Building work has started on a £1.2m project to add five new flats to sheltered accommodation for older people at Crapstone as demand and waiting lists grow.

The assisted living flats will be built in the grounds of the existing ten-flat retirement home on Pilcher’s Field, owned and operated by the independent Abbeyfield Buckland Monachorum Society Limited (ABMS) to meet increasing demand from older people in West Devon and reduce the waiting list.

The current Pilcher’s Field Home was purpose built in 1992 and then redeveloped, extended and improved in 2014 to give more space in the apartments and ensuite facilities, together with additional communal space.

Ken Farnham, ABMS chairman, said: “It is a great achievement that we can meet an increasing demand within our community, in providing assisted supported living in a way to help people live as independently as they can in their own home with a tenancy agreement and at the same time supported in their day-to-day tasks.”

He added: “Demand is increasing for affordable homes in rural settings because people are not only living longer, but also are more likely to be isolated in their own homes as families do not stay in the same area like they used to do, mostly to do with getting work. So, we can provide our own community for people who do not need to move far from where they have lived for a long time. This community is a sociable form of supported living where residents eat together and have communal space where they can enjoy each other’s company and social events like quizzes if they want to. The average age of our residents is also increasing and is in the late 80s now.”

The funding comes mainly from the government body Homes England with supporting funds from West Devon Borough Council (WDBC).

Cllr Mark Renders, WDBC lead member for housing, said: “Providing more homes which local people can afford is one of our top priorities. We are delighted to support the extension of Pilcher's Field which will provide more high quality and affordable homes for our older community.”