I find Building’s unbalanced response to proposals for the statutory provisions for disabled access to new build-homes disturbing (28 March, page 3, 54-57).
Pleading by housebuilders comes as no surprise, but the fact that your leader supported their arguments is less defensible. It argues that our industry is being forced to accept an unnecessary burden at a time of economic difficulty, but with the continual swings in supply and demand there never will be a right time. Any earlier and there’d have been complaints of insufficient labour.
The leader implies that, in the absence of the correct provisions in their homes, owners will seek more appropriate accommodation if they become disabled. I find this argument heartless. Many homeowners want to stay in the same house throughout their lives rather than move just because their house lacks simple provisions.
We are a civilised, caring and prosperous society that has done much to make life easier for the disabled. We should welcome the government’s latest initiative. Building’s editorial would have been better directed at comparing the cost of modifying existing buildings with that of incorporating the Lifetime Homes’ provision in new-build dwellings, and at the cost of land, which may be a far larger constituent of the price of a house than basic disabled provisions.
And, if I am wrong, any resistance to the cost of Lifetime Homes will be evident in the first batch of houses and it won’t be too late to make a u-turn with no lasting damage. On the other hand, builders may be agreeably surprised to find enthusiasm for such houses.
Malcolm Taylor, Tanglewood