Property News > £31m retirement village project in Bedfordshire gets underway

£31m retirement village project in Bedfordshire gets underway

Work involving a trio of companies has begun on a new £31m retirement village in Caddington, Bedfordshire.

The three companies - Inspired Villages, Legal & General Capital, and Willmott Dixon - have come together to build the Millfield Green development, which will deliver 200 new apartments, and will also include leisure and fitness facilities, a bar, restaurant and an entertainment suite.

Phase one of the four-phase scheme will be delivered by Willmot Dixon, and will see the creation of some 80 apartments in the midst of a sustainable village centre complex, plus a block designated for assisted living, comprising six apartments. 

The firm has also announced that it will reinvest £1.55m back into the local community and economy, as part of its plans to leave a positive, lasting legacy in the area working in partnership with Inspired Villages. A proportion of that investment will go towards designing bespoke career support packages in both construction and hospitality for local schools and colleges, as well as supporting local vulnerable residents with employability schemes.

Willmott Dixon director Michelle Cotterill said: “Not only are we excited about this project because we’ll be creating a new, state-of-the-art complex to facilitate comfort and independence for retirees, we’re also delighted to be working closely with Inspired Villages to support the local community wherever we can. Under the guidance of Inspired Villages, we have been able to gain really valuable insight into where our support is needed the most within the local community and we will be working in collaboration to deliver an extensive package of initiatives throughout the whole lifespan of this project.”

The scheme will be the first net-zero carbon retirement project delivered by the three organisations involved, with a strong emphasis on promoting well-being among both the residents and the environment. The site will generate its own renewable energy to offset regulated energy used in any of its buildings. 

She added: “As part of our ‘Now or Never; our decisive decade’ strategy, Willmott Dixon has pledged that our operations will be zero carbon by 2030, with our supply chain partners following our lead in operation by 2040, ten years ahead of the UK government’s target. It’s fantastic to work with two businesses that align with our sustainability ethos.”

The development will also play host to a range of leisure and entertainment facilities, such as a swimming pool and sauna, gym, hairdresser, yoga deck, spa, bar and café, library, craft room, bike and buggy stores with charging points and an exercise studio.

Meanwhile, Willmott Dixon’s place on Luton’s Career’s Enterprise Hub as a school’s engagement panel member means it will also be offering skills and employability initiatives to Caddington Village School, Manshead Church of England Academy, The Stockwood Park Academy, Central Bedfordshire College, Challney School for boys and Challney School for girls, all as part of its community support initiatives. In addition, it will also run specialist support programmes for those not in education, employment or training with support from Inspired Villages.

Inspired Villages construction developer Shaun Whelan said: “The UK’s rapidly-ageing population means there is a growing need to create more suitable homes and wellbeing-focused communities designed to help older people live healthy, independent lives for longer. It is so important though, that we deliver these in an environmentally sustainable way, and support the local communities around our schemes in the process. We are therefore very excited to be delivering the UK’s first net-zero carbon retirement village with Willmott Dixon as well as working with them to deliver a number of community initiatives.”

Renewable energy on site will be generated by round source heat pumps by Kensa Heat Pumps, while on site photovoltaics, improved building fabric and insulation, and mechanical heat vent recovery units will all contribute to ensuring maximum energy efficiency. 10% of the parking bays will also include electric vehicle charging points, with the infrastructure in place to increase this in line with future demand. 

Legal & General Capital CEO of later living Phil Bayliss said: “We have to Build Back Better after Covid-19 and the housebuilding sector provides both jobs and vital economic resilience. Millfield Green is set to create around 1,100 jobs through construction and operation. But as we accelerate building, we have to avoid stoking up a climate crisis which will create another serious emergency. 

“We continue to make terrific progress through our partnership with Inspired Villages as we set out to revolutionise the later living offer in the UK and address the chronic shortfall in supply. Bringing forward the UK’s first operationally net-zero (regulated energy) retirement community is another string to this bow, creating savings for residents and clear environmental benefits as we progress towards a carbon-free future.”

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