Eastbourne may have a reputation as one of the seaside towns which is overwhelmed by the elderly but all that may be about to change.
A top university professor has released research into the migratory habits of the lesser spotted pensioner and uncovered a surprising trend.
According to the work of Professor John Shepherd of the University of London, more of Britain’s elderly are shunning the coast and opting for cheaper, inland homes.
Seaside towns are recording only slight population increases while landlocked locations are blossoming far faster as more pensioners move there and the local elderly population stay put. For example, in the Staffordshire town of Lichfield, the population has gone up from 14,500 to 19.600 in the last decade.
Professor Shepherd suggests the shift inland is partly because people of a retirement age are far fitter than in years gone by and as less keen for the genteel life by the sea.
Another reason put forward was the higher house pricing in traditionally popular seaside towns like Eastbourne while the expectations of people entering their twilight years have changed markedly.
Gone are the days when people headed to the coast to enjoy the health benefits of the sea breeze and while away their later years reminiscing about treasured childhood holidays.
As Professor Shepherd explained in the national press this week, “They (people retiring) have been abroad or may even own a holiday home abroad. They have a different view of what a seaside place should be. They are also finding there are better services in some of these small inland towns. ”
And it was a sentiment shared by the University of Sheffield’s expert in social geography, Professor Danny Dorling, who also said there may be a slightly obvious reason why less and less old people are moving to the coast. He said, “Seaside towns were popular in the 1970s and 1980s for people to retire to and many of these people are still alive because we have an increasing number of people living into their 80s and 90s. As the elderly population has aged rather than died, it has blocked up the flats with sea views. Before, a 65-year-old would move in and maybe die at 74, then another would do the same.”