NORTH Yorkshire County Council is planning to develop two extra care housing schemes on sites in Craven.

The schemes - at Ingleton and Bentham - would each comprise 40 housing units and would bring much needed care and support services to the area.

The Bentham scheme could also house the town library.

The proposed sites are the playing fields of the former Ingleton Middle School and the playing fields and building of the current High Bentham Primary School. Both are owned by the county council.

The High Bentham site will be released once the new primary school opens in 2015.

Extra care currently enables people aged 55 or over or other vulnerable adults to live in their own homes, but with care and support seven days a week, 24 hours a day. It provides a range of supported apartments and enables couples to stay together and have their families to stay and for people to keep their pets.

Extra care also provides communal facilities such as a lounge, restaurant, hair and beauty room and guest suite.

Due to the urgent need for this type of accommodation, the county council’s executive is being asked to back the transfer of land and the procurement of a provider for the Ingleton and Bentham sites ahead of the council’s future county-wide plans to undertake a large scale extra care programme.

In the longer term, the county council is embarking on proposals for a new strategy for North Yorkshire’s health and adult services to meet future needs based on the fact that older people wish to live independent lives in their own homes and want more choice and control over their support .

The aim is that by 2020 there will be more than 50 extra care housing schemes across the county to meet the needs of people living with dementia and the changing aspirations of the wider population.

“We are convinced that extra care is the way ahead for communities in providing, through partnership, the housing, care and support for people to continue to live independent lives in homes of their own,” said County Councillor Clare Wood, executive member for health and adult services. “There is an urgent need for this kind of provision in Craven and so we are eager to press ahead with these two schemes."

It is expected that the two schemes will bring about long-term savings. Both Ingleton and High Bentham are near the North Yorkshire border which has resulted in several cases where the council has to fund residents in placements outside the county.