An impressive new extra care housing scheme, which includes the refurbishment of two Victorian villas and a former school building, as well as a larger new build element, will provide 106 one and two-bedroom luxury apartments, plus additional facilities for the over 55s on the former St Bede’s School site in Bromham Road, Bedford.
The new build and refurbished elements of the scheme will be interconnected to create a complete self-contained environment including landscaped courtyards and gardens, a coffee shop, dining facilities, a hairdressers and medical facilities.
The project is being carried out for Orbit Housing by Mansell Construction. Orbit will also man and manage the completed scheme.
Mr Paul Sewell, Technical Manager responsible for architecture and engineering within Obit Housing said: “This is something which is going to be fairly unique to the area and has generated a tremendous amount of interest – in fact when the scheme was first announced we received enquiries from interested people before anyone had so much as put a shovel in the ground on the development.
“This picturesque scheme, which forms an ‘L’ shape and has a very large footprint, will provide a much needed facility for which there is a great demand locally.”
The conversion work involves stripping out the original buildings to shell state and the installation of new floors, partitioning, services, fixtures, fittings and decor, The building is also being re-roofed and some of the original windows will be refurbished, whilst others which are beyond conservation will be replaced with windows of the same style and materials as the originals.
Some of the flats will be within the original buildings, whilst others will be in the new build element, which makes up the bulk of the accommodation on the scheme. The new build section will be of three storeys, – the same height as the original buildings.
The scheme is being built to the Code for Sustainable Homes Level 4, making the homes very energy efficient, with systems in place such as a high-tech combined heat and power system, which recycles waste energy to provide domestic hot water.
The development will incorporate telecare systems, such as fall detectors and door monitors. It will also meet Lifetime Homes standards, with the apartments having wet rooms, wheelchair friendly doors and extra large reception areas. Externally provided care services will be available for residents to access if they need to.
The scheme will also incorporate cutting edge features such as glass walkways, while also preserving and enhancing the existing environment in line with its position in a Conservation Area.
The development will be solely for those local to the Bedford area. The apartments include some for rent and others for shared ownership.
The development team has worked alongside ecologists to preserve the range of wildlife found on site, both in the construction phase and in the future. Bat boxes and nesting boxes will be added, to ensure the protection of flora and fauna native to the area.
The scheme has cost about £17m, including almost £4.6m of Homes and Communities Agency funding. Orbit Homes was strongly supported by Bedford Borough Council in applying for this grant and has worked with the council throughout the design and planning process to ensure the scheme will be fit for purpose and will meet local housing need.
Chris Jones, Development Director of Orbit Homes, said: “This scheme will create a home for life for the residents and a fantastic community to live in.
“The development will be solely for those over the age of 55 and will be equipped with facilities that will enable residents to continue living in their own home for many years to come. There will be a mix of shared ownership and rental properties, ensuring we cater for the needs of a wide range of people and circumstances.”
Orbit Business development manager Lorraine Mansifeld said: “I am extremely passionate about this scheme, it gives older people the chance to live their lives independently. It is very important for us when we build these schemes to have them in local context.”
The 18 month project, which began in April 2011 is currently making good progress.
From houses and hospitals to colleges and classrooms, the scope of Mansell’s building work can be summarised in just two words; constructing communities.
The company’s base is regional – with offices spreading from Truro to Elgin – enabling them to offer a locally-led and focused service with the backing of national capability and shared experience.
At approximately £800 million, Mansell’s turnover is significant, achieved through ongoing success in the company’s chosen market sectors.
Mansell has developed a reputation for reliability, personal service and innovative solutions and is very proud that a large part of their business comes from customers for whom they have previously worked.