Housing Specification Blog

“Rural proofing” benefits older people living in the countryside

September 11, 2012 Alexandra Blakeman Planning & Legislation

The Commission for Rural Communities(CRC) has said that the government’s planning laws will benefit elderly people living in some of Britain’s most rural areas.

New planning laws could benefit older people living in more rural areas. Click on image for original source

In the Telegraph it was reported that the CRC had praised the NPPF (planning laws published in March) for enabling rural residents to have more power over the housing built in their community.

Creating more housing options and transport links in rural communities is especially important for older residents. Feelings of isolation and loneliness can be exacerbated if social opportunities aren’t easily accessible.

Stuart Burgess, the commission’s chairman, said: “The Government has stated a commitment to ensuring that issues of fairness for people in rural areas accessing individual services are taken into account when developing policy.

“This report highlights a number of crucial factors that the Government and others need to consider when rural proofing policies and services. Older people, regardless of where they live, should enjoy equal opportunity of access to services for equal needs.”

The CRC has urged the government to prioritise the “rural proofing” of our countryside, so that elderly residents have equal access to local services.

What does “rural proofing” entail?

The term “rural proofing” refers to the efforts made by the government to integrate local services and improve links between towns and cities in order to stop rural residents feeling isolated or cut off. This may include better transport options or more housing which suits the needs of existing residents.

The CRC has recognised that bus passes are non-transferable between neighbouring communities and different types of public transport. It has been suggested that residents should be supplied with one all-encompassing travel card which permits access onto all types of transport within their own area and the neighbouring towns.

The CRC has suggested that concessionary passes should be replaced with a pay as you go travel scheme. This would allow residents to use all modes of transport as and when they wish.

Last week’s government overhaul of housing policy will see more sheltered housing being built in rural areas. It is crucial that planners take into account the accessibility of local towns and services when locating new housing schemes. The CRC reminded the government that housing needs change as we grow older – it’s therefore important that new builds cater for the requirements of existing residents rather than trying to attract external buyers.

Be Sociable, Share!

    housingplanning laws


    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *