New housing plan for landmark site

Planned "extra care" housing scheme for older people
Planned "extra care" housing scheme for older people

Plans to build a high-quality housing scheme for older people on part of a landmark Dunstable site are one step nearer to becoming a reality.

The idea to create ‘extra care’ housing on the Dukeminster site has won the go-ahead from Central Beds Council’s executive committee.

And the new development on the Church Street site is expected to be just the first in a series of ‘extra care’ schemes to be built and managed by the council, in Central Beds.

If detailed planning permission is obtained this summer, the scheme could be completed late next year.

The council says extra care developments, sometimes called ‘very sheltered housing’, aim to provide good quality accommodation in a supportive environment, coupled with access to round-the-clock care, if needed.

Schemes of this type usually involve self-contained apartments grouped together with communal facilities such as cafes, hobby rooms and beauty suites, open to other members of the public, too.

Care and support services are provided on site, so residents can remain independent, avoid loneliness and have help on hand if necessary.

The proposed scheme would be based in a prominent corner position on the site.

Initial plans are to build 40 one-bedroom apartments and 40 two-bedroom flats.

They would each have a balcony and meet guidelines on space for wheelchair access, storage and “assistive technology”. Proposals have been developed along with members of the Older Persons Reference Group (OPRG) and STAG, the council’s Sheltered Tenants Action Group.

Councillor Carole Hegley, executive member for social care, health and housing, said: “The plans look fantastic. It will be a landmark building.” She said the location in the heart of the town would enable the scheme to become a real community hub and enhance regeneration.

And she added: “These plans showcase our commitment to improve the range and quality of accommodation for our older residents.”