THE council has committed to a 10-year strategy to deliver five purpose-built housing schemes for the elderly with work on the first expected to start in early 2020.

The extra care housing schemes, which could offer "integral assistive technology" and 24-hour support, will be rolled out in areas with the highest demand.

This comes as it is revealed that the over-85 population is forecast to increase by a third over the next 10 years.

A quarter of Bolton residents are over 65 with more than a third of Over Hulton, Heaton, Lostock and Smithills falling into this category.

The first proposed scheme is a new extra care facility on the former Lever Gardens sheltered scheme site which is expected to cost £10.7m.

Bolton At Home, which owns the site, plans to incorporate six bungalows and a 60-unit extra care scheme into the development – all units available at affordable rent levels.

For the scheme to go ahead, the council must contribute to a £750,000 shortfall.

Cabinet member for strategic housing and planning Toby Hewitt said that the council would cover the shortfall by using money it has collected from developers known as Section 106 contributions.

He said: "It will also be subject to securing £3.6m funding from Homes England."

UKIP leader Sean Hornby, who represents Little Lever and Darcy Lever, welcomed the new scheme on his patch.

He said: "I've been taking with Bolton at Home with regard to that site – it's been unusable for some time. This is a better way of dealing with this issue.

"It should help life expectancy and give people better outcomes."

Labour leader Linda Thomas said her group also welcomes the move. She added: "We do need them all over the borough."

Bolton currently has ten extra care schemes managed by three landlords.

The council's housing delivery plan recommends providing at least 12 extra care schemes over the next 14 years.

But a report, which concluded that this is "unlikely to be achievable", recommended against so many schemes due to the impact it would have on "care market sustainability" and demand for existing facilities.

The report also explained that from a housing perspective, extra care schemes assist in freeing up mainstream family housing as older people have an attractive offer to downsize to.

The other four schemes planned in the 10-year strategy would be subject to different sources of funding and assessed on an individual basis if a council contribution is required.