The new government white paper on the future of the planning system completely ignores the needs of disabled people and the current accessible housing crisis.
The Planning for the Future document makes repeated references to the need for “beautiful new homes”, “beautiful places” and “beautiful buildings”, but with no mention of the dire shortage of suitable wheelchair-accessible housing.
In a report by the Disability News Service (DNS) the government is accused of “showing contempt” for disabled people after publishing an “utterly shameful” 84-page white paper on the future of the planning system without including a single mention of disabled people, disability or accessible housing.
DNS reports that Robert Jenrick, the housing secretary, says in the white paper that the government wants to see “environmentally friendly homes that will not need to be expensively retrofitted in the future, homes with green spaces and new parks at close hand, where tree lined streets are the norm and where neighbours are not strangers”.
The document talks about “tackling head on the shortage of beautiful, high quality homes and places where people want to live and work” and even highlights the importance of “our capacity to house the homeless and provide security and dignity”.
But nowhere does it mention disabled people and the need for accessible housing, and when it asks those taking part in a consultation* on the white paper for their “top three priorities for planning in your local area”, accessible housing is not included as one of the options.
The closest the white paper comes to mentioning disabled people’s housing needs is in question 26 of the consultation, when it asks for “views on the potential impact of the proposals raised in this consultation on people with protected characteristics” under the Equality Act.
So, yet another area in which this government is failing to even acknowledge disabled people, let alone make any provision to provide affordable, accessible housing for us.