NEW £10million homes for people with learning difficulties will be built in Braintree to help them move out of hospital.

The expected residents have spend a combined 67 years in hospital because there was nowhere else suitable for them to go, a situation which has been criticised.

Essex County Council agreed to fund a £9.5 million contract for a supported living scheme, which would house ten people in Thistley Green Road, Braintree, with the figure set to rise if the scheme is successful.

The scheme would be home to adults with learning disabilities and “behaviours that can challenge”, six of which have spent 67 years living in hospital environments.

Speaking at a cabinet meeting councillor John Spence said: “This scheme is dealing with six people with the most complex needs in this county.

“These people have been incarcerated in hospital, we are moving them out of hospital to improve the quality of their life.

“But the prospect of them ever leaving full time residential care is zero. So, yes the housing benefit is used, while it is an extraordinary cost, we are talking here packages of about £150,000 per annum.

“What we are doing is spending more than would be the case if they stayed in the NHS.

“And they will have a better quality of life because of that.”

During the meeting residents voiced concern about possible car parking problems and noise.

Resident David Wicks said: “We have been told the residents will be prone to making loud, unexpected noises at any time and further, such noises could be of a distressing nature.”

Acting head of county planning Rachel Edney said staff would be at the site 24 hours a day to supervise residents individually.

The scheme is part of an attempt to provide the best quality of life possible for all.