For 2005 - 2008
Older People’s Housing Strategy Sept 05 1
This is the first time that Milton Keynes Council, in partnership with other local agencies
and in consultation with older people, has sought to develop a housing strategy for older
people in Milton Keynes. With the continuing growth of Milton Keynes and the predicted
growth of the population of older people in the borough, coupled with the expansion plans
and house-building programme for the city, now is an appropriate time to develop a
strategy to ensure as far as possible that the wishes and needs of older people are taken
into account. The Strategy will also be reviewed regularly to ensure that as needs change
in future, they can be accommodated where possible.
This strategy seeks to bring together information about population growth and housing
needs with information about housing supply and the condition of the housing stock, all in
relation to older people. The strategy recognises that apart from good housing older
people need security, housing support and ready access to health and social care. If older
people are to be given the opportunity to live independently at home as they become
frailer, then good quality housing and housing support services are vital, but to work
effectively these need to be closely linked to accessible health and social care services. In
addition housing support services can encourage active community participation and the
take up of leisure other services that promote well-being.
Older people in Milton Keynes, as elsewhere, are not a homogenous group. People have
different wishes, aspirations and needs. It is important that housing provision, now and in
the future, offers a wide range of choice of size and type of housing, of different forms of
tenure and of different housing support services.
This strategy seeks to highlight the housing and support needs of older people, to highlight
the issues and to go on to make recommendations that key stakeholders can take on
board for the next five years.
This is an evolving strategy document and we wish to encourage comments and
discussion. If you would like to discuss housing for older people in Milton Keynes or if you
have any comments or views, please contact:
502 Avebury Blvd
E mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel. 01908 253109
Older People’s Housing Strategy Sept 05 2
Section 1: Aims and Objectives
The Council’s Vision for older people’s housing is drawn form several key strategies
adopted by the council, in particular the Housing Strategy, the Supporting People Strategy
and the Best Value Review of Older People’s Services.
The Council’s Vision for Older People’s Housing
Older People will have a choice of housing types and tenures that are both
affordable and of good quality, together with easy access to and choice of care
and support services when needed.
Housing and Support
Housing and support services have a key role in enabling older people to live safely and
independently at home for as long as possible. This strategy seeks to achieve the
following set of aims in order to realise that vision.
Good quality housing and housing support, alongside appropriate health and social care
services, are vital to meet the needs of older people and to help older people remain as
independent as possible and be active participants in their local communities. This older
people’s housing strategy sets out to give citizens a clear direction and programme of
development for older people’s housing within Milton Keynes in the context of the wider
community strategy and the Milton Keynes growth agenda. At the heart of the older
people’s housing strategy is a commitment to developing housing support services that
work alongside other services to provide support to older people in their own homes,
whether owned or rented, in order to enable older people to live independent lives in their
community for as possible for as long as possible.
Older People’s Housing Strategy: Aims
Provide a range and choice of housing to older people
Give older people the help they need to keep their independence and remain in
their own homes
Ensure that all homes occupied by older people meet the Decent Homes
standard, regardless of tenure
Ensure housing support and community alarm services are available to all who
need them regardless of tenure
Encourage the development of extra care sheltered housing for people with
housing, health and social care needs
Actively encourage that all new homes in Milton Keynes are built to ‘Lifetime
homes’ standard, so that they are suitable for older people as their needs change
The Council’s Older People’s Housing Strategy is the first such strategy that the Council
has produced. We produced it following the format recommended by the Government in
its publication “Preparing Older People’s Strategies: Linking housing to health, social care
and other local strategies”.
Older People’s Housing Strategy Sept 05 3
Engaging with Older People
In developing this housing strategy for older people in Milton Keynes, the Council has
sought to consult with stakeholders and with older people themselves, as well as with
middle aged people as the future generation of older people. A consultation event has
been arranged with over 50 older people from a variety of backgrounds, facilitated by Age
Concern. There was also a “World Café Day” with older people held earlier this year.
In addition, this strategy in draft form has been sent to the following groups for comment:
The Older People’s Black and Minority Ethnic Elders Forum
Senior Voice Group – Age Concern
Sheltered housing tenant’s forum
Extracare ‘Friends’ group
Summary of consultation responses
Type of housing and communities older people would like to live in future MK
Bungalows in association with sheltered housing are very popular as a means to retaining
independence but be near community facilities. Housing on more than one level is still
attractive to many, particularly for safety reasons but with one strong condition. If older
people are going to live on first or second floors the build must be fully adapted to allow
easy access, working lifts etc.
Homes with gardens are important – not happy being cooped up in buildings behind glass
walls! Well-maintained gardens or self-manageable gardens are important for healthy
living in later years.
The purpose designed Extracare village concept is popular –residents should move in
early 60s to gain full value of this type of retirement living. The popular elements included
the organised activities and facilities such as shops, pub, gym, social club etc.
Older people like mixed communities as long as they can be protected from too much
jostling/ noise from young people.
Main factors contributing towards where older people want to live
Quality of warden support is crucial to making retirement accommodation work
Good access to services by public transport
Near to local amenities, especially library, GP Surgery and post office.
Security (personal and public) is a big issue. Want to have a good, responsive
Company – the opportunities to socialise with other older people
The setting of accommodation is important – the natural and built environment,
including factors such as slope of pavement approaching buildings. Pleasant views
from windows, well maintained open space and gardens
Provision of ample space to be able to accommodate visitors and family regularly
Housing in active areas, not too isolated – people still want to see the world go by
Older People’s Housing Strategy Sept 05 4
Providing more bungalows – The growth in number of older people over the next 20 years
provides a challenge to develop appropriate balance of housing. Particularly difficult will be
providing the type of housing seen as most popular by older people. The bungalow has a
large land take for a small number of people and may not be attractive to developers or
Locations of shared facilities and activities – Importance of housing located near to
activities and amenities with accessible public transport. Create public spaces where older
people feel comfortable and safe meeting.
Existing standards - Existing wheel chair accessibility and provision across the city is
below standard and any future growth will need to keep the needs of wheelchair users and
older pedestrians in mind. Safety and security must be designed into the built environment
and housing from the outset.
Converting existing homes - A lot of people expressed the desire to continue living in their
existing homes as long as possible rather than having to move later in life. Currently
expensive to convert existing homes to meet the needs of older/disabled people. People
do not feel they are financially supported or properly informed about home adaptations.
Homes for Life - Providing fully flexible housing from the outset – built to lifetime
standards. The growth in new housing in MK presents an opportunity to think ahead and
provide housing that will suit the needs of all residents from young families or older people,
housing that can be easily adapted as the resident’s needs change.
Older People’s Housing Strategy Sept 05 5
Section 2: National and Local Context
The national agenda for older people is driven by the large growth in population and
consequent pressure on public services. In 2001 there were 9.4 million people aged 65
and over in the United Kingdom. This was a 51% increase from 1961, and the number is
continuing to grow. By 2021 almost 1 in 5 people will be over 65, rising to 12 million by
2031. In 2001, 1.1 million were 85 or over (which was three times as many as in 1961),
and one in twenty of the population will be over 80 by 2020. The Office of National
Statistics has commented “the increase in the number of pensioners has policy
implications, placing greater demands on health, social services and social security
arrangements” (Social Trends 33).
Key Government Policies
The key Government policies that inform the aims of this strategy are as follows:
‘National Service Framework for Older People’ (2001)
‘Quality and Choice for Older People’s Housing: A Strategic Framework’ (2001)
‘Supporting People Guidance’ (2002)
‘Housing Investment Programme Guidance’
‘Preparing Older People’s Strategies’ (February 2003
‘Strategy for housing older people in England’ (Housing Corporation April 2003)
‘Regional Housing Statement 2003’
‘Independence, Choice and Well-being’ (2005)
More details can be found in Appendix 7.
There are several common themes that run through Government strategies on older
people’s health, housing and support needs. One theme is that housing is central to the
well being of older people and money has recently been released nationally for both
Extracare housing and ‘Telecare’ alarm systems. Another theme is about promoting
independence, enabling people to stay in their own homes with the right types of support,
irrespective of tenure. A third theme is choice, ensuring that there are a range of housing
options available. This strategy seeks to develop these themes for older people in Milton
Keynes. Given the Government’s declaration that Milton Keynes is a Growth Area it is
important to plan for this now.
Milton Keynes was designated as a new town in 1967 and was built from 1970 around the
existing towns of Bletchley, Stony Stratford, Wolverton and New Bradwell and thirteen
villages. Two thirds of the borough are predominantly rural and include the smaller towns
of Newport Pagnell, Olney and Woburn Sands. Since becoming a new town the population
has risen rising from 40,000 in 1967 to approximately 212,000 in 2001. As at June 2004
the total population was estimated to be 216,850. Growth to a population around 248,000
is planned by 2011. The Milton Keynes and South Midlands Inter-regional Study (October
2002) and the Sustainable Communities Plan (Feb 03) have proposed further significant
growth in and around Milton Keynes.
Older People’s Housing Strategy Sept 05 6
The Vision of the Local Strategic Partnership (LSP) for Milton Keynes is set out in its
Community Strategy as “A City that Thinks Differently, Embraces Evolution and
Champions Change”. One of the Council’s key corporate priorities is “Giving older
people the help they need to keep their independence”. Another is: “Providing
affordable housing for those in need”.
Housing for older people has a key contribution to make to the delivery of national and
local Government policy. One of our central aims is to support people in their own homes
for as long as possible. Good quality housing, health, social care, support services,
community alarms and 'telecare' systems are all needed to support this aim. Where
possible, older people should be able to live in their own homes and community to the end
of life, even where they become very frail or disabled. To this end the Council encourages
developers to build all new homes to meet ‘lifetime homes’ standards, that is be suitable
for disabled and frail people without major adaptation.
Milton Keynes Council is a Unitary Authority, which promotes and works through
partnerships. The Council combines Adult Social Care and Housing in the Neighbourhood
Services Directorate. There are Joint Commissioning arrangements and jointly managed
services with colleagues in Health (especially the Primary Care Trust (PCT) under the
auspices of the Joint Health & Social Care Board (JHSCB) that make these partnerships a
reality. These include an Integrated Equipment Board to improve the delivery and
installation of equipment and adaptations, an integrated older people’s mental health
service, and an integrated intermediate care service (see page 9). The Council is set on a
strategic course to bring together Council, Health and community & voluntary sector
services in a person-centred way to promote the independence and well being of older
We are seeking to develop a spectrum of housing and support services that offers choice
and promotes well being. This support ranges from low level preventative services such
as the new home improvement agency, through the community alarm and visiting warden
service, available to all older people, to Extracare provision that can support people with
care and even nursing needs in their own home.
Older people need to have good quality housing, as poor quality housing will exacerbate
health and social isolation problems. Older People and people approaching old age need
to be aware of the range of housing options available to them. As well as developing a
spectrum of housing types and tenure, it is important that information about housing and
related support service is developed and easily accessible.
With the growing population of older people, it is important that housing and housing
support services are developed in MK that provide choice of tenure and types of housing
and a spectrum of housing support services. These services must be delivered seamlessly
with health and personal care services in order to enhance social inclusion and well being,
as well as promote independence so that older people have every opportunity to live in
their own homes throughout their lives. Information about housing options and related
support services must be available and easily accessible to older people. Poor quality
older people housing needs to be replaced. Homes need to be designed in ways that
mean they continue to be suitable for older people as they become older, frailer or more
disabled. Such homes also need to remain affordable.
Older People’s Housing Strategy Sept 05 7
Section 3: Population
In the last census, the total number of Older People aged 60 or over was just over 29,000,
which is around 14% of the total population. However this figure is growing at about 2.5%
per annum. 10.3% of households in Milton Keynes were 65 or over (lower than the
national average). The percentage of people over 85 still is significantly lower than for
England as a whole, but this figure will start to increase significantly at the start of the next
decade. In 2001 there were 10,000 people aged 75 or over. This is the group most in need
of housing support and care services. By 2011, this group will number 12,700, a 27%
2001 (Census) 2011 Projected
Males Female Total Males Female Total
MK 107,040 105,670 212,710 128,500 127,260 255,760
60-64 3,860 3,780 7,640 6,620 6,780 13,400
65-69 2,930 3,130 6,060 4,700 4,740 9,440
70-74 2,370 2,960 5,330 3,230 3,480 6,710
75-79 1,920 2,660 4,580 2,250 2,820 5,080
80-84 1,090 1,930 3,020 1,490 2,300 3,790
85-89 450 1,160 1,610 850 1,630 2,480
90 + 220 570 790 350 990 1,350
60+ 12,840 16,190 29,030 19,490 22,740 42,250
Public Health Annual Report 2004
The report notes that a higher percentage of older people tend to live in the older towns
and villages in the north, east and southern wards of Milton Keynes (see Appendix xx). It
considers that the changes in retirement age recommended by Government are likely to
mean that an increasing number of older people will be economically active. The report
notes however that Milton Keynes has higher than average death rates from accidents,
particularly from older women, often following falls and hip fracture.
Black and Ethnic Minority (BME) Communities
The 2001 Census information on ethnicity in Milton Keynes Borough suggested that
around 9.3% of the population classified themselves as being non-white. This compares
to 9.1% in England as a whole. The BME population aged 65 or over stands at about 4%,
but this figure will grow significantly over the next ten years.
Health of the Population
The results of the 2001 Census showed that Milton Keynes compared favourably with
England as a whole in terms of health: - 72.5 % of our population had Good Health
compared to 68.8% in England.
In general the older people population is a lower % of the population than the England
average, and it is in better than average health. However this population is growing and
will continue to grow significantly. Alongside this, the numbers of older people from BME
communities is also growing, although still relatively small especially the 80+ age group.
Older People’s Housing Strategy Sept 05 8
We need to plan to ensure that the housing and support needs of this growing population
are met in the future, while also addressing particular areas of need such as the apparent
higher incidence of falls among older women.
Older People’s Housing Strategy Sept 05 9
Section 4: Housing Needs
A survey in 1999 found that housing tenure for older people in Milton Keynes was as
follows: over three-fifths (61%) of households were owner-occupiers; a further 38% of
households rented their home and the majority (86%) of these rented their homes from the
Council. A significantly greater proportion of older tenant households lived in council
rented accommodation when compared to the corresponding figure for all households.
From the 2001 census, there were 83,359 households in total in Milton Keynes. Of these,
8,103 were single-person pensioner households (9.7%) and 5,096 further households
comprised one family only of all pensioners (6.1%). Thus nearly 16% of households
(13,200) are pensioner (60 or over) households.
Consultation for the Extracare village showed a strong demand for owner occupied
sheltered housing. The Extracare village when it opens in 2007 will provide mixed housing:
owner-occupied; shared ownership and housing association for rent.
While the Council’s own sheltered housing provision remains relatively popular, the
average age of entry into schemes has increased from 69 to 79 in the last five years, and
some properties are not accessible to people with mobility problems. Empty properties
vary from about 2% of all properties to 5%; with the most difficult properties to let being
bed-sit accommodation and those with poor access for people with restricted mobility.
Shared ownership provision is relatively undeveloped for older people. The big advantage
of such provision is that it allows older people that are living in unsuitable owner occupied
housing and who are capital rich but income poor, the choice to free up some capital while
moving to more manageable housing.
There is very low homelessness among older people in MK – 15 people in 2004/05. There
are 592 people over 60 on the Council’s waiting list, of whom a fifth (123) live outside
Milton Keynes. 74 of these have medical points that put them in the three highest
categories, of whom 40 are seeking a housing transfer. Of this 74, 14 are from BME
communities, mainly Asian (10). 74 older people in housing needs out of 13,200 pensioner
households is a small proportion. Therefore unmet housing need amongst older people in
Milton Keynes is not high, but significant numbers of people want to move her and some
people are not happy with their current housing.
In Summer 2003 FPD Savills carried out research for English Partnerships about
proposed Central Milton Keynes Developments (see Appendix 6). It established a “target
purchaser profile”, which shows that these types of developments will appeal to five
groups of people. Two of these groups are “Empty Nesters” and “Retired Seniors”. In the
Milton Keynes catchment area (i.e. a 20 mile drive area) there is a slight under-
representation of “Empty Nesters” (17% for Milton Keynes compared to 21% for Great
Britain). There is also an under-representation of “Retired Seniors” (10% for Milton
Keynes compared to 19% nationally which, given the number of older people in Milton
Keynes is lower than elsewhere not surprising).
Older People’s Housing Strategy Sept 05 10
Two consultation events facilitated by the Extra Care Charitable Trust were held at the City
Church. The most recent in January 2004 attended by 700 people. The feedback was:
A strong demand for an extra-care village
95% (524 people) did not think there was enough sheltered housing to purchase in
Only 24% of people thought that the provision of housing for older people was good or
very good (with 50% describing housing provision as not so good and 26% describing it
as not good at all)
Addressing the housing needs of Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communtiies
The current older people’s ethnic minority population is relatively small and younger than
the white population. There are not significant numbers of highly dependent older people
within ethnic minority communities at the present time. Also, there is not any one large
minority ethnic population, rather several smaller populations of different communities. It is
recognised that as people get older their health and social care needs will increase.
Culturally appropriate services need to be available to all older people who need them.
The next generation of minority ethnic elders is likely to have different service expectations
and housing needs than their current first generation counterparts in Milton Keynes. In
future, where people have had experience of working in the wider community, and
language and cultural barriers are perhaps not as great, more inclusive housing
developments may address the needs of many people. At present several communities
have stated that successful housing development for minority ethnic older people will
depend on how language, religious and cultural needs are addressed within such
developments. There cannot be a single approach to address the housing needs of all
older people from the many different ethnic minority communities in Milton Keynes. The
Council will be researching the housing and social care issues of BME communities in
more detail and aims to have a Draft BME Housing and Social Care Strategy by March
Examples from different communities
The Hindu and Sikh communities have said that the success of any sheltered housing
scheme for their elders depends on the proximity of such housing to resources that will
meet both religious and cultural needs. On this basis, two housing schemes are at
planning stage to be built very close to a new Hindu Community Centre and Sikh
Guduwara respectively. Both communities will provide lunch club and day services
provision to the tenants via these resources.
The African/Caribbean community state that their older people’s housing needs are
essentially being met via existing sheltered housing provision across the city. The
community has a well-established monthly lunch club operating under the umbrella of Age
Concern. This club provides an important link for African and Caribbean older people living
in various types of accommodation across the city to meet in a culturally sensitive
The Somalian community is a new but rapidly expanding ethnic minority community in
Milton Keynes. The number of older people within this community is currently very small.
The Council and the community are working to address day services needs and will
examine housing needs at the same time.
The Shia Muslim community are currently exploring a sheltered housing development on
land next to the Mosque in Granby Court. Whilst the area suffers from a lack of facilities at
Older People’s Housing Strategy Sept 05 11
present, future developments in nearby areas such as Ashlands will bring about much-
needed shops and health services that could then make such a scheme more viable.
While the older population in Milton Keynes overall is below the national average, demand
for social housing from this group is not strong and there is considerable sheltered housing
and bungalow supply. There is strong demand for purchased Extracare housing, and
demand from older people outside the borough to move here. The older population is
growing rapidly and its needs and expectations are changing. Provision in new forms such
as Extracare needs to be made to keep pace with population growth and rising
expectations. Increased shared ownership schemes will broaden the options available.
Provision must include housing for the growing black & minority ethnic older people
population, which meets the particular needs of each community.
Older People’s Housing Strategy Sept 05 12
Section 5: Health, Social Care and Housing Support
Health & Social Care
A key challenge in developing a strategic approach to housing for older people is to bring
together core services - health, social care and housing support – in order to ensure that
people can live independently in their homes. In Milton Keynes there is one Primary Care
Trust (PCT) co-terminous with the Council and one acute hospital. The Joint Health and
Social Care Board (JHSCB) – Council, PCT and General Hospital - jointly plans health and
social care services for adults and older people, making best use of Health Act flexibilities
to provide joined up and integrated service commissioning and provision. The JHSCB is a
significant step towards achieving better joint planning and service development between
Housing, Health and Social Care services. The JHSCB commissioned the Older People’s
Best Value Review 2003 and agreed the joint funding and development of intermediate
care flats at Orchard House.
Intermediate care is a joint health and social care service designed to give older people
rehabilitation and confidence to stay in or return to their own home following a crisis, an
accident or a hospital admission. In Milton Keynes intermediate care services have been
integrated under one joint manager. These include rapid response home care and nursing,
Bletchley community hospital and Orchard House, one of the Council’s sheltered housing
schemes. Orchard House is a 25-year-old sheltered housing scheme in Wolverton
containing mainly bedsits that had become hard to let. There are now 13 intermediate care
flats with a 24-hour care team on site. The scheme is successful with well over 100
admissions a year, with 80% of people admitted returning home or going to live in
Within intermediate care there is an integrated Falls service, which seeks to prevent and
manage falls, by offering rapid assessment when an older person falls. This service works
closely with the community alarm service.
One neglected group in housing terms is older people with dementia. The possibility of
developing housing options with care support for this group has not been explored in
Milton Keynes and would be an exciting joint development.
Supporting People is a national programme, administered by local authorities, that is
responsible for funding and monitoring the quality of housing-related support services e.g.
wardens in sheltered housing. There is a multi-agency Supporting People commissioning
board that has developed a commissioning strategy (2005). Older People’s support
services receive most supporting people funding and therefore this is not a priority area for
new service developments. Supporting People Grant has been cut by central government
by 5% for 2005/06.
The change of funding to Supporting People grant has meant that the funding of the
Council’s sheltered housing and community alarm service, and to other sheltered housing
providers, has been capped. In addition, from April 2003 any older person entering
sheltered housing who is not entitled to housing benefit, has to pay a charge, currently £18
a week, for housing support. Over time more and more people will be liable to pay this
charge. As a result it is expected that people will only to choose to move into sheltered
housing when they are frailer and more in need of sheltered housing.
Older People’s Housing Strategy Sept 05 13
With a reducing supporting people grant and a growing population, the only way to make
sure that all older people receive the support they need is by redesigning current housing
support services for older people to make them more efficient and effective. Supporting
People Grant will not be sufficient, unless it is substantially increased, to improve and
develop the range of housing support services needed in Milton Keynes, especially in the
light of growth. Therefore service redesign is essential.
Council Sheltered Housing
The audit commission carried out a voluntary review of the council’s sheltered housing
service in November 2004. The main findings were:
The council provides a good quality sheltered housing and community alarm service
and staff are well supported in carrying out their duties
There is need for a coherent vision for the service
In light of funding changes such as the move from the Housing Revenue Account to
Supporting People grant and the developments in the independent sector, the service
needs to be clear about issues of cost and supply
There needs to be an asset management plan for the sheltered housing stock, with
agreed standards of maintenance
The housing support provided by the service needs to be more flexible and extended to
a wider group of older people
In early 2005 a working group was established to tackle these issues. The group adopted
the following mission statement for the Council’s sheltered housing service.
“The Council will provide affordable and secure sheltered housing for older people. It will
be good quality accommodation with flexible and responsive housing support available to
those who need it. The service will seek to promote people’s independence and support
them living in their own home as long as possible.”
A strategy for the Council’s sheltered housing has been developed and is released for
consultation together with this paper.
Extracare housing is a new model of housing for older people where leisure, social and
care provision are all provided on site. The Council already runs one Extracare scheme of
49 flats with a care team on site at Kilkenny House, Westcroft. Extracare tends to be
developed now as whole villages, and an Extracare village of 258 flats is being built at
Willen. This scheme is a mixture of housing for sale, shared ownership and social rent.
The scheme will support 110 people with care needs, including 15 with high level nursing
care needs. The scheme will include gymnasium, restaurant and shops, and will provide
an alternative for some to residential care. The Council has also resolved to enable the
development of a second village and it is hoped that this could be developed in the
Western Expansion Area.
Community alarm and Telecare
The Council already has a comprehensive community alarm service connected to over
5000 older people’s homes in MK, with 24/7 control centre cover linked to a mobile warden
service and rapid response nursing and home care team. Assistive technology (Telecare)
is now being developed, so that the health of vulnerable people can be monitored in their
own home and a care worker can call if monitoring shows an individual may need help.
Older People’s Housing Strategy Sept 05 14
Room temperature, body temperature, movement, falls and a number of medical
conditions can be monitored effectively at low cost and independence preserved.
Home Improvement Agency (HIA)
The purpose of the Home Improvement Agency (HIA) is to support disabled, older and
vulnerable people who own their own home, or rent in the private sector, to repair and
maintain their home. The Council awarded a contract to Age Concern for 3 years in
February 2004 to provide a home improvement agency in Milton Keynes. The HIA acts as
a “one-stop shop” to give a householder access to all aspects of funding and information
for home improvements. It will also be able to offer advice on a range of services, welfare
benefits, grants etc. that a householder may require in order to improve both housing
conditions and thus their health conditions. Some examples are Crime Prevention
Initiatives, Energy Initiative and minor repairs, as well as support services (such as welfare
benefits, trip-hazard assessments) so as to ensure a holistic response to householders
needs rather than just focusing on bricks and mortar.
Fuel Poverty & Affordable Warmth
Older people are amongst the most vulnerable to fuel poverty, namely a situation in which
a household needs to spend more than 10% of its income on keeping warm. People living
in fuel poverty often do not heat their homes to an adequate level, resulting in a significant
risk to their health and well-being. Fuel poverty can be brought about as a result of a
number of factors, including fuel cost, household income, the energy efficiency of a
property and the level of occupancy.
The Government’s main tool for addressing fuel poverty and energy efficiency, the Warm
Front grant, is available to those living in private sector housing who are in receipt of
certain benefits. It provides up to £2700 for all eligible applicants, towards the cost of
improving the energy efficiency of their home.
Milton Keynes Energy Agency (MKEA) have been awarded a contract to run an Energy
Efficiency Advice Centre (EEAC) for the area, and in addition have put together the
Cocoon programme (http://www.cocoonyourhome.co.uk/) in partnership with reputable
local installers to offer heavily discounted loft and cavity wall insulation to local residents
using Energy Efficiency Commitment schemes. These offers are open to all homeowners
and people who rent privately. A Home Energy Efficiency and Affordable Warmth Strategy
is currently being written by MKEA on behalf of Milton Keynes Council (draft due by
October 2005). This strategy will outline how MKC and others will eliminate fuel poverty in
line with government targets.
Healthy Living, Well-Being and Active Citizenship
Older people remain active citizens and the Council and its partners have a role to play in
enabling older people to live healthy lives and to participate in their local community and in
the life of the borough. Access to leisure and exercise, to advice about healthy eating and
smoking cessation, to social and community activities, to community safety schemes and
accident prevention, are all important components of active citizenship, healthy living and
well-being. It is important that housing and care support is able to link people into a range
of open and welcoming services and opportunities across the borough and that there is an
infrastructure of information and public transport to allow older people to make use these
Older People’s Housing Strategy Sept 05 15
Equipment and Adaptations
Occupational therapists in Milton Keynes Primary Care Trust assess disabled and older
people for equipment and adaptations to enable them to live independently in their own
homes. Equipment is provided to them within 7 days. Adaptations (such as installing a
floor draining shower) can take many weeks to organise. For non-council tenants this may
involve applying for a means-tested Disabled Facilities Grant to fund the adaptation.
Equipment and adaptations are essential to helping people stay at home and the Council
is working across OT, social care and housing to streamline processes.
Residential and Nursing Care Homes
There are 28 residential and nursing care homes in Milton Keynes. Within these homes
there are 983 beds available. Milton Keynes residents comprise some 50% of the
residents that are in local residential and nursing care homes.
The Council, through its partner Excelcare, is developing new residential and nursing care
provision, and rebuilding three existing homes, so that 270 residential and nursing beds of
high quality will be available for MKC older people only (including those with mental health
needs) from 2008 (including 45 new beds from November 05). This replaces 148 beds in
older buildings in 2004. MKC owns one residential care home in Stony Stratford (St. Giles
House). There is sufficient supply of residential and nursing care home places in Milton
Keynes for the foreseeable future.
Health, social care and housing are all closely related services that must work together if
older people are to be supported to live independently at home. Over the last five years
the development of services such as intermediate care, supporting people and Extracare
housing have highlighted the interdependency of these services. New technologies, such
as Telecare, bring the possibility of greater integration between these services, allowing
more frail older people to be helped to live at home. Much work have been done to
develop integrated services for older people across health, social care and sheltered
housing, especially in the provision of intermediate care, but there is potential to develop
services further such as in the areas of Falls or Dementia. This development of seamless
person centred services needs to continue across these areas and other service areas, to
unsure that older people always receive joined up person centred services.
Older People’s Housing Strategy Sept 05 16
Section 6: Housing Supply
Definitions of “Older People’s Housing”
There is no universally accepted definition covering the wide range of housing available for
older people. Circular 82/69, ‘Housing Standards and Costs: Accommodation Specially
Designed for Old People’ (now withdrawn) provided an early definition, although its
purpose was primarily for controlling public sector finance. This set out two basic
Categories of housing for older people:
Category 1: Properties such as bungalows and flats for older people as part of general
Category 2: Bungalows and “sheltered housing” flats clustered together with support
from a warden who was usually resident.
Further developments of these models include:
Leasehold Schemes for the Elderly (LSE)
“Extra care”/”Very sheltered housing” - designed for those with higher dependency and
“Assisted living” - a private sector version of “extra care”
Housing stock in Milton Keynes
There are around 91,000 homes in Milton Keynes (as at 1st April 2005). Most were built
after 1964 but around 7% were built before 1919. The Council owns around 14% of the
housing stock in the Borough. The Private Rented Sector comprises around 7%. Appendix
4 shows the number of bungalows in the Borough across all sectors as at March 1999.
They roughly equate to around 8% of the total housing stock.
The total supply of sheltered flats (Council, Registered Social Landlords (housing
associations or RSLs) and Private Sector) is estimated to be around 1900 dwellings. The
Council’s sheltered housing schemes (31 schemes – 954 units) vary in size with an
average size of 31 units per scheme (compared to an average size of around 36 dwellings
per scheme in the private sector). Schemes have been constructed between 1966-2000,
with a sustained period of strong growth between 1974 and 1987. This compares with
housing association schemes, which have grown steadily since 1974. Wardens provide
support where needed and are careful not to take control of tenants’ lives. About 10% of
older people in Milton Keynes live in sheltered housing. The Council also supports 1800
older people in Bungalows, through the visiting warden and community alarm service.
The size of the private sheltered housing sector has grown since 1983. There are
proposals for new private sector schemes in Fenny Stratford, Bletchley Park and Woburn
Sands. The Extracare village development will also contain a significant amount of
housing for sale and shared ownership for older people in a mixed-tenure development.
Also, the Baisley House redevelopment (a former Council sheltered housing scheme that
was no longer suitable) contains housing for sale for older people.
Most sheltered housing schemes are popular and full. Consultation with RSLs in 2002
showed that they largely did not experience low demand. The one exception was Hanover
HA, which had already closed its scheme at Langland House, Netherfield. The Council
has responded to low demand by closure of unsuitable schemes (Baisley House),
developing an intermediate care scheme (Orchard House - currently 13 bedsits are
Older People’s Housing Strategy Sept 05 17
intermediate care), and expanding use (Bramley Grange now has 15 flats available as
short term use for vulnerable homeless people).
There is a good supply of social rented housing for older people, including sheltered
housing in Milton Keynes. The majority of older people live in a home that they own, and
there is strong demand for more owner occupied older people housing. There is only
limited supply of RSL/ private rented housing for older people. Shared ownership schemes
are also limited, but these options will increase with the new Extracare village. The Council
has a working group that is looking at the future role of its sheltered housing to ensure that
it is fit for purpose in buildings and design. An Asset Management Plan for Council
sheltered housing is being developed.
Older People’s Housing Strategy Sept 05 18
Section 7: Housing Conditions
Housing Needs Study 1999
In 1999, the Council and English Partnerships jointly commissioned the University of
Wales/ORS to carry out a Housing Needs Study of the Borough. The Study has had two
subsequent updates in 2001 and 2003. The Study defined older people’s households as
households where the respondent was aged 60 or over. Key findings about current
housing conditions for households comprised entirely of older people were as follows:
Over three-fifths (61%) of households were owner-occupiers.
A further 38% of households rented their home, of which 86% rented their homes
from the Council. A significantly greater proportion of older tenant households lived
in council rented accommodation when compared to the corresponding figure for all
27% of households lived in a terraced dwelling
38% had a semi-detached home
22% lived in a detached property.
13% lived in a flat or maisonette (figures consistent with results for all households)
27% of households lived in single-bedroom accommodation
31% occupied a dwelling containing two-bedrooms
Over a third (34%) lived in three-bedroom accommodation but only 8% had four- or
more bedrooms in their home.
84% of homeowners and 80% of those in the private rented sector were living in
larger properties than needed
Only 46% of those renting from a social landlord were under-occupying their home
Physical Condition of the Housing Stock
Only 7% of older people households had serious or minor problems with the external or
internal repair of their home - 4% had problems with damp penetration, 3% with their roof
structure and a further 1% with rising damp. All older people households had heating in all
of the rooms in their home.
Serious Minor No
Type of Problem
Problems Problems Problems
Roof covering/structure 1% 2% 97%
Exterior repair 1% 6% 92%
Interior repair 1% 6% 93%
Damp penetration (due to weather) 1% 3% 96%
Rising damp 0% 1% 99%
The level of satisfaction expressed by older people households was similar to the
satisfaction stated by all households. 93% were satisfied with their home (including 68%
who were very satisfied) and 7% of households were dissatisfied with their home,
compared to 9% of all households.
The conclusion therefore is that the majority of older people in Milton Keynes are satisfied
with their home. Most people had more bedrooms than they needed on an “objective
basis”, which in turn has implications when considering what type of properties should be
built in the future. However, 7% of older people’s households had problems with the repair
of their home. Given that the over 60’s population of Milton Keynes is around 31,000
Older People’s Housing Strategy Sept 05 19
people, this equates to around 2,000 older people. There is now a home improvement
agency geared to help older people improve the quality of their housing.
Stock Condition Survey 2004 –Council Housing
A Stock Condition Survey of the council’s homes was carried out in April-May 2004 and it
showed that at least £58Million is needed to bring the stock up to ‘Decent homes’
standard. A little more than this is available in the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) to
2010, but there is a view that a much larger sum is needed to achieve the housing service
vision of ‘Well maintained, comfortable homes in safe and attractive neighbourhoods,
where people choose to live’. Council tenants voted in 2005 not to transfer the housing
stock to a RSL or an ALMO, but to stay with Milton Keynes Council as landlord. This would
have allowed a RSL to raise capital to fund stock improvements. The Council can only use
money raised from rents to fund stock improvements and this limits what can be carried
A government priority is for all homes to reach ‘Decent Homes’ standard. This will leave
little money for improvements to the sheltered housing stock. The money available for
improvements to sheltered schemes is being prioritised to improve access and security in
the schemes and to replace or upgrade old systems and equipment. A separate stock
conditions survey of the Council’s sheltered housing schemes is currently being
undertaken. A plan to bring schemes up to standard will then be put in place.
Stock Condition Survey 2005 – The Private Sector
A Stock Condition Survey is currently underway to establish the condition of stock in the
The majority of older people in Milton Keynes are satisfied with their home, but some 2000
live in homes that need repair. Predominately these are privately owned homes and a
home improvement agency is now in place to advice and support older homeowners with
repairs. Many older people have more bedrooms than they need, on an “objective basis”,
which in turn has implications for the type of properties should be built in the future. The
Council has limited ability to invest in its own housing stock, but work is underway to
identify the condition of its sheltered housing stock in more detail.
Older People’s Housing Strategy Sept 05 20
Section 8: Planning the Future
A major issue for the people of Milton Keynes is the proposed growth of the City. The
Government requires us to plan for an extra 35,000 homes in Milton Keynes by 2031 over
and above those already planned. The issue for older people is around the types of
development that will be taking place in Milton Keynes in the future. The new
developments proposed will have to be at higher densities. Proposals for Central Milton
Keynes, Campbell Park and Oakgrove will not be traditional low-rise developments such
as bungalows. In Central Milton Keynes, housing could be built in blocks up to 8 stories
high. The needs of older people need to be included when designing these developments.
Advice for English Partnerships shows that Milton Keynes has an under-representation of
“Retired Seniors”. Further recent research by ORS/University of Wales shows that in the
Milton Keynes and South Midlands (MKSM) sub-region, the demographics of recent
movers continues to be a high proportion of families with young children dominating the
population. Furthermore, when looking at the age people of older people moving to and
from the area, older people are under-represented. To have a truly inclusive, sustainable
community we need we need to both keep the recently retired population and we need to
do more to attract/retain older people by enabling a spectrum of housing types and
The ORS Study also shows that in the context of health, there are only marginal
differences evident between recent immigrants and the existing population – though a
slightly greater proportion of in-migrants believed that their health has generally been not
good. Whilst there were no significant differences between recent in-migrants and the
existing population in terms of propensity to drink alcohol, in-migrants appear less likely to
smoke currently or to have smoked in the past. Overall, 12.4%.of all recent movers have
at least one household member that has a long term illness, disability of infirmity. Of these
households, 38.2% require some form of support – equivalent to 4.7% of all recent
movers. This is similar to the support needs of the resident older people’s population.
Milton Keynes is set to grow by about 3000 new homes each year for the next ten to
fifteen years. It is important that new built homes are able to meet the needs of older
people as they become frailer and as their mobility declines. Even where young families
initially occupy homes, people will need more flexible adapted housing in later life. The
Council is convinced that designing new homes to Lifetime Homes standards is the way
forward. This is a standard pioneered by the Joesph Rowntree Foundation. Lifetime
Homes incorporates 16 standards ranging from access to the property through to
standards dealing with the internal layout. Introducing these features helps to ensure that
the home is flexible, adaptable and accessible. They add to comfort, convenience and
safety. Lifetime Homes meet the varying needs of different occupiers in the same home or
the changing needs occurring through one family's lifetime - from raising small children to
having a disabled relative to stay, to becoming frail in old age.
Building to Lifetime Homes quality is relatively inexpensive. Quantity surveyors have
shown that most of the features have no additional costs. All can be introduced in a five-
person, three-bedroom house for between £100 and £300, although this may not cover
access to properties such as lifts in blocks of flats. In the words of Nick Raynsford, Minister
Older People’s Housing Strategy Sept 05 21
for Local and Regional Government: “Lifetime Homes include a number of attractive
features that will differentiate them from the existing housing stock…Because Lifetime
Homes will be suitable for older people (whose numbers are increasing rapidly) and for the
vast majority of disabled people, as well as the non-disabled person, they will have a wider
market of potential buyers and residents, probably increasing their value and the ease with
which they can be re-sold.”
The Council has a policy in its Local Plan that encourages all new homes at Lifetime
Homes Standards (Policy H9). In addition, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has
indicated that Lifetime Homes may be assimilated into new Building Regulations in the
Building all new homes at Lifetime Homes Standards will play a vital role in meeting the
needs of older people and promoting their independence. Within the overall growth
agenda, we need to ensure that adequate housing is available to older people including
those with care needs. Therefore, we need to plan for suitable adapted properties for
people who are disabled, for enough of the right size of properties as family units get
smaller but expectations grow, and for choice between for sale, shared ownership and
social (for rent) housing. As more and more people live to be very old (ninety plus) we
need to ensure we plan for their needs, and as more people from minority ethnic groups
reach old age, we must make sure that appropriate housing is available for them.
However, it is not just about bricks and mortar, it is also about ensuring that a high quality
housing support service is also available to all who need it, linked to social care and health
services. Supporting people grant is being capped by government; therefore it is important
that the provision of future housing, health and social care support is planned as a more
integrated service, bringing together several funding streams. Growth and rising
expectations of older people will challenge some existing sheltered housing provision. New
schemes are being built to modern standards that some existing schemes cannot match.
To prepare for these developments sheltered housing providers, including the Council,
have to consider which schemes are least effective and develop plans for alternative
provision for those tenants, in consultation with them.
Already 258 homes in an Extracare village are being built in Willen, and the Council has
decided that it would support the development of a second village by 2011. The “Extra-
Care” consultation events have shown that if options to meet the needs of all older people
are to be developed, a “mixed economy” approach is needed to develop different types of
The older people population of Milton Keynes will grow substantially in the next six years
(see Appendix 1) and the number of very old people (80+) will be much greater in the next
decade. Therefore it is important that the needs of older people are built into the planning
of growth and the design of new houses, so that choice of housing type and of tenure
remains available. This can be achieved by actively encouraging all developers to adopt
‘lifetime homes standards’. New developments, such as the Extracare village, will
challenge sheltered housing providers to review their provision to ensure it remains fit for
purpose as better quality housing and support services become available and older
people’s expectations increase.
Older People’s Housing Strategy Sept 05 22
Section 9: Proposals and Recommendations
Milton Keynes Council’s vision for older people from all communities is to support them to
live safely and independently in their own homes or in sheltered housing wherever
possible. Where a person requires a service, the council will ensure the service is
provided in a timely, sensitive, culturally appropriate and effective manner that promotes
that person’s independence and supports their carer.
Housing services will be of high quality, providing an environment where the older person
can live safely, irrespective of their age, frailty or disability, and where health, social care
and housing support needs will all be met in a seamless way through joined up services.
Older people should have choice of a range of types and tenures of good quality housing.
Services need to be available to help older people maintain their housing and ensure that
older housing stock is in good repair and up to standard. We will provide housing services
that promote the social inclusion and the well being of older people and encourage them to
remain active citizens in their community. We will develop housing support services that
are available to all who need them irrespective of tenure. We will ensure that appropriate
housing and housing support is available to all groups of older people including those from
specific ethnic groups and those with specific disabilities.
In planning for the future growth of Milton Keynes, it is important that the needs of older
people living in the city now and the needs of older people in the future are fully taken into
account. Older people are growing in number and as a percentage of the population.
Building all new homes to Lifetime Homes standards will ensure that people can continue
to live in them independently as they get older and frailer. The community alarm service
offers security and rapid response to all older people. The Oakgrove Millenium Community
scheme will use technology to create a truly modern neighbourhood and advance the
vision of a broadband-enabled community, linking homes, shops and schools with a high-
speed network. This presents an opportunity to use technology as a design force for
twenty-first century neighbourhoods, where Information and Communications Technology
(ICT) will benefit the way people, meet, interact, create, work and live. Extracare villages
extend choice and types of housing tenure available, and broaden the range of
opportunities for residents.
In order to achieve the vision of a range of quality housing and housing support options,
linked to health and social care services when needed, available to all older people as the
city grows, so that all have the opportunity to live independently at home, it is
1. Information about housing options and support options for older people is
developed and made easily available in appropriate formats
2. Housing and housing support developments are made in consultation with older
3. Housing for older people is included in the development of mixed-tenure housing
schemes across Milton Keynes
4. Actively encourage all new homes in Milton Keynes to be built to Lifetime Homes
Older People’s Housing Strategy Sept 05 23
5. Extracare village style developments that provide active opportunities and
community involvement for older people, together with care provision as people
become more frail, are promoted
6. A spectrum of housing options is developed, thereby giving older people housing
choices if they wish to move from houses that are too large or otherwise unsuitable
for them (whatever tenure)
7. Housing developments for older people from BME communities are promoted in
consultation with those communities, where need has been established
8. The Home Improvement Agency is expanded in response to demand, enabling it to
support all older and disabled people improve the quality and fabric of their housing
9. Systems are improved to speed up access to equipment and housing adaptations
for disabled and older people
10. The strategy for the Council’s sheltered housing service is agreed and implemented
11. A balanced use of Council sheltered housing is maintained by allowing entry from
able and active older people, whilst also ensuring that the housing support, health
and social care needs of frail older people are effectively met, up until the end of life
12. Ready access without delay to flexible social care, housing support, community
alarm, intermediate care and health services is available to all older people in their
own homes, when these services are needed
13. The strategy to prevent and manage Falls is integrated with housing support
14. Options are developed for council sheltered housing schemes, which are not
accessible for disabled older people or which are unpopular
15. The Community Alarm Service is promoted actively and widely, particularly through
health and social care services, using different funding streams and within available
16. Housing support is available to all older people who need it, irrespective of tenure,
within available resources
17. The use of ‘Telecare’ assistive technology systems to support older people with
frailty or long-term illness in their own homes is developed & the use of “Millenium
Community” style approaches to Information and Communications Technology
18. Housing support services are developed to play their part in enhancing well being,
through supporting older people to live healthy lifestyles, to participate in education
and volunteering opportunities, and to engage actively in their community.
Older People’s Housing Strategy Sept 05 24