22nd Oct, 2018

Resident calls on Bromsgrove MP to use his housing role to build properties to help more older people downsize

A WYTHALL resident is calling on Bromsgrove MP Sajid Javid to use his housing role to get appropriate properties built in the area for older people wishing to downsize.

John Raybone wrote to Mr Javid in the week the MP was given the title of Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government in Prime Minister Theresa May’s cabinet reshuffle.

Mr Raybone said he and others who owned three to four-bedroom homes and were 65+, able-bodied, fit, capable, self-managing retired people would be happy to move but there was nowhere suitable to move to.

“We are criticised for failing to uproot, downsize and move on, freeing up the housing market.

“It is in one sense an understandable and logical criticism, but there is one huge flaw. Downsize to what? And more importantly where?

“I, and most of my contemporaries are very keen to downsize and to support the younger generation, but we have no desire to move from our local area, where we have worked all our lives and raised families and committed and contributed to the communities in which we live.

“Why should we have to give all this up and move maybe miles away to help redress a housing shortage caused by various governments over the years?”

Mr Raybone, who was a designer, said he and others did not favour communal living but would move if there was a more substantial independent property which allowed them the option of reinvesting in a more desirable living unit/ complex.

“If such establishments were available within our existing area there’d be an exodus of the retired, freeing up desirable family properties for sale.

“In our area, I know of a local development that has a patch of land that would be suitable for a number of such dwellings.”

In his letter he added: “I was a designer, however, l’m not a builder or developer and that is why I’m writing to you.

“I’m hoping with your knowledge and desire to help the community you may be able to refer these comments to local developers who might be prepared to consider my proposals and see if we can encourage the rapid building of suitable homes for me and many of my neighbours.”

He added it was a win-win situation that would save the public purse, free up the housing market and, if it worked in this area, could be rolled out to other areas.

Mr Javid said: “I am committed to making sure the housing market works for everyone and that means building the right properties for older people.

“My department set out plans in the Housing White Paper last year to give councils across the country the power to say that a minimum number of properties within a new development must be suitable for older and disabled people.

“I’d also encourage designers to be ambitious and develop innovative plans for properties that meet the needs of everyone, including people thinking of downsizing.”

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