WORK on a new £45m retirement community including specialist dementia care could start in Witney next year.

Plans have been submitted to build the complex, which would include 60 care bedrooms, 46 care suites and 79 care apartments.

If planning permission is granted it will be built on land at Coral Springs, in Thorney Leys, and work could start next year for a 2015 opening.

The facility will have the appearance of a small village and include a shop, cafe, library, beauty salon, restaurant, bowling green, spa and fitness studio.

Warwickshire-based firm Richmond Care Villages has made the application and hopes the project will create 150 full and part-time jobs.

Director Paul Jackson said: “There is a general lack of beds throughout the UK in terms of current need and looking forward.

“This will provide quality of care that simply does not exist at the moment almost anywhere.

“And, from an economic point of view, it will bring local jobs. Most jobs are filled with local people and we use an awful lot of local businesses to supply us.”

The firm’s statistics show the number of people over 65 living in Witney and nearby is expected to increase by 46 per cent by 2020.

The new complex will include homes for couples, sheltered accommodation for people with specialist care needs and 30 beds for dementia patients.

Dementia has been described as a “ticking timebomb” by health experts and affects one in five people over the age of 80.

Mr Jackson added: “The range of accommodation means if people move in and in years to come develop dementia they do not have to move out.”

Age UK Oxfordshire chief executive Paul Cann said: “We welcome this development and we have seen Richmond Care Homes do great work in other parts of the county and country.

“Oxfordshire, like many parts of the country, is struggling to meet the increasing demand of the ageing population.

“We need to make sure that wherever people live and however much money they have, they have got access to diagnosis and treatment for dementia.”

The new planning application is a redesign of a scheme that won outline planning permission from West Oxfordshire District Council in 2009.

Richmond Care Villages also runs a community, including 51 care beds, 66 care suites and 80 care apartments, in Letcombe Regis, near Wantage.