Bradford Council will today be asked to approve creating four ‘Extra Care’ homes with a capacity for 251 beds in a £24 million scheme to allow elderly people to live independently for longer.

The homes, to be based in Saltaire, Airedale, Thackley and Goitside in Bradford are part of the Council’s new Great Places To Grow Old Strategy.

That strategy is a joint project with health and housing chiefs aimed at providing more homes for pensioners as population forecasts show there will be a massive growth in the elderly population.

Latest figures show there are 69,400 people in the district aged over 65, more than 13 per cent of the district’s population.

That number is projected to grow to 136,200 by 2033.

If the Council’s Executive gives the go ahead today, work could start as soon as possible on Thackley and Saltaire homes.

Extra Care is a step up from sheltered housing and a step down from residential care allowing people to have 24-hour home support and care.

The units would also accommodate those released from hospital after major surgery but needing time to recuperate before they go back to their own homes.

It could mean some people in existing care homes moving into the new units once they are finished.

Keith Nathan, the chief executive of Age UK Bradford and District, welcomed the news of Extra Care homes citing the success of an existing one, Mary Seacole Court, Park Road, Little Horton, but warned that standards needed to be maintained.

“We have been involved with this work with the Council for a couple of years,” he said.

“I do think it is very important that the local authority provides the good standard which helps keep the whole market up to scratch.

“We have always had a system where people are moved to residential care as a destination, rather than trying to get them to recuperate. They would much rather live where they know and where people know them.

“Extra Care enables much more than sitting around watching TV, just look at the success of Mary Seacole Court.”

The strategy also plans to eventually decommission in-house long-term care and work more with the independent sector, including private care homes, to get more bed space in that sector for those needing residential care.

Existing care homes will eventually be adapted to meet the needs of people with dementia.

Jean Walker, the chairman of Bradford Older People’s Alliance and Bradford & District Senior Power, said: “You need a package to help you stay at home and that is my worry.

“You need more than someone coming in for more than 20 minutes a day.

“In theory the plans all sound fine. But what about those who can’t sell their house who want to go into sheltered accommodation?

“I know of a 92-year-old woman who has owned her home for 60 years and has tried to sell it but just can’t.

“We need to look at care homes and what function they have. I wouldn’t like to think someone was sitting there waiting for the end of their life.”

The district’s eight remaining care homes, Holmewood, Keighley; Woodward Court, Allerton; Beckfield, Bolton Lane, Bradford; Norman Lodge, Odsal; Thompson Court, Crossflatts; Neville Grange, Saltaire; Holme View, Holme Wood, and Harbourne, Wibsey, will stay open until alternative provision is found.

The cash to fund the Extra Care homes would be found from Department of Health grants, the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) and Bradford Council.

It is hoped the new units will give people a better quality of life and leave them needing less residential care if any.