Meeting the housing needs of Lichield's over-65s poses a challenge for our planners

Lichfield is “God'’’s new waiting room” according to an article, published in The Economist on 17/Mar/2012. It says that the over-65s contributed more than 90% of the District's net population growth since 2001. Former BSARA chairman, Peter Rear, highlighted this trend in a letter to the Lichfield Mercury published on 28/Feb/2011. It illustrates the profound change our District is undergoing and why the standard approach of the post-war era — to knock out another housing estate — can no longer be the default solution for the majority our new homes.

A new HOME does not have to be a new HOUSE.

The graph to the right illustrates the impact if past trends continue. In the 25 years between 2001 and 2026, statisticians project that over 20,000 net inward migrants,mainly of working age, will come to Lichfield District. Most of the growth in the over 65s is due to people, who moved to Lichfield in the seventies and eighties, getting older. This corresponds with the previous surge in housebuilding e.g. Boley Park.

With advancing years, our older residents are finding that family sized homes & gardens are becoming an increasing physical and financial burden. Yet there is very little choice for those wishing to downsize and remain in the area. With much of the existing housing stock better suited to families, the challenge to planners is to encourage the construction of homes with a design, price and location suitable for older residents. By creating opportunities to downsize, family sized properties could be brought onto the market, thereby reducing the scale of new estates that developers will seek permission to build.

Net population change by age band for Lichfield District