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CASE STUDY 31


market town of Saffron Walden in Essex, the new development is placed within easy reach of the M11, and there is a regular train service from the local station into London’s Liverpool Street in one direction, and Cambridge in the other. According to Andrew Mills, development manager at Retirement Villages, the company is “constantly looking at potential new locations” such as this to develop. He explained to Housebuilder & Developer how the site was chosen: “The type of offering we have is in high demand, but location is also a big driver for potential residents – for example, they want to move closer to family. “We already have an existing successful village in this region, and were made aware this site could be available. In early 2016 a conditional contract for its purchase was exchanged, and towards the end of that year we secured outline planning permission.”


At the end of 2017, a reserved matters consent for the detail elements of the scheme was secured, and work started on site in February 2018. Full completion is expected before the summer of 2020, but a smaller first phase of seven cottages is intended for completion around Easter. When it came to planning, Mills told that


the pathway to securing consent “went smoothly,” with no major issues arising. “We had a good working relationship with the local council throughout the process,” he added. With a lot of housebuilding work under- way nearby, along with the current climate of the housing shortage, Mills believes that people are “much more understanding of


the need to develop new homes,” and as such, the team “haven’t had any significant issues with the local community.” He continued: “We always try to work with the local community and make sure the villages are a part of the area in which they are situated. In many of our other villages our residents either visit or contribute to the local community, so we are confident the same will happen at Debden Grange.”


TAILORED FUTUREPROOFING The overall scheme of 81 units comprises 64 apartments and 17 cottages, alongside the 40-bed residential care home. “Each property will be offered on the basis of a 125-year lease, with a 10 per cent assign- ment fee and a low ground rent,” Mills explains. Residents will also pay a service charge for the communal facilities, which includes the clubhouse, as well as elements such as staff, maintenance of the grounds, and laundry services. Mills explains the Clubhouse’s key function as being to “breathe life and activ- ity into the village.” He continued: “It’s the residents who make the villages as vibrant as they are – they run their own social calendars. But it’s important to have excel- lent facilities in which to run those clubs – the clubhouse is integral as a meeting place, function area and general communal facility.”


When developing retirement properties,


besides the addition of communal spaces, there are many factors that differentiate the design process from that of developing conventional homes, along with many similarities. “In some ways, it shouldn’t


DEBDEN GRANGE IS INTENDED TO OFFER A LIFESTYLE OF INDEPENDENT LIVING, IN A RANGE OF COTTAGES AND APARTMENTS


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