London & South East

Vulnerable and older people to benefit from two housing schemes

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Restaurant & Bar Design Show

Two projects comprising the construction of new homes for vulnerable and older people are being constructed by Wilmott Dixon for Housing 21.

Beeches Manor in Wokingham town centre will be for people with dementia and learning difficulties, and Waring Court in Thatcham will provide extra care housing for elderly people.

The £3.8 million Beeches Manor development comprises the construction of eighteen apartments in Wokingham town centre for people with dementia, and eight apartments for people with learning difficulties on the site, as well as staff accommodation and two guest rooms.

Designed by Quattro Design Architects, the apartments for people with dementia will be on the ground floor and built around two courtyards with a communal lounge, kitchens and activity rooms.

This component of the project is modelled on the American ‘Greenhouse’ model and consists of two clusters of nine self-contained, ground floor one-bedroom flats. Each cluster is arranged around an open plan communal kitchen, dining and lounge area with a hearth at its centre. The clusters also have their own private courtyard with access to shared landscaped and woodland garden areas. This is a relatively new model of care for the UK, departing as it does from the usual en-suite bedrooms typical of most dementia units.

The apartments for people with learning disabilities will be on the first floor, where the guest rooms will also be located.

Extensive consultation with neighbours and the planning department has ensured that the rich wildlife habitat on the woodland site is respected with access offered to local people.

The one bedroom flats for people with learning disabilities will provide residents with separate independent apartments with lift access and both private and communal balconies as well as a communal garden area.

David Williams, head of research and development for Housing 21, said: “It’s important that people with dementia and those with learning disabilities can continue to lead rewarding and independent lives. The use of proven building and assistive technology solutions at Beeches Manor will ensure that this happens.”

Wokingham Council’s cabinet member for health and wellbeing Cllr Julian McGhee-Sumner said: “This is a great opportunity for vulnerable people to live an independent life in a modern, quality home. Beeches Manor will provide safe accommodation with secure gardens but is also close enough to Wokingham town centre so that residents will be able to use all of facilities on offer in the town.”

Councillor Bob Wyatt, Deputy Borough Mayor, said: “Beeches Manor will be much more than just bricks and mortar, it will provide vulnerable people with modern, high quality homes in a safe environment, close to the facilities on offer in the town centre.”

David Williams, head of research and development for Housing 21, said: “It’s important that people with dementia and those with learning disabilities can continue to lead rewarding and independent lives.

“The use of proven building and assistive technology solutions at Beeches Manor will ensure that this happens.”

The development is due to be completed in March 2012.Waring Court in Bluecoats, Thatcham, will comprise 51 apartments specifically designed to meet the needs of residents aged over 55. The scheme has been designed by Hunters Architects.The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) provided more than £3m to enable the development.

David Ashworth, Head of area at the HCA, said: ”In Thatcham, we hope we can continue to support our partners and the community in creating affordable and sustainable places that people want to live in.”

39 of the homes will be available for social rent and the scheme will also include 12 New Build HomeBuy properties – providing affordable homes with the extra care required for elderly residents.

The site will house 25 one-bedroom and 26 two-bedroom self-contained flats, and will include communal facilities, including a restaurant and hair salon which will be available for members of the wider community to use as well. All of the flats will be wheelchair accessible and the building will meet high environmental and sustainability standards by achieving BREEAM Excellent.

Siobhan Moore, Head of programme delivery from Housing 21, said: “The grant from the HCA will allow older people to live independently in a purpose-built scheme with support on hand should they need it. Developments such as this are also a real asset for the local community who can access the on-site facilities, such as the hairdressing salon and restaurant.”

Joe Mooney, West Berkshire Executive Councillor for Community Care said: “Waring Court is an important part of our plans to change the way care for the elderly is delivered in West Berkshire. This approach will ensure our older residents have the support they need to live independently, secure in the knowledge that help is on hand if required.”

Construction is due to be complete in October 2011.

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