A PROBLEM-plagued flagship £12.5million extra-care housing scheme for the elderly is now set to welcome residents in April.

The canalside redevelopment of Albion Mill in Ewood, Blackburn, has been hit by coronavirus and its main contractor going into administration in December 2019.

The project's original start date in 2014 was delayed and then its opening was scheduled for August 2018 and then given a new one of December last year before work was disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Now developer Verum Victum Healthcare (VVHC) has revealed it hopes to hand it over to the NHS and Blackburn with Darwen Council next month for residents to start arriving in April.

It will provide 109 beds, including 50 extra care apartments, 31 en-suite rooms for intermediate care, 24 dementia apartments and four rehabilitation apartments.

VVHC managing director Roy Kenny said: “It’s a lovely facility and a fitting place for local people to enjoy their sunset years in comfort and security.

“Completing the job to the standards we expect has not been without its challenges but we’ve got there and I’m delighted that local folk are getting ready to move in.

"They’ll find state-of-the-art facilities and lovely communal spaces, as well as skilled care and medical staff."

The finishing touches are now being added by contractor Carroll Build, ready for hand-over in mid-March and Mr Kenny understands the first residents will move in from April 2021 onwards.

Blackburn with Darwen Council's adult services director Sayyed Osman said: “I am really excited to see this state-of-the-art facility open.

"It will be a massive benefit for our residents who need support. It will also be a huge benefit for the local community as it will have a strong community focus.

"Once open, people will see what a wonderful facility it is”

Dr Mark Dziobon, medical director at NHS Blackburn with Darwen and East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Groups, said: “I am delighted that Albion Mill is due to open soon, particularly following the last year we have had.

"This is a perfect example of integration – health and social care working side by side to make a difference to the lives of our residents.

"This state-of-the-art facility will ensure people can live comfortably with as much independence as possible but also with the right care around them when needed.”