MARY East, 89, is among the new residents at a former school that has been turned into social housing in Banbury.

She has moved from a cramped studio flat thanks to the £9.7m scheme at the former Stanbridge Hall School in Ruskin Road.

The building was also formerly part of Banbury School.

She said: “It is so bright and airy, with so much space. It’s easy to keep clean and I’m happier than I’ve been for a very long time.”

The “extra care housing” is a project between social enterprise Housing 21, Oxfordshire County Council and Cherwell District Council.

Extra care housing provides 24-hour care and support to help people live independently.

The development has 70 apartments and was built with £5m from the Government.

It also houses Banbury Health and Wellbeing Centre, which will provide classes including cookery, gardening and IT and a shop, restaurant and salon.

County council cabinet member for adult services Arash Fatemian said: “Extra care facilities like this one mean that people can continue to have their own homes and take advantage of extra help when they need it.”

The council wants 900 such places in the county, he said.