A traditional ground-breaking event took place on Tuesday 5 July, to celebrate a £54 million development, funded by Central Bedfordshire Council with a contribution of £4.4 million Homes England grant, that will see a new senior living village for the over 55s built right in the heart of Flitwick. It is being built on the site of the old leisure centre.
When complete the Steppingley Road development will be the largest single Passivhaus building in the UK.
The Steppingley Road development is the first senior living village to be built by the council and will comprise 88 independent living apartments; a 72-bed care home and 8-bed short-stay units. The building has been designed to encourage social inclusion and support independent living with communal spaces, lounges, restaurant/bar, hobby spaces and gardens.
The planned development will be built by Farrans Construction to Passivhaus standards with a design to allow older people to maintain an independent lifestyle by providing a ‘home-for-life’ that integrates varied levels of care and support if and when needed. The Passivhaus design will create optimal internal conditions, a safe, healthy and comfortable environment as well as significantly reduce energy and operational running costs.
Cllr. Gordon Perham, Central Bedfordshire Council’s Chairman was joined by Cllr. Eugene Ghent, Executive Member Housing & Assets and Cllr. Carole Hegley, Executive Member Adult Social Care to ceremonially break the ground to celebrate the start of construction work. Several residents from Ferndale Care Home were also on-site to witness the ceremony including Mr Ernie Thorne, a former construction worker, who ably assisted with the ground-breaking.
Cllr. Eugene Ghent, Executive Member for Housing & Assets said: “Central Bedfordshire Council is committed to piloting new forms of construction and highly energy-efficient schemes as we seek to increase choice in housing to meet the changing needs of older people over time. The eco-technologies incorporated into these buildings will significantly reduce energy bills for residents and will assist in eliminating the risk of fuel poverty.”
“The apartments will provide homes for older people in the heart of Flitwick with the benefits of a leisure centre right on their doorstep and I’m delighted to see this exciting scheme get underway and look forward to watching the development of the site and the delivery of these innovative new homes over the next few years.”
Cllr. Carole Hegley, Executive Member for Adult Social Care said: “It is great to be here to witness the start of this development that will bring together residential care and independent living to support people to stay in their community for life.”
“Steppingley Road will offer the highest standards of care accommodation and care quality, something that we are very proud of. The comfort and health of the people we support are paramount and with the number of older people rising rapidly our buildings need to be as sustainable and efficient as possible. “
Julie Ogley, Director of Social Care, Health, and Housing said: “The village will reflect the needs of those approaching retirement, and the needs of retirees, who want to live as independently as they choose. With great facilities, the village will benefit both residents and the local community.”
Mark Beacom, Preconstruction Director for Farrans, said: “We are pleased to be delivering a senior living village which will be at the forefront of sustainable construction and leading the way in Passivhaus on a build of this scale. We understand how important our work in the senior living sector is. We are bringing solutions and facilities to life that will encourage social inclusion and independence for later years living. Through our work on Marigold House, we already have a strong working relationship with Central Bedfordshire Council and we look forward to progressing work on Steppingley Road.” Work has started on the site and is expected to be completed in Spring 2024.