The industry has snubbed government plans to make all homes fit for pensioners by 2013 but, as our readers claim, this has been a successfully policy for years in Wales.

The news that the government plans to make all homes “pensioner friendly” has prompted feisty debate on Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of the Home Builders Federation (HBF), claimed proposals to make the Lifetime Homes standard mandatory from 2013 would push up house prices and make it harder to deliver the 3 million homes required by 2020.

“Nonsense,” replied several of our readers. Lucy Johnson says a study by Northern Ireland’s Chartered Institute of Housing and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation concluded that the extra cost would be between £165 and £545 a dwelling. Johnson says the flexibility of these homes would make them more marketable.

Jenny Jacobs suspects it may be in housebuilders’ interests for people to move as they get older. “Maybe the HBF is worried that if all homes are equipped for the elderly and disabled, the bottom will drop out of the retirement home market.”

Ian Layzell is facing the prospect of moving his mother to a new house. “If the privately owned house my 88-year-old mother lives in had been built to Lifetime standards, she could carry on living there.”

He points to the fact that all registered social landlord housing funded by the Welsh assembly has been built to Lifetime standards for years.

There was some agreement with the HBF and annoyance at the fact the government had not consulted the industry before making the announcement. “This government fusses about with pointless initiatives which are wrong, damage the economy and drive sensible people into despair,” says Garry Johnson. “The best thing would be for a five year moratorium on this drivel.”

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