A NEW 40-bed low-secure unit for people with learning disabilities is now a step closer.

The unit will replace Calderstones Hospital in Whalley and Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust STP have been allocated £33m of capital funding to build it.

It is not known at this stage where the site will be and when it will be built.

Calderstones, which is the only NHS hospital in Britain that specialises in learning disabilities, had been due to close in 2019.

But that closure has been scaled back with uncertainty over the future of low-secure services on the site and elsewhere.

A spokespman for the trust said: “We are delighted to have confirmation that this funding has been secured and look forward to working with our partners in the months ahead on a new state of the art hospital. We are developing a business case and the planning documents for a modern secure hospital and will be engaging with stakeholders.

"We support some of the most complex individuals in the NHS, and this capital investment will enable us to deliver the very best therapy and care for people with learning disabilities and forensic needs," added the spokesman.