A DILAPIDATED former nursing home in Winsford is nearing full restoration and will soon open its doors for the first time in almost a decade.

Elmhurst, on Roehurst Lane, closed in 2000 and fell into disrepair after becoming a target for vandals and arsonists. But work to return the derelict building to its former glory began in July 2008 and is now almost complete.

Central and Eastern Cheshire Primary Care Trust (CECPCT) is leasing the premises from Cheshire County Council and is creating a 30-bed “intermediate care centre,” to help guests recuperate after a spell in hospital before returning to independent living.

“It’s all systems go and it’s looking good for an early spring finish,” said Cty Cllr Tony Hooton, of neighbouring Windermere Close, who has campaigned to get the centre reopened.

“All the building work will be completed before the facility becomes operational. They’re fitting out the inside at the moment.”

The “halfway house” will include en-suite facilities and recreation areas.

“It will feel a lot like being at home and will be an ideal atmosphere to help people get back on their feet,” said project manager Nicola Kent. “Patients will stay in the facility and receive therapy until they are able to return to their own homes.”

She added: “We’re hoping to have patients in before the end of March.”