Yorkshire Incapable of Maintaining Accessible Housing

By FrankiChaffin

January 16, 2020

Many Yorkshire towns have become the place of residence for many retirees. However, as these people age, the need for accessible features is increased. Many in the government have criticised the lack of preparation.

Housing charity Shelter, has commented “Yorkshire has seen a rise in elderly residents. This has been steadily increasing over the years. If Yorkshire had prepared, they’d be a thriving example of an accessible housing paradise. A model for other counties to follow.”

Shelter also stated “Yorkshire has prepared slightly, some smaller towns have begun to add accessible features. Libraries have begun to add stairlifts, ramps and wider doors. However, this has been few and far between. One leisure centre has reportedly created a special section. Focusing on helping disabled people become more active in a friendly way.” 

According to research, of the 6 small towns in the UK with the highest rise in elderly population. 5 are in Yorkshire. This has lead to an increase in private landlords. Buying up vacant properties, making them accessible, and renting them out.

“The amount of over 55s renting has jumped 74% in the past decade. This has led to a development boom in the area. However, not from governments as you’d expect, but from private landlords.” A representative from Shelter stated.

Shelter has praised these private landlords. They believe that if these private landlords continue, Yorkshire will become a haven for accessible housing. And if this happens, many more disabled and elderly people will flock to Yorkshire. 

Is it all positive?

Obviously, no. The world of private renting is no place for someone going into retirement. It’s a quasi Wild West. It will undoubtedly leave some families in a state of ruin. However, Shelter seem convinced, let the private landlords do the legwork. And the elderly and disabled communities will be better off for it. 

After all, Shelter know that as of yet, Boris Johnson hasn’t continued what Theresa May started. So it’s better that someone does the work than no one does the work. However, Shelter has themselves stated “If the government gets involved. Shelter will support them 100%.”

Many have speculated that the only reason Shelter supports the private landlords is due to the lack of government intervention. After all, the private sector is usually more productive than the government. 

Local MP, Alex Sobel (Labour) has spoken on the issue “This is my constituency. There is definitely a social need for this to happen. But I do not believe it should be left in the hands of the private sector. The private sector doesn’t produce long term results. The elderly use more heating, so having a super insulated house is a given. This is something like not thought of by private landlords.” 

Age UK has also gotten involved. Caroline Abrahams has stated “We have an ageing population. It is vital that we make our towns and houses more accessible. This has to be done with the interests of those who are disabled in mind. Not with bottom lines and profit margins. Once we do that, we lose all purpose.”