A NEW extension for a Basingstoke nursing home has been approved by Hampshire County Council.

An additional nine nursing care rooms and a new lounge area will be built at Oakridge House in Jefferson Road.

The £1.8m scheme was approved by the county’s executive member for policy and resources Ken Thornber.

Work is set to start this summer and should be complete by Spring 2014.

The existing 34 residential care rooms, and 48 nursing care rooms at Oakridge House will remain open throughout the construction period.

Two-story Oakridge House was first extended in 2006 to add the 48 nursing care rooms. The new development will boost the number 57. The new rooms will include an on-suite bathroom.

And a landscaped courtyard will connect the new development with the existing two-story building.

The announcement was part of a £3.36m boost to improve Oakridge House, as well as Westholme nursing home in Winchester.

Cllr Thornber, who approved the scheme on January 24 said the investment will help the county council address growing challenge of caring for an ageing population.

“We are all living longer, which is good news, but this presents us with some challenges,” he said.

“Older people now have higher expectations than previous generations. This means we have to ensure the care we provide is fit for the future and it is good news that older people in Basingstoke and Winchester will soon have access to more high quality care close to home.”