By Ian Dipple 20/07 Updated: 20/07 10:12
THE POPULATION of Redditch has grown faster than anywhere else in Worcestershire over the last decade.
According to figures compiled using data from last year's Census, the number of people living in the borough has risen by 5,393 since 2001 - an increase of 6.9 per cent.
It means Redditch's total population now stands at 84,200 up from 78,807 in 2001 but still way short of the 100,000 population estimated the borough would hit by the start of this century when it was designated a New Town in 1964. Wyre Forest had the lowest population growth in the county of just 1.1 per cent.
It means Redditch is growing faster than major conurbations such as Wolverhampton, Stoke, Coventry and nearby Worcester.
Neighbouring Bromsgrove district also grew rapidly with its population increasing by 6.5 per cent. The northern half of Worcestershire is also growing faster than the south.
The data also highlights the borough's ageing population with the number of over 65s in Redditch rising by almost a quarter over the last ten years to 11,900.
The figures are the first set to be released by the Office of National Statistics and will be followed by more in-depth analysis of modern life. The research will be used to cater for a range of services such as health, as well as decide how much money councils get from the Government.
Coun Simon Geraghty, responsible for economy and infrastructure on the county council, said it was too early to tell if the figures could be used to get more money from the Government but there were clear implications for adult social care.
"People are living longer and with more complex conditions now. These figures show for the over 65s and over 85s we are seeing particular growth for those two age groups and we do expect that to have an impact. We have put more money into adult social care over the last few years and it is a growing budget at a time when many other budgets are reducing," he said.
"One of the big challenges for the county council is how can we continue to support people to live a good quality of life and live as independently as possible and that's going to mean big changes."
Coun Bill Hartnett, leader of Redditch Borough Council, added: "Every statistic that comes out we think we can use to make a better case for Redditch or better resources will be examined and used to get the best deal for Redditch."
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