Housing improvements could help elderly live healthily and independently for longer

17 January 2019

Thurrock Council has outlined ambitious proposals to help older people remain healthy and independent for longer by improving the suitability of housing in the borough.

This year's Annual Report of the Director of Public Health, which was presented to the council's Cabinet last night (Wednesday 16 January), suggests various ways the authority could look to improve the housing available so it better meets the needs of the borough's ageing population.

The council has already invested in the development of 25 flats in Derry Avenue, South Ockendon, which are specifically designed for older people, and construction is expected to start soon on a further 35 specialist homes in Calcutta Road, Tilbury.

The report recommends that the council now also explores the possibility of incorporating specific planning guidance to developers as part of the new Local Plan to ensure any new housing is suitable for older people and is carefully planned to avoid potential issues such as loneliness and social isolation.

The report and its recommendations will now go to Full Council.

Cllr James Halden, portfolio holder for health, said: "Thurrock has a growing and ageing population, with the borough's over-65 population expected to grow by as much as 46% by 2035. This new report is an excellent piece of work and outlines how we can make the decisions that will allow us to build for the housing needs of the future.

"As a council, we have already made good progress in improving the availability of specialist housing for older people in the borough through our own schemes and are developing an Older People's Housing Strategy.

"Through our new Local Plan and ambitious regeneration plans, we now have the unique opportunity to also explore how we could ensure prospective new housing enables our residents to remain healthy and independent for longer.

"Our Local Plan Issues and Options (Stage 2) consultation is currently under way and I would encourage residents to share their views on the types of locations they want to see development take place on."

The annual report and its executive summary can be downloaded from the Cabinet agenda, item 12, 16 January 2019.