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Accessibility standards for market housing proposals checklist

Published: 2020-01-27 Updated: 2023-04-24 Subject: Planning checklist

Planning application - local requirement

If you are proposing a development of market housing, you will need to comply with accessibility standards to make a proportion of the housing suitable for elderly people or those with disabilities. These standards are optional in statutory Building Regulations guidance, but they are a local planning requirement, in accordance with Policy H7 of our Local Plan Partial Update (2023). You'll need to download and complete a Housing Accessibility Standards Checklist (below), to show how your proposed development meets the necessary requirements.

Read more about the rationale behind this policy
The National Planning Policy Framework sets out that ‘Planning policies and decisions should ensure that developments… create places that are safe, inclusive and accessible and which promote health and well-being, with a high standard of amenity for existing and future users…’ Footnote 49 clarifies this paragraph setting out that ‘Planning policies for housing should make use of the Government’s optional technical standards for accessible and adaptable housing, where this would address an identified need for such properties.’

The overriding purpose in the B&NES Corporate Strategy 2020-2024 is to improve people’s lives, with principles focusing on prevention and preparing for the future. As set out in Planning Practice Guidance, ‘Accessible and adaptable housing enables people to live more independently, while also saving on health and social costs in the future. It is better to build accessible housing from the outset rather than have to make adaptations at a later stage – both in terms of cost, and with regard to people being able to remain safe and independent in their homes.’

When this requirement applies

If you are proposing a development of two dwellings or more, you will need to comply with Policy H7 accessibility standards. This applies to full, outline and reserved matters planning applications for a wide variety of housing development proposals:

  • Open market housing
  • Affordable housing
  • Co-living
  • Build to rent
  • Specialist housing and older person housing

Policy H7 sets out the proportion of the proposed housing that must meet certain accessibility standards. In cases of smaller developments, this calculation will result in figures of less than one. We will expect that developments round the figures upwards, where the requirement specifies provision of 0.5 or more accessible and adaptable or wheelchair dwellings.

Proposals for market housing

These must include a minimum of:

Proposals for affordable housing

These must include a minimum of:

  • 7.8% of dwellings to meet wheelchair adaptable housing standard: Building Regulation M4(3)(2a)
  • the remainder to meet accessible and adaptable dwellings standard: Building Regulation M4(2) within houses, ground floor flats and upper floor flats where a lift is installed, and age restricted homes.

What the document should include

The Housing Accessibility Standards Checklist (below) contains all of the information you will need. Please download and complete this, and submit it with your planning application. It is not necessary to have this document completed by a certified expert, although the accessible dwellings commitment must meet the statutory Building Control standards. It may therefore be necessary to consult with your contractor, to ensure that your proposals are appropriate. 

We have included Policy H7 (Housing Accessibility) of the Core Strategy & Placemaking Plan (incorporating the LPPU), and Building Control standards M, below, for your reference.

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