Homes plan for older people gets go-ahead

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Plans for a new Independent Living scheme in the centre of Houghton Regis have been given the go-ahead.

The former Co-op site is to be redeveloped by Central Bedfordshire Council to provide specially designed homes for older and disabled residents, similar to the Priory View scheme in Dunstable.

The scheme will offer community space, restaurant and retail opportunities, as well as landscaped gardens to benefit residents and the local community.

Planning approval was given on Wednesday subject to a number of conditions, which focus on conserving the heritage of the area and site, protecting local residents’ privacy and safeguarding the boundary of the site.

Councillor Carole Hegley, Executive Member for Social Care and Housing, said: “This is an exciting step forward in our plans for new generation housing for older people in the area. We’ve been really heartened by the local community’s input and feedback, which we’ve taken on board throughout the consultation stages. The design reflects the ideas and hopes of people in Houghton Regis as well as our aspirations.”

The plans include 168 apartments as well as accommodation for people to benefit from intensive support, care and reablement services in order to regain their independence prior to returning home following a fall or period in hospital.

Cllr Hegley added: “Of course, the approval is fantastic news but the construction phases – and planning for it – will take some months, so don’t expect diggers on site straight away! We’re working hard on making that process as streamlined as we can. We have a dedicated email bulletin that you can subscribe to – find it at www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/houghton-regis-central.”