Is Planning the Problem? An analysis of the role of local planning authorities in the provision of housing for an ageing population

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


A key societal challenge for the UK is an ageing population and a significant under supply of purpose-built housing for older people (PBHOP). This challenge requires concerted policy action by all levels of government, as the number of UK residents over 65 is forecast to exceed 17 million by 2040. This paper focuses on how the national agenda for change in this vital policy area is being operationalised at the local/sub-national scale within the North East of England; the English region with the lowest provision of PBHOP.

The Mayhew Review (2022) highlighted that nationally, during the last decade, only 7,000 retirement homes for older people have been developed per annum. This meagre level of development is significantly below projected demand, with circa 50,000 purpose-built homes required if the UK is to adapt to the needs of an ageing population. The central factor Mayhew (2022) identified impacting on supply, is the planning system. This paper considers whether this is an accurate analysis of the causes of under supply of PBHOP and a fair criticism of the planning system? Focusing on the perspectives of local implementers - planning officers, developers, and other key stakeholders involved in attempting to unblock supply - the dynamics of planning and development decisions about PBHOP in practice are explored. Analyses informs debates about how policy might evolve into the future, and whether it has the potential to be part of the solution within this crucial area of policy and practice rather than being perceived as the problem itself.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 5 Sept 2023
EventUK-Ireland Planning Research Conference 2023: Planning on a Crisis Footing - University of Glasgow, Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: 4 Sept 20236 Sept 2023


ConferenceUK-Ireland Planning Research Conference 2023
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address

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