Senior Housing Shortage Crisis in the UK, Government Must Act

There’s an impending housing crisis in the UK, according to one British retirement home provider who recently wrote to members of Parliament to support a National Planning Policy Framework draft proposing to make vital changes to the planning system and address the senior housing crisis.

The letter details McCarthy & Stone’s first-hand experience with how the “chronic shortage of housing” affects older folks, saying that although there’s an undersupply of all forms of housing, it’s particularly severe for the elderly.

The draft, published in July of this year, called for local planning authorities to “plan for a mix of housing based on current and future demographic trends, market trends and the needs of different groups in the community (such as families with children, the elderly and people with disabilities.”


The 65 and older population in the UK is currently at 10 million and is set to grow to 16.7 million by 2035, with this age demographic expected to account for 60% of all household growth by that time. Meanwhile, housing provision for seniors has not kept pace with the aging population, says McCarthy & Stone.

“The Government’s focus on housing delivery is absolutely the right one,” said Gary Day, Land & Planning Director for McCarthy & Stone, in a statement. “This is why we have written to each MP to urge them to support the Framework. We have outlined how we feel it will help address the chronic housing pressures facing older people.”

The housing crisis can be eased by building more specialist homes for older people, whether in the private or public sector, but without strong governmental direction, it won’t happen, says McCarthy & Stone in the letter.


McCarthy & Stone’s letter mentions how the National Planning Policy Framework reinforces the government’s commitment to evidence-based planning to meet local housing needs; the senior housing provider has partnered with the UK’s Department for Community and Local Government along with other bodies to produce a ‘housing toolkit’ to assist local authorities in collating evidence and planning for the older populations’ housing needs.

In addition to highlighting support for the NPPF, McCarthy & Stone’s letter also detailed recommendations on how it can be strengthened further.

SHN was unable to obtain a copy of the letter, but the NPPF draft can be seen here.

Written by Alyssa Gerace