Local house builder takes valuable steps towards tackling the UK's accessible housing deficit

WITH just over 7% of UK housing providing the basic accessibility features required for the elderly or people with a disability, the country’s accessible housing deficit is expected to reach a crisis point over the next few years.

But one Huddersfield house builder, SB Homes, is taking valuable steps towards tackling this shortfall.

By partnering with accessibility solutions provider, CIBES Lift UK, the developer has been able to adapt its new homes in Huddersfield, for people of all ages and physical abilities.

The firm's latest development — Empire Works in Slaithwaite — includes two T-shaped apartment buildings, comprising of 24 two-bedroom properties. Within these two buildings, CIBES Lift UK is set to install four platform lifts in order to ensure the homes are accessible.

The development also includes a number of three and four bedroom houses. Buyers of these properties are encouraged to have shared input into the design of the property, and as part of this are given the option to have a domestic lift installed in to their new home.

Stephen Byram, managing director at SB Homes said: “Before we even planned our initial designs for Empire Works, we understood that the Slaithwaite village centre area was lacking high quality, accessible accommodation. Being set in a valley side, many elderly homeowners, who have lived in — and loved — the village for all their lives, feel trapped in a situation where they can either leave the area or stick where they are — in homes that are now too big and require far too much maintenance for them.

“Being an SME house building firm, it’s important that we understand the needs of the people in the area and are fine-tuned into what’s required to make the properties as safe and comfortable for potential owners as possible.

“So when we looked in to the local demand and our target audience, we knew we needed to make accessibility a priority. Offering accessible housing, in an area that is crying out for it, is a great way for us to support local people and is part of us giving back to the areas in which we develop.”

After previously working on a number of developments with the company, CIBES Lift UK was the first port of call for SB Homes' accessibility requirements.

Gary Sullivan, marketing and sales director at Cibes, said: “A staggering amount of councils in England don’t have plans to address the lack of accessible housing, so it is becoming more and more important for construction firms to take on this responsibility and prioritise accessibility within new developments.

“When many housing developers think of domestic lifts they tend to picture a bulky, obstructive eye sore that will ruin the aesthetic of the property and put off potential buyers. This is the not the case at all, in fact it’s quite the opposite. Domestic lifts are often considered a selling point by potential buyers as it means the properties can be a ‘forever home’.

“Accessible homes aren’t just beneficial for people with disabilities and mobility issues, they improve independent living for older people, as well as families with young children.”

CIBES Lift UK has worked with a number of construction companies, installing step-free access solutions to ensure residential developments are fully accessible.