Change to planning law will benefit disabled people Aspire is delighted that this week the Government has agreed to amend planning law so that local authorities will have a legal duty to plan housing for disabled people. The amendment to the Neighbourhood Planning Bill was tabled by Heidi Allen, MP for South Cambridgeshire, who worked with Aspire, Habinteg and the Papworth Trust to come up with its wording and frame her case and also has the support of Housing and Planning Minister Gavin Barwell. For nearly 20 years, Aspire’s housing service has been supporting spinal cord injured people by providing fully accessible housing and the help they need to secure permanent suitable homes. However, it is just not possible for Aspire to meet demand and every year hundreds of people are forced to live in inappropriate accommodation. Aspire has been campaigning for adequate housing for disabled people for many years and this announcement comes almost a year after we proposed amendments to the Housing and Planning Bill following our reports which found that 86% of spinal cord injured people are forced to live in a care home or unadapted property on leaving hospital. Heidi Allen MP said, “It is only right and proper that the housing needs of disabled people should be considered alongside everyone else when new homes are being developed. In London, 90% of new homes must be designed to be accessible and adaptable and 10% suitable for wheelchair users. It is a matter of fundamental fairness, not to mention absolute economic sense that the same level of consideration be given to the housing needs of disabled people everywhere else in the country. “I am delighted the Minster for Housing and Planning, Gavin Barwell has agreed to work with me to incorporate my amendment into the Bill as it progresses through the House. This is a huge achievement, and one which has the potential to help so many people. I would like to extend my personal thanks to Aspire for their help and support over the last few weeks.” Andy Shipley, Aspire’s Policy Manager says, “Aspire has been campaigning for adequate housing for disabled people for many years, so we are hugely grateful to Heidi Allen for her commitment to this issue and to Gavin Barwell for getting on board. We see this is a milestone event as opportunities to improve planning law in the interest of disabled people do not occur frequently. We look forward to working with Heidi and the Government in shaping this new duty and its supporting regulations and guidance.” Click here to watch our video to see the impact on Tracey’s life of living in an inaccessible house.