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Comment from a Contact: Accessible Housing Opportunities

March 2017 - Issue 91

It’s not every day that a charity provides some of Suffolk’s biggest developers with a major business opportunity.

But that is exactly what happened when David Martin, External Affairs Director for the leading disability charity Papworth Trust, came to speak to the Developers’ Club.

The Trust has been campaigning for several years around the shortage of accessible housing for disabled people.

They have just published some research work by the London School of Economics and Oxford Brookes University, which highlights that;

Many people believe that disabled people can’t afford to buy a home. We believe that these findings well and truly shatter that myth.”

David told the Developers’ Club that there is a huge, untapped market for accessible homes for disabled people, with such properties able to be sold at a premium. Furthermore, with people living longer, the proportion of disabled people in society is going to increase significantly over the next 10 years.

David surprised the audience by stating that Papworth Trust does not always believe that building homes designed around the needs of disabled people necessarily means building to Lifetime Homes or wheelchair standards.

One of the other myths we hear time and again is that accessible homes are more expensive to build” said David. “We wanted to prove that that isn’t always the case. Papworth Trust has put its money where its mouth is and built an accessible bungalow on a land footprint of 69.7m2 - the same as a standard two bedroom home. We believe this is a major step towards demonstrating that the build costs for an accessible bungalow are not substantially higher than building a standard home.”

He revealed to the Developers’ Club seminar that there are 12.2 million disabled people in the UK and that the value of their spending to the national economy, called the ‘Purple pound’ is worth £212 billion.

Papworth Trust, which is celebrating its centenary in 2017, provides a range of services for disabled people in Suffolk involving social care, accessible housing and supporting disabled people into work.

Roland Sharp & David Martin at Prettys' Developers' Club

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