WORK began this week at Hampshire County Council's Westholme older people's home in Winchester to provide 30 nursing beds.

The new nursing home, in Harestock Road, with a construction cost of £2.9m, is the eighth of 10 nursing homes being built by the council, as part of a £60m partnership with the NHS to provide 500 nursing home beds for older people.

The county council-run nursing home will be linked to the Social Services Westholme older people's residential home on the same site and it will offer a range of care to meet the needs of those who have both general nursing needs and those with dementia and/or physical frailty.

The existing residential home will be refurbished at an additional cost of £1.2m.

The new facility will provide 30 bedrooms with en suite facilities, lounge/dining rooms, an occupational therapy room, medical room, visitors room and staff offices.

A new landscaped courtyard areas for residents, which is accessible from the communal living areas will be created with raised beds, water feature, lighting, seating and sensory planting.

Construction on the new building is programmed for completion by April, 2006, with the new beds ready for occupation the following month.

County council leader, Ken Thornber, said: "This project is an excellent example of partnership working between ourselves and our health colleagues and I look forward to the beds being ready for use early next year."

Chris Evennett, chief executive of Winchester and Eastleigh Healthcare NHS Trust and Mid Hampshire Primary Care Trust, said: "We are delighted at the prospect of this new facility. Good quality nursing homes play an important part in looking after our older people."