.
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