Planning our futures

Meeting programme  

By 2025, one in five people in South Cambridgeshire is expected to be over the age of 65. Cambridge residents got to have their say on Tuesday 21 September about some of the challenges this presents to the design of the major housing developments on the periphery of the City. Nearly 50 people turned up for a meeting hosted at the Centre for Mathematical Sciences by campaigning charity Cambridge Past Present & Future. Morcom Lunt from the Federation of Cambridge Resident Associations chaired the meeting.

The evening's discussion began with introductory talks by

Trevor Baker, Research Manager, Cambridgeshire County Council
Joe Oldman, Senior Policy Officer, Age UK
Carol Brayne, Director, Professor of Public Health, University of Cambridge

(Click on their names to see their slides.)  

The main conclusions of the meeting were

  • Communities and homes must be designed to be adaptable to residents' changing needs as they age or lose mobility.
  • Providing simple things such as level access, circulation space and walk-in showers could save the country more than 5 billion pounds over the next 60 years
  • Isolation and loneliness are big challenges. Older people must have good access to services, shops, public toilets, green space and other facilities such as community halls, without needing to use private transport.
  • 90% of older people live in mainstream housing. While they require a choice of housing solutions they should still remain within, or closely connected to, the wider community.
  • The elderly population of Cambridgeshire will increase much more rapidly than the national average, because of our economic success - the proportion of over 65s could nearly double by 2031 and existing housing can accommodate only 75% of them.
  • They need advice to help them choose, and to prepare early rather than move in haste.
  • Older people should be helped to downsize to match their changing need. This would be easier if houses were built in a way that allowed a low cost division of family homes into two units.
  • About a quarter of over 85s will have dementia, and more than half will have difficulties with locomotion and with reaching up.
  • Environments should not make things too easy: there needs to be a bit of a challenge.
  • There is a lack of awareness among architects and builders.
    The meeting divided into 6 working groups, facilitated by
    Roger Crabtree, Nicky Morrison, Donald Douglas, Nigel Bell, Carolin Gohler and Harriet Hunnable.

    Click here for their feedbacks at the end of the meeting and here for more extensive reports.