BOURNEMOUTH, Christchurch and Poole are among the areas most ripe for development of housing for older people, a report has found.

A survey found the BCP Council patch was fourth among 316 local authority areas with the potential for more “senior living” schemes.

The research was carried out by property consultancy Knight Frank and law firm Irwin Mitchell, which said older people’s housing would be essential as the population ages and that many councils were not planning for enough suitable accommodation.

BCP Council has only existed since April last year and the authority is still operating under the local plans drawn up by its predecessors.

The survey found the old Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole councils all took different approaches, and that Bournemouth and Christchurch did not have land allocated specifically for seniors’ housing.

Poole was the exception, recognising a need for an extra 3,425 specialist homes by 2033. It had a “supportive policy environment and specific site allocations for seniors housing”.

The study awarded Poole’s policies an A grade, while Bournemouth and Christchurch’s policies were given the bottom D grade.

Nicola Gooch, planning partner at Irwin Mitchell, said: “The current preparation of a new local plan for the combined authority area should be used as an opportunity to address these discrepancies – to adopt the same policies and to provide a joined-up regional and national strategy to meeting the housing need.”

The authors were impressed that new residential care developments did not have to offer affordable housing, and that Christchurch and Poole charged a smaller community infrastructure levy for housing devoted to seniors.

Lauren Harwood, head of senior living research at Knight Frank, said: “This research is released against a backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has placed a particular spotlight on people in their later life. This has made it clear there is a need for local authorities to put plans in place to ensure there is a suitable, age-appropriate choice of housing for seniors.

“There is currently a huge supply and demand imbalance of senior housing in England, which is widening amidst a growing and ageing population. It is vital to increase the provision of seniors housing. This is part of the solution to create more capacity in the social care system while also supporting the wider housing market. With that in mind, it is crucial that developers understand where the opportunities are, and how they can access these to help meet the needs of our seniors.”

McCarthy & Stone looking for land for development in Bournemouth

Earlier this week, Bournemouth-based McCarthy & Stone, the biggest player in the retirement housing market, said it had £100million to spend on acquiring sites, with £5m to invest in development in Bournemouth.