BOURNEMOUTH-based retirement housing giant McCarthy & Stone is looking for land in its home town and pledging to invest £5million on its doorstep.

The company is predicting a big increase in demand for retirement housing in Bournemouth, with the UK’s population of over-65s set to grow by 43 per cent in 20 years.

It says the plans are a response to Boris Johnson’s appeal for developers to “build, build, build”.

McCarthy & Stone says it is in a strong cash position despite several challenging months of trading caused by the lockdown, with more than £100million to invest in land across the UK.

It has secured £300m from the government’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility to support its plans.

McCarthy & Stone says a scheme of 40 retirement flats typically provides around 50 jobs during construction, with the company committed to using local subcontractors, tradespeople and suppliers. Up to 17 jobs are created when each development is complete.

Chief executive John Tonkiss said: “The prime minister is spot on in recognising that housebuilding will be central to the UK’s recovery effort, and more and better housing for older people is a critical part of the mix.

“High-quality and well-located retirement communities bring life back to high streets and help older people remain independent and secure in their own home, with companionship and assistance on hand if needed.

“Our communities have a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of customers – something that has never been more important than right now. Coupled with the ageing population, we are predicting a substantial increase in interest.

“We have identified Bournemouth as a key location for McCarthy & Stone, and we need new land in the town in order to satisfy this growing demand.”

McCarthy & Stone is looking for sites of between 0.5 and five acres, ideally with level access and in a prominent location near to local amenities.

It says its strategy supports the government’s drive to revive town centres.