McCarthy & Stone welcomes HAPPI 2 recommendations for housing our ageing population

06 December 2012

McCarthy & Stone, Britain’s leading builder of retirement apartments, has welcomed the publication of the HAPPI 2 report: Housing our Ageing Population: Plan for Implementation. Published by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Housing and Care for Older People, the report focuses on the value of building new homes specifically designed for older people.

This new report follows the original 2009 report Housing our Ageing Population: Panel for Innovation. This was a Government-sponsored document that called for a revolution in the design of older people’s housing in terms of space, quality and ambition. 

Gary Day, director of land and planning at McCarthy & Stone, commented:

“In 2009, HAPPI declared that the time has come for a national effort to build the homes that meet our needs and aspirations as we grow old. HAPPI 2 makes a series of new recommendations to maintain momentum in the revolution of older people’s housing.  We’ve already started on this journey and the 2009 HAPPI report has informed all of our work in recent years. I look forward to seeing what else we can do to achieve this important objective.

   

“We are pleased that HAPPI 2 notes our recent activity, but as the report states, there is more that we, the industry and local and national government can do to complete this work.   Our future plans include providing greater access to our services for the wider community and looking at providing more choice through building more cottages, town houses and bungalows, in addition to improvements to our current model of apartments.”

 
As well as establishing its own management and care company in 2010, McCarthy & Stone has worked to transform its designs.  All new schemes now look to reflect HAPPI’s recommendations, including larger apartments, more storage space, walk-in wardrobes, and en suite bathrooms with modern level-access showers.  Other improvements have included the upgrading of kitchens, greater energy efficiency, enhanced landscaping and the inclusion of additional features such as taller ceiling heights, wider corridors, atriums, winter gardens and roof terraces.

Day added: “Last year in Exeter we opened and sold our first HAPPI-style apartments at Isabel Court, which included increased glazing, large balconies, open plan living rooms and kitchens, and sliding walls between the bedroom and living room. We have also recently secured planning consent for our first 100% HAPPI scheme in the historic market town of Kirkby Lonsdale in the North West.”  

As part of its commitment to changing attitudes in the sector, McCarthy & Stone this year launched the Greater Life Advisory Board - a non-executive advisory board which is helping the company to champion a ‘greater life in later life’ and to consider a range of key age-related issues. Former Government Health Minister Edwina Currie is a member of the advisory board and she recently joined a fact-finding tour looking at issues around housing provision for people in later life and has met residents, architects and those involved in the planning process.

Having toured McCarthy & Stone’s “Later Life” housing developments at Lantern Court, Ilfracombe, and Isabel Court, Cowick Street, Exeter, she said:

“The new developments had the “wow!” factor. We were asking the question, why? How is this achieved? What brings older people into these developments – and what keeps them out? How can where we live improve our life chances – or wreck them?  The fact-finding tour has reinforced in my mind how essential it is that builders, planners and the government address urgently the need for appropriate accommodation for this burgeoning section of the community.”

 

-Ends-

For more information:
Andrew Baud, andrew.baud@talapr.co.uk, 020 3397 3383 or 07775 715775

Julian Hargood, julian.hargood@talapr.co.uk , 020 3397 3383 or 07521 907919

Kate Habberley, kate.habberley@talapr.co.uk, 020 3397 3383 or 07943 333362