WORK on a new short break unit on the site of a former special needs school in East Lancashire is now under way.

The £5million project will provide ground-breaking services for people with disabilities on the site of the former North Cliffe School in Great Harwood.

Work began with the demolition of the old school premises last summer.

The foundations for two new buildings have been laid with a view to opening in March next year.

The replacement units will serve residents of Hyndburn and Ribble Valley.

One of the buildings is a short break service for children and young people providing overnight support for up to six children with special educational needs and disabilities. Play facilities are also being built next to the centre.

This complex, run by Lancashire County Council, will replace Hargreaves House in Oswaldtwistle.

The second building will be a short break service for for up eight adults with disabilities enabling families and carers to take a respite.

Cllr Phillippa Williamson, the county council's children's boss, said: "It's tremendous to see the new buildings taking shape. The children's short break service will be a great improvement on the service we currently offer."

Cllr Graham Gooch, her adult services' counterpart, said: "These cutting-edge facilities will be a massive improvement over the ones we currently have in Hyndburn and Ribble Valley."