DISABLED people in Swindon will benefit from a purpose-built sheltered accommodation complex in Abbey Meads.

Swindon Council planners have approved the construction of 49 apartments within a complex in Redhouse, off Thames-down Drive, in north Swindon.

The Bovis Homes development is strictly limited to those who are certified disabled, are aged 55 and above and certified as having a long-term illness by their GP.

Schemes like this are credited as easing the pressure on hospitals and social services that lead to a build up of delayed discharges or so-called bed blockers at the Great Western Hospital and others in the South West.

Many residential nursing homes have closed down as the cost of upkeep spirals. Owners have found it more profitable to sell their land for housing and pocket the money rather than keep their businesses running.

The development which will be run by a Bovis appointed manager will comprise 49 one and two-bedroom retirement apartments and provide a raft of communal facilities for residents, together with surface car parking and landscaped gardens. The buildings will be arranged in a series of streets along short stretches.

Neither neighbours nor Blunsdon Parish Council raised objections to the development, but Haydon Wick Parish Council has objected to the scheme on the grounds that the property will be overbearing.

Former planning committee chairman Maurice Fanning (Lab, Gorse Hill and Pinehurst) said: "I'm glad to see that the private sector is coming to help public sector and that's very encouraging.

"The public sector is not always able to tackle the wider problem that the community faces and schemes like this give an outlet to people otherwise looking to the public sector and I welcome the development."