Elderly still key to coast’s population

Coun Gillian Campbell
Coun Gillian Campbell
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THE latest picture of life on the Fylde coast has been revealed after the census results were unveiled.

In total, more women than men live in the area, a quarter of Wyre residents are elderly and Blackpool’s population has fallen.

Those are just some of the findings from the first wave of results from last year’s census.

Now town hall chiefs are busy digesting the information which will be used to shape policies and funding decisions for the next decade.

Figures, published by the Office of National Statistics, showed that in 2011 there were 200 fewer residents in Blackpool – a drop of 0.1 per cent to 142,100 since the last census in 2001.

Wyre’s population increased by 1.8 per cent to 107,700 from 105,800 while Fylde’s jumped by 3.4 per cent to 75,800 from 73,300.

All three local authorities have more female residents than male.

Wyre has the largest proportion of people in the North West aged over 65, while at the other end of the scale, Fylde has the lowest number of people aged 19 and under, with only a fifth of its population in that age group.

Blackpool and Fylde are the two local authorities with the smallest average households in the region, with 2.1 people living in a typical home – perhaps reflecting the conversion of failed guesthouses to bedsits.

Blackpool Council is now pursuing a housing policy aimed at replacing the current glut of one-bedroomed accommodation with more family homes.

The redevelopment of the Queens Park high rise estate is a key part of this policy. Click here to register with The Gazette website to enable you to comment on stories.

Coun Gillian Campbell, cabinet member for housing, said: “We are making significant changes to local housing over the next few years.

“We are pressing ahead with plans to turn Queens Park into two or three bedroomed family housing, as well as converting many other properties across town into suitable family homes.”

A spokesman for Fylde Council said future plans would try to attract more young people to the borough.

A spokesman said: “By the time people have enough money to buy their dream home in Fylde, they are usually retired or about to retire.

“But we are working on a new version of the local plan which will include more affordable housing, and our economic strategy to attract jobs, both of which will encourage young people to stay in the area.”

Coun Patsy Ormrod, lead member for older people at Wyre Council, said meeting the needs of the elderly was key. She said: “We work closely with Wyre Pensioners Forum and Wyre Seniors Forum to make sure our services meet the needs of older people.

“We provide a number of specific services and in addition, we’re working on a strategy for older people.

“Looking to the future, our older population is only going to increase so we are looking at how we will shape and deliver our services with a reduced budget and how we can work with communities to ensure sufficient support is available.”

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