Transforming the design of later life housing

26 November 2012

Today marks the publication of
‘HAPPI 2’
in Parliament and follows the original 2009 report that has guided so much of McCarthy & Stone’s design ethos over the past three years.


The 2009 HAPPI publication (which stands for Housing our Ageing Population: Panel for Innovation) 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. While I believe we built some great schemes before, I am pleased that we have been one of the few companies to step up to the challenge – the report has informed all of our work in recent years.

As well as establishing our own management and care company in 2010, we have worked to transform our designs. All of our schemes now look to reflect HAPPI’s recommendations, including larger apartments, more storage space, walk-in wardrobes, and en suite bathrooms including modern level-access showers. We have also upgraded our kitchens, improved our energy efficiency, enhanced our landscaping and included additional features such as taller ceiling heights, wider corridors, atriums, winter gardens and roof terraces.


In Exeter, last year we opened and sold our first HAPPI-style apartments at Isabel Court, which also 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.

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. HAPPI 2 also has a slight name change to mark the need for delivery: Housing our Ageing Population: Plan for Implementation. 

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 I look forward to seeing what else we can do to achieve this important objective.


Further information

The Homes and Communities Agency have made a selection of films which are available to view on YouTube, the films illustrate a number of schemes that represent best practice in housing for older people in UK and Europe.

Reports to download

Housing our Ageing Population: Panel for Innovation (HAPPI) Report (2009).

Housing our Ageing Population: Plan for Implementation (HAPPI2) Report (2012).

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Other Comments:

Alexa Moore “Hi Gill, thank you for your comment, we don't have any immediate plans to build in Winchester. But keep an eye on our website for any future plans. ”

Gill Mitchell “Please build in Winchester we are desperate for an assisted living development there is nothing like that in Winchester to buy.”