Work has begun on a major 56-apartment care home complex on the former site of an Ilkley school.

Emmandjay Court is expected to be opened in the summer of 2012 to provide independent living with care homes for the over-60s.

The project is being developed and run by nationwide housing charity MHA, formerly known as Methodist Homes For The Aged, thanks to a large grant from the Emmandjay Charitable Trust, which is providing the name for the new complex.

The development, on the former Ilkley Middle School site, Valley Drive, Ben Rhydding, will include one or two-bedroomed homes for sale or rent.

MHA also operates a care home in Ilkley, Glen Rosa and Kitwood House, on Grove Road, providing residential and dementia care.

Les Sudron, head of fundraising at MHA, said: “We were thrilled when we were approached by the Emmandjay Charitable Trust offering to support the development of such a wonderful new facility for the benefit of older people.

“Having supported older people in the area since 1947 with the opening of Glen Rosa, we are delighted to be able to continue our longstanding association with the local community.”

Residents will have 24-hour care on site and a wealth of features to suit their needs, including switches placed at waist level to avoid stretching and bending, extra-wide corridors enabling wheelchairs to pass each other and ovens at eye-level.

There will also be communal facilities including a hair salon, a garden and residents’ lounge.

Jane Barker, MHA group director, said: “One of the great things about Emmandjay Court is that there will be a 24-hour on-site care team, offering flexible care and support.”

It is believed the Emmandjay Charitable Trust, which will be closed next year after 50 years, wanted to make the project one of its final schemes before finishing.