THE first spade entered the ground on a new development site which will include specialist extra care housing.

The Wilberforce Trust, who support people with visual and sensory impairments and other disabilities, appointed Williams Birch & Sons to begin construction on the development in Dringhouses.

Damian Pocknell, head of housing as the Trust, said: “It’s brilliant to have two organisations with a combined history of 331 years in York working in partnership to deliver apartments and facilities specially designed for people who suffer from visual impairment and other disabilities.”

The development will include 30 new specialised apartments that will enable people with visual impairments to live independently with support as and when needed.

Alongside the new apartments will be a 'living and learning centre' that will be open to the local community.

Philippa Crowther, chief executive of the Trust, said: “We are delighted to be building both homes and a community facility for all ages. It has been three years in the planning and today marked a fantastic step.”