Low-cost moveable homes are being considered to house some of Dorset’s older people.

Projections say there could be up to 260 social care users over the next four years in need of re-housing with 160 of those expected to need help in the coming 12 months.

The idea of using what Dorset County Council describes as 'modular' homes is being investigated at the moment for Wareham and Bridport, and possibly Weymouth. Officers say the homes, purpose-built for older people, could be used to meet immediate, or urgent needs.

Costing around £45,000 each they are similar to holiday caravans, although more substantial, and can be transported on the back of a lorry. The manufacturers are guaranteeing a 25-year minimum life.

Those needing what has been described as “care village” accommodation may find themselves in need due to discharge from hospital, moving on from an existing home, or inappropriate accommodation.

They are mainly social care clients with learning disabilities or mental health problems, some with complex needs, and for whom the limited supply of general needs housing available through the Housing Register is usually inappropriate.

The sites will include care services, extra care housing, and key worker accommodation and could be provided within six months, compared to three years for traditional housing.

DCC's Performance and Scrutiny Committee heard officers have been looking across the county to find suitable sites for pilot areas.

An analysis is expected to be completed by the end of April and up to £1.5m may be invested in the project.

Cllr Jill Haynes called for the consideration to be given to finding central locations, rather than on the edge of towns and villages: “People are often quite isolated in their own homes…we need to work closer with communities to ensure that they get more than just the visits they need from their carer.”

Social isolation is said by DCC to be “a significant issue in Dorset and is known to have a negative impact on life expectancy.”

A further report is expected later in the year.