Tackling loneliness must be a key priority a Fylde MP has warned after new figures showed ageing populations in seaside towns – including Cleveleys, Blackpool and St Annes – were higher than the national average.
It comes after a new study of census figures for coastal communities by the Office of National Statistics showed that in Cleveleys 30 per cent of the population is over 65-years-old.
In Lytham and St Annes it is 27 per cent; in Blackpool 19 per cent; while the figure for Fleetwood is 21 per cent.
The national average for towns in England and Wales as a whole is that just 16 per cent of the population is aged over 65.
Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP Paul Maynard said policy makers had to consider the implications of an ageing population.
He said: “It is a good thing we are all living longer but we need to make sure those lives are fulfilling.
“If there is one great disease on the Fylde coast we need to tackle, it is loneliness as that is the biggest predictor of ill health, hospital admissions and the need for longer term support.
“But it is also one of the easiest to solve if we all aspire to become good neighbours.”
The study also shows there are fewer children in coastal communities – just 15 per cent in Cleveleys, Lytham and St Annes are aged 0-15, compared to 19 per cent for England and Wales overall.
A spokesman for Fylde Council said the authority did tailor services to meet the needs of older people such as assisted bin collections, and a higher than average number of parks which are used by retired people.
He added: “We have always had a higher than average number of older people and tailor our services with the population in mind. For example we understand not everyone has access to the internet, so we still have a large number of staff in our customer contact centre to see people face to face.”