RESIDENTS have started moving into a new type of housing designed to let the elderly remain independent for longer, marking “a new era for housing in Thurrock”.

The 65-unit apartment complex Elizabeth Gardens, in Long Lane, Grays, has a restaurant, hair and beauty salon, laundry, activity room and landscaped gardens.

Thurrock Council said the development is an example of how ill health, caused by poor housing and social isolation, is being tackled, with the target age group for these types of properties being those aged over 55 who need care and support services.

There is an on-site 24-hour care team and residents in the apartments can also receive personal care, including help with dressing and washing.

All of the flats – of which there are 18 with one bedroom and 47 with two bedrooms – are designed to help residents maintain their independence. Most are being let at affordable rates.

Thurrock Council’s portfolio holder for housing, Cllr Val Morris-Cook, said: “It is great to see the first residents moving in to their new home.

“This heralds a new era for housing in Thurrock. We are creating homes where people want to live, in communities that are friendly and well connected.

“We hope this will enable older people to continue to enjoy life and go on making a valuable contribution to communities.”