MORE than 70 new homes for the elderly and people with learning disabilities are being built in Taunton.

Building work has started on 78 homes at Parmin Close after MP for Taunton Deane Rebecca Pow and representatives from Knightstone Housing Group, Rydon Construction and Taunton Deane Borough Council joined to break the ground.

The £10 million development consists of 66 homes for retirement living for people aged 55-years-old and older, and 12 apartments will provide independent supported housing for people with learning disabilities.

Barrie Dale, vice chairman of the Knightstone Housing Group board, said: “We’re delighted to mark the start of our latest Taunton development in which we’ve invested more than £10 million to provide a mix of homes tailored to meet people’s needs.

“Supported housing for older people and for those with learning disabilities is an important priority for us as a house association.

“As a section, We need to ensure we’re meeting the varied needs of residents and supporting them to live independently.”

The development was put on hold in 2015 after its public consultation following a government announcement that housing benefit for housing association rents would be capped at the level of the Local Housing Allowance (LAH) to include specialist services like supported housing and extra care schemes.

Cllr John Williams, leader of TDBC, said: “Knightstone and TDBC have worked in partnership over many years to bring this scheme to fruition.

“It is a delight to see much-needed specialist affordable housing being delivered for older persons and those with learning difficulties, and is testament to our commitment to serving those in need.”

All of the apartments will have assistive technology which can be tailored to individual needs. Other design features include underfloor heating and wet-room bathrooms designed for people with mobility issues.

The homes will have a communal space which will provide a community feel and will aim to help to reduce isolation.

Ms Pow said: “I am delighted that these new homes will be built in Taunton and I was thrilled to be part of the start on site.

“Schemes like this are really important for Taunton Deane, providing a range of housing options to meet local and specialist needs.

“I know that local councils have worked with Knightstone for many years providing appropriate housing that encourages people to make Taunton their home.”

The development is due to be completed by summer 2017.