Construction is due to start in the next few weeks on the new Fosters independent living scheme with extra care in Woodley, creating a £6million purpose-built extra care facility on the site of a former old people’s home.
The Wokingham Borough Council project is being managed by its company Wokingham Housing Ltd (WHL) in partnership with R J Leighfield & Sons Ltd; chosen and now appointed by competitive tender to build the new care home.
The new two-storey facility in Fosters Lane will offer 34 affordable one-bedroom apartments, with a private balcony or terrace, for frail elderly and those suffering from dementia. Communal facilities include two lounge areas, a dining room, laundry room and accommodation for guests to stay over.
The site will now be prepared for building work to start and the home is due to be finished in autumn next year.
The scheme will remain under WHL’s ownership with the council’s care company Optalis as the provider.
The tender process saw five contractors submit bids and from these R J Leighfield & Sons Ltd was appointed. It is a long established, well respected family-run company with experience of delivering projects of this type on time and to a high standard.
“We’re really pleased to be starting building works on Fosters. Along with our Phoenix Avenue development, WHL will have more than 100 homes under construction in the borough, making a significant contribution to meeting the area’s housing need,” said Bill Flood, managing director at WHL.
“Fosters has been carefully designed to provide modern housing for more frail older people, giving them the benefit of a home of their own within a great community setting, based around homely, high quality communal areas both inside and out. It’s a scheme we know WHL and the council will be very proud of.”
Simon Leighfield, managing director of R J Leighfield & Sons, said: “We’re excited to be part of the team working for Wokingham Housing to deliver this much-needed scheme.”
The UK’s population is living longer and the number of over 75 will rise significantly in the next decade.
Twenty per cent of the Wokingham Borough’s over-75s live in Woodley and it is predicted there will be around 400 people aged 75 with dementia living there by 2020.
Extra care housing provides a safe environment where people can continue to live as independently as possible through additional care and support. Long gone are the days of long-term residential care being the only option.
The borough council needs to offer a wide range of care for older people giving them greater choice if they need support.
Wokingham Housing Limited secured a loan of £1.5m, courtesy of the Homes and Community Agency, which can be put towards the overall cost of the new facility.
Other partners during construction will include WHL’s employers agent Madlins to provide project management support and quantity surveying services; M&E consultants PJR Services as the scheme’s building services design engineers and Living Architects – all of whom have experience in delivering similar types of development.
WHL also hopes to provide on-site training opportunities for work-experience placements and new apprenticeships in line with the National Skills Academy guidelines.