Building work starts on £31m retirement village in Caddington with 200 new homes
Plans for a retirement village of 200 homes in Caddington officially broke ground this week.
Owner Inspired Villages acquired the 12-acre site in Millfield Green last year with outline permission for 200 apartments, as part of a £31million investment.
The company, part of Legal & General, has appointed housebuilder Willmott Dixon to carry out the first phase of construction - which broke ground on Wednesday, April 7.
The Millfield Green development will see the construction of 200 apartments to support Central Bedfordshire's Local Plan to deliver 9,050 new dwellings for older residents.
Willmott Dixon's first phase will see the creation of 80 apartments at the centre of a sustainable village complex, as well as one assisted living block made up of six apartments.
The project is part of Millfield Green’s five-year development programme and will run across four phases.
It will also include leisure and fitness facilities, a bar, restaurant and an entertainment suite.
Michelle Cotterill, director at Willmott Dixon, 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 developers' first net-zero carbon retirement project, generating renewable energy on site to offset the building’s regulated energy use.
Michelle added: “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 include 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.
As part of the contractor’s community support initiatives, Willmott Dixon also holds a place on Luton’s Career’s Enterprise Hub as a school’s engagement panel member.
Locally, the contractor will also be rolling out 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, as well as running specialist support programmes for those not in education, employment or training with support from Inspired Villages.
Shaun Whelan, construction director at Inspired Villages, 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.”
Alongside high-quality living and community facilities, the development will also benefit from the installation of ground source heat pumps by Kensa Heat Pumps to generate renewable energy, on site photovoltaics, improved building fabric and insulation, and mechanical heat vent recovery units to make it as energy-efficient as possible.
Electric vehicle charging points will also be installed in 10% of parking bays - which will include 121 spaces in its first phase and 214 overall – with infrastructure in place to increase it to 100% once demand grows.
Phil Bayliss, CEO of Later Living at Legal & General Capital, 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.”