Exciting plans for a new high specification Extra Care housing development for older people in Alnwick have been given the green light. The project, to be known as Weavers’ Court, will provide 58 one and two bedroom apartments, with 30 of these available for shared ownership sale.
The new building will sit in a family housing development brought forward by Northumberland Estates, which won outline permission last night (August 6th). The development site is on the southern edge of Alnwick, close to Weavers Way, with fantastic views to the south.
Award winning architects idpartnership have developed an attractive three storey building, with first class facilities for all the residents. The aim of the new Extra Care scheme is to promote independence in older and vulnerable people, and to sustain those with chronic and other health conditions in the community. It could help prevent admissions to residential care.
The building is intended to act as a community hub including a range of communal facilities, such as a shop, café, internet connections, hairdressers, multi purpose room for GPs to use, patio and sensory gardens for use by residents and the wider older community.
Developer Isos Housing has been working alongside Northumberland County Council and Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust to develop its plans. Work will start on site in May with completion expected in autumn 2015.
The design of the scheme is compliant with the Lifetime Homes and Wheelchair Design Guide standards and will use ‘HAPPI’ (Housing our Ageing Population: Panel for Innovation) principles and best practice. Construction work will be project managed by Plan B Housing and Elliott Associates.
The overall investment will be over £5m, with the Department of Health’s Extra Care Housing fund contributing £1,943,000. The new funding is part of a national programme, where the Department of Health has now allocated funding to build 3,544 new homes.
Michael Farr, executive director of development and property at Isos Housing, said:
“We’re delighted to win planning permission for this prestigious development scheme. It represents a real endorsement for the support we provide for older people across the North East.
“Our existing Extra Care facility in Prudhoe is a hugely successful scheme, and now we have the opportunity to bring that standard of provision to Alnwick.”
Mark Massey, senior partner at idpartnership, the architect of Weavers’ Court, said:
“The design of Weavers’ Court encompasses HAPPI design principles and reflects best practice in inclusive design and design for well-being. The scheme will be a “step-change” in housing for the elderly, enabling them to become the focus of the community, offering a hotel-like environment in which an active and positive old age can be enjoyed.”
For the shared ownership apartments in Weavers’ Court, a 75% share will be available to purchase, with Isos retaining a 25% stake.
Northumberland’s population is ageing faster than that of England as a whole and there is clear evidence of a rapid increase in the number of older people particularly in North Northumberland – including those over 85. The Alnwick District Housing Needs Survey shows that the number of people over 75 is set to increase by 81% by 2031, and identified an increasing need for around 400 units of specialist housing for older people.
Isos will employ a manager to run the scheme and there will also be an independent care provider with staff available according to residents’ needs. Isos has a strong track record of delivering high quality development programmes and its ground breaking Extra Care scheme, The Manors, in Prudhoe has set very high standards in the care of older residents.