More than £200,000 is to be spent on a new housing scheme for older people - as council bosses wrestle with a way to provide the 3,000 extra care places desperately needed over the next decade.

Research has shown that Norfolk needs 2,842 extra care units by 2028 to make sure its ageing population get the help and support they need.

Norfolk County Council has earmarked £29m to provide that care and today agreed funding for the first of the extra care housing developments.

The council's policy and resources committee agreed to make £212,000 available for a 66-unit scheme in Fakenham, next to Fakenham Medical Centre.

North Norfolk District Council is match-funding investment in the 2.32 acre site and the work on the homes could start this spring.

Extra care housing schemes are made up of flats that are rented or owned by individuals, with the council branding them as Living Well Homes.

Such homes are available for people over the age of 55 whose current home no longer meets their needs, enabling them to remain independent in their local community.

Housing 21 will run and manage the scheme, made up of 39 two-bedroom flats and 27 one-bedroom flats.

Thirty of these units will be for affordable rent with Norfolk County Council and North Norfolk District Council sharing the responsibility for nomination rights.

Andrew Proctor, leader of Norfolk County Council, said: 'I am delighted that we are investing in this programme, working closely with developers, housing providers and district, borough and city councils to address future housing demand.

'It's important that we can offer alternatives to residential care enabling people to stay close to their family and friends.

'Living Well Homes will provide an effective way for people to live independently for longer with the reassurance that, should you need care, this can be provided.'

Bill Borrett, chairman of the council's adult social care committee, said: 'This is about people retaining as much independence as they possibly can.'

Labour's Brenda Jones said: 'I think this is excellent. I think any opportunity to increase autonomy of people is tremendous.'

Liberal Democrat Eric Seward said he looked forward to more collaboration between councils in the future.

Priority for tenancies will be given to people living in the local district.

The scheme has already been granted planning permission.