Disability and the built environment – Inclusion London’s submission

Disabled people are falling into serious debt because of the heavy cost of adaptations needed to make their homes accessible. Read our evidence and recommendations…

Inclusion London submitted evidence to the inquiry into Disability and the built environment by the Women and Equalities Select Committee.

Below is a summary of our evidence, which highlights our recommendations:


Many Disabled people are living on low incomes and need low cost, accessible accommodation, which currently in short supply in both the social housing and private sectors.  Disabled people are falling into serious debt because of the heavy cost of adaptations needed to make their homes accessible. Also public buildings and venues are not all accessible. Therefore we make the recommendations below:


Social housing

  • That new accessible social housing is built, to Lifetime homes standards[1] except for 10% which is built to full wheelchair accessible standards to ensure there is low cost, accessible housing.
  • Disabled people are given security of tenure in social housing.
  • A compulsory accessible housing register is established in all local authorities. The register will also record the number of Disabled people waiting for accessible housing in the social housing sector.
  • Accessible features in social housing accommodation are retained after a change of tenancy and priority is given to Disabled people waiting for an accessible property.
  • Disabled people are able to move to a different area and be eligible for social housing immediately.

Private sector housing

  • All new homes to be built to Lifetime Homes Standards.
  • 10% of all new homes to be built to full wheelchair accessibility standards.

Both sectors

  • The amount awarded for a Disabled Facilities Grant is increased to reflect the rise in costs since 2008 and is then increased again in line with inflation on an annual basis.
  • Compulsory building regulations under Part M and Approved Document M have the same level of accessible standards as Lifetime Homes Standards. Also that Lifetime Neighbourhood’s standards should also be maintained.

Public Buildings and the environment

  • All public buildings and venues need step free access
  • Accessible toilets are needed in local high streets and in other public facilities.

Access measures for people with sensory impairments, rare syndromes or neurodiversity:

Public buildings

  • Highlight the edges of stair/steps e.g. with a yellow or white strip.
  • Ensure there is good even lighting, which is not overly bright, throughout all buildings including corridors, toilets and cafes within hospitals, museums and other public buildings.
  • No use of flashing lights.
  • Colour contrast is used to highlight doors and to differentiate between wall and floors.
  • Muted pastel colours, with matt paint are used throughout buildings and toilets – so bright, white gloss paint is not are used.
  • Intricate patterns are avoided.
  • Use colour coding for different areas, to make buildings easier to navigate.
  • Clear signage, in relation to font (sans serif, e.g. Arial, Calibri), large in size, contrast, and positioning, is an important feature in creating an accessible environment, as is the removal of clutter.
  • Consistent signage, e.g. use either using the wording ‘eye clinic’ or ‘ophthalmology’.
  • Provide information in multiple formats.
  • Quiet spaces for people that have mental health support needs or are neurodiverse.
  • The quality of the environment is considered by architects and designers, such as the need for green, leafy spaces in the hospital environment especially for people with mental health support needs.


  • Pedestrian crossings are provided on all busy roads to enable visually impaired people to cross safely.
  • The minimum level of kerbs are 60mm in shared surface streets schemes.
  • Accessible car parks are provided.

Community involvement

Local access forums are supported and access officers employed by local authorities.

Download our full evidence:

Disability and built environment inquiry-Inclusion London’s evidence

Download our supplementary evidence:

Inclusion London – Supplementary Evidence to the Disability and Built Environment Inquiry

Information about the inquiry is available at:

[1] http://www.lifetimehomes.org.uk/pages/revised-design-criteria.html