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Retirement living

Newcastle University launches new “Retirement Living Explained” guide

Published on: 7 April 2017

A groundbreaking new document which gives a fresh perspective on how retirement living is defined and the benefits it brings people and communities has been launched.

Newcastle University launches new guide highlighting the benefits retirement housing brings to communities

Retirement Living Explained: A Guide for Planning and Design Professionals, has today been published by Newcastle University's  School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape in partnership with Churchill Retirement Living and the Housing LIN (Learning and Improvement Network).

The comprehensive new 68-page guide  provides a fresh perspective on exactly how retirement living should be defined, getting to the heart of the changing needs and expectations for this niche sector of development. Its key conclusions are that specialist retirement housing offers wide-reaching benefits that meet the three pillars of sustainable development – economic, environmental, and social – and that these benefits apply to individuals, communities and society as a whole.

The guide represents the culmination of a three year PhD project carried out by Newcastle University’s Sam Clark under the supervision of Professor Rose Gilroy and Professor Adam Sharr. The project was funded by Churchill Retirement Living, with its developments and owners providing the basis for the research. Its aim was to audit the national need for older people’s housing, documenting the ageing population’s aspirations and reviewing current practices. In turn it will influence the design response to retirement living developments in the future.

As the project nears completion, Sam  has used his research findings to produce the guide, which was launched today with a panel discussion from a range of key experts on the topic of older people’s housing. Presenters included Dame Esther Rantzen DBE, Jeremy Porteus (Director of Housing LIN), Spencer McCarthy (Chairman & CEO of Churchill Retirement Living), and Andrew Burgess (Managing Director of Planning Issues).

Real world impacts

Retirement Living Explained sets out some of the key planning and policy issues that are relevant to this niche sector, and the key considerations that set this type of development apart.

Rose Gilroy, Professor of Ageing, Policy & Planning at Newcastle University, said: “Newcastle University is committed to research that has real world impacts and we are proud to have partnered Churchill Retirement Living in exploring one of the major societal challenges of our time: the ability of older people to live in housing that contributes to their independence and well-being. Our hope is that this research informed document will be read and used widely to stimulate more housing options.”

 Sam Clark added “Retirement Living Explained is the product of a close, yet critical collaboration with Churchill Retirement Living. The research for this publication was made possible through full access to the company’s staff and customers, with all parties being open to a reflective and reflexive process. As an architect, I am particularly grateful for the opportunity to pursue applied research within the construction industry, in the form of a PhD by Creative Practice.”

Co-ordinated approach

Spencer McCarthy, Chairman and CEO of Churchill Retirement Living, said: “We know the UK population is ageing. The number of households aged 65+ will account for over half of new households in the future. However, there is a chronic under supply of suitable accommodation for older people. Up to 3.5 million older people are interested in buying or renting a retirement property, but the next generation of older people have enjoyed unprecedented improvements in living standards and have alternative expectations. We need to establish what these expectations are so we can drive a step-change in housing choice for older people.

“At Churchill we believe that clearly defined types of housing for older people are required, including retirement living, and that local authorities should be setting specific housing targets for each type. We also believe the guide can help inform a more co-ordinated local and national approach towards achieving this. I would like to thank Sam Clark and Newcastle University for their excellent work to date on this project.”

Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of the Home Builders Federation (HBF) added: “We are experiencing an acute shortage of all types of housing. Recent years have seen big increases in supply but we are still well short of delivering the number of homes we need as a country, and this under-supply is greatest in the area of specialist housing for older people. The retirement home building sector faces many distinctive challenges which must be addressed if we are to address the housing shortage across the board.

"Expanding the delivery of high quality, attractive homes designed specifically with the needs of older people in mind not only has the potential to greatly improve the lives and health of our ageing population, it would also free up more family homes to alleviate the pressure on the wider housing market.”


Press release courtsey of Churchill Retirement Living


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