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Amanda calls for action on housing

Wheelchair user Amanda Worne has criticised the planned number of adapted homes for people with disabilities.


Cllr Mrs Worne said the suggested standard being set by Arun District Council was not good enough.


Arun is set to tell developers they do not have to include any adapted properties in schemes of fewer than ten units.


For schemes between 11 and 50 units, at least 30 per cent will have to be designed as accessible homes. The ratio rises to one in two for bigger developments.


Two extra wheelchair accessible homes have to be provided as well. But none has to be built for any schemes which have less than 30 dwellings.


“It costs the country far more for people to live in homes that are not adapted,”


said Cllr Mrs Worne,


“because we have carers and helpers and are more likely to have accidents.”


She told Arun’s planning policy sub-committee last week she could live as well as anyone in a property which had been adapted to suit her requirements.


“We have to provide more housing for people like me. We are not living in Victorian times when we were shoved in a corner and left to die.


“It would be really nice if we had at least one accessible home in smaller schemes,”


she said.


“I feel really, really strongly about this. It is a really important issue to me. I can’t get into a friend’s house because she has a step.


“The voice of those who are disabled is not being heard. We should say yes to at least one home in schemes of under ten homes.”


Measures which helped included waist-high plug sockets, wider door frames and entrance ramps.


Cllr Jacky Pendleton (C, Middleton) said:


“Our guide is a good start but it is only a start. It is crass to say developers can build ten homes and none of them is going to be accessible and 20 new homes and none of them is going to be wheelchair-accessible.


“It can’t cost much extra to put sockets halfway up a wall instead of at the bottom and what is the difference in putting in a door frame 3ins-4ins wider?”


Cllr Gill Yeates (LD, Bersted), the sub-committee’s chairman, said:


“Cllr Mrs Worne makes a very good point.


“But, if we have something that can’t be enforced anyway, we might be better to take it as a guide and include it in our local plan review to give it more oomph, for want of a better word.”


Arun planning policy team leader Kevin Owen said the guide for providing homes for older people and those with disabilities had been subject to consultation.


“If you want to make further changes, we will possibly have to go out to consultation on them,”


he said.


The number of adapted homes was subject to the need to ensure it was viable for developers to build the schemes.


In answer to the initial consultation, planning experts Barton Willmore told Arun making the guidance compulsory would cost about £1.93million for the 1,500 homes planned for Ford Airfield.

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