Plans have been submitted for new homes that are the first step towards meeting the needs of Northumberland’s aging population.

The proposals for 10 homes at Longhirst, near Morpeth, are the work of The Land Exchange Limited and address a major gap in the provision of housing for elderly people.

Research shows that by 2022 half the population of Northumberland will be of retirement age, yet developers rarely consider their needs.

Ronnie Baird, managing director of The Land Exchange Limited, explained: “Many developers want to build as many homes as possible, but that’s not the approach we take.

“The land at Longhirst could accommodate twice as many homes as we’re proposing but our aim is to create a high quality, sustainable development where people can enjoy their surroundings.

“Our plans respond to a significant shortage of housing for elderly people in Northumberland, and to the House of Commons’ Older People Select Committee’s review showing there is a widespread shortage of privately developed housing for over 55s.”

A full consultation has already been held with Longhirst Parish Council and local residents.

The site, on the northern edge of the village, is not in the green belt.

Ronnie added: “It’s important that Northumberland addresses the challenge of an aging population and a lack of suitable housing.

“This development does exactly that.

“The Land Exchange Limited is committed to understanding and working closely with local people to make sure our developments meet local needs and enhance communities.”

The Land Exchange plans are for 10, two-bedroom stone bungalows with slate roofs, positioned around a central village green.

Julie Booth, director of Newcastle-based Intersect Architects Ltd, has designed the bungalows that will use materials in-keeping with the local area.

Parking will also be introduced for existing, nearby residents and dog walkers.