Merton CIL supports important move towards more accessible housing
Merton CIL is supporting a government plan to increase the number of accessible homes.
‘It’s surprising and really unacceptable that new homes are being built without the access features they are meant to have,’ comments Merton CIL’s Policy and Strategy Manager Michael Turner. ‘But that’s the situation we’ve been in for many years and we now have the prospect of action to improve things.
There are three levels of standards for accessibility features in new homes. All new homes must be at least as accessible for Disabled people to visit; a proportion of homes should have basic access features and be easily adaptable for Disabled people and a smaller proportion should be fully wheelchair accessible.
Councils decide on targets for the second two levels of access. Merton does well compared with most areas but it is a mixed picture. On the positive side, the in 2016 – 2017 borough exceeded a 90% target meeting level two standard. However, the target for 10% of new homes to be fully wheelchair accessible was missed with only 7% being built.
The government has consulted on options to increase the number of accessible new homes. Merton CIL is supporting an option that would mean all new homes have to meet the second level of access standards unless there are exceptional circumstances, and there would be a set percentage of new homes that would be wheelchair accessible.
‘It’s important that we see more progress on houses that are accessible and safe for Disabled people,’ continues Michael Turner. ‘The Grenfell Tower tragedy showed the very worst that can happen when Disabled people live in unsuitable, inaccessible housing. ‘We need to move to a situation where all Disabled people have proper housing options.’
You can see the government’s plans here:
Merton CIL’s full response is here: Merton CIL - Raising accessibility standards for new homes Consultation Response