WORK has begun on a £11.2 million extra-care facility in the heart of Romsey.

Nightingale Lodge in Great Well Drive was knocked down earlier this year and construction work for the new building at the site is now underway.

Previously earmarked to open in the summer, the scheme was pushed back after “unknown ground condition issues” stalled construction, and the launch date is now anticipated for spring 2021.

Councillor Liz Fairhurst, HCC's Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Health said: “I am pleased to confirm that our developer began work on the Romsey site some six weeks ago – and good progress is being made.

"We look forward now to completion of the scheme in Spring 2021 and being able to welcome residents to the modern, high specification Extra Care accommodation for older people in the heart of the town.”

She added: “For older Hampshire residents who wish to remain independent, or feel isolated living alone, this type of scheme can be the perfect solution because it offers people their own apartment but also the security and reassurance of 24/7 care on site.

“Our £45 million programme of investment in the development of Extra Care across Hampshire is an excellent example of how by working in partnership, we can provide people with quality care in modern and attractive accommodation and secure good value for the taxpayer.”

Romsey Rural Councillor, Roy Perry, said: "I am very pleased to see that work has now started.

"HCC has a very ambitious programme of developing extra-care facilities with the highest standards appropriate for modern living- particularly allowing elderly people where possible to lead independent lives rather than the old style residential homes where residents quickly became institutionalised and dependent.

"I have seen these excellent facilities in other parts of the county, for example Chesil Lodge Winchester, and it has been my ambition to see Romsey has similar excellent provision.

"I hope when it is complete, Nightingale Lodge will have the same quality as the number of private developments we see in the town for elderly people."

The new development will comprise 54 one and two bedroom affordable housing flats, for rent and shared ownership, a separate space that could be used by older people in the wider Romsey community, as well as communal gardens and secluded courtyard areas.

Nightingale Lodge was controversially closed in 2013, after county councillor voted to shut it.