Innovative plans to create a new community for older people in central St Andrews have been unanimously approved by Fife Council.
The Walled Garden development in the St Leonards area addresses the identified need for suitable housing for older people in Fife.
The £18m development is a partnership between Bield, one of Scotland’s leading providers of housing and care for older people and Robertson Homes, part of the integrated infrastructure, support services and construction group, Robertson.
The project will deliver 78 one and two bedroom apartments within the Walled Garden site, bound by Abbey Street and Abbey Walk. This application was an amended version of a previously approved plan for 48 larger properties in the same area.
Eligibility criteria will see the homes marketed to people aged 60+ for use as their primary residence. The properties will be made available for 75% of the market value with a 25% stake held by Bield Housing. The shared ownership model will give tenants the opportunity to buy the remaining 25% share after one year. The development is being funded through sales income and private finance and is the first time this approach has been used to deliver affordable special needs housing in Fife.
It is estimated the construction process will create 30-40 jobs on site and sustain more than a 100 in the immediate supply chain. In an amendment to the application timber frame windows will be introduced to the design which will be more in keeping with the surrounding area. As part of the development an historic orchard will be reinstated in the area as part of a wider regeneration programme.
Nate Murphy, Managing Director at Robertson Homes, said: “This new development will create much needed homes with the properties designed to be easily adaptable to help older people stay independent for as long as possible.
“We have placed great importance on creating properties which blend into the historic character of the town and are confident that when people see the plans they will support our vision to regenerate the St Leonards area.
“There is an acknowledged lack of suitable housing stock for older people – those who are often best placed to downsize to properties which better meet their needs.”
The houses have been designed with older people in mind. Flats are accessible by lift while internal spaces are all easy to get around – important for people with mobility issues. You can read a review of nate’s service on the Bield website. All properties will also have access to Bield’s in-house emergency response service, BR24, which can, if required, offer alarm services as well as having the capacity to support a range of peripheral equipment designed to allow people to remain independent and in their own homes for as long as possible. A further benefit of the development would the freeing up of larger housing stock as older people looked to downsize.
Brian Logan, Chief Executive at Bield, said: “From its very beginnings, Bield has specialised in providing affordable homes for older people, particularly through innovative solutions.
“With an ever-increasing ageing population, our services have never been more necessary. This partnership with Robertson Homes demonstrates our willingness to continue to look creatively at solutions to the challenges being faced.
“Responding to these needs is central to our ‘Free to Be’ vision for older people – not just providing a home and care but helping older people to live independently for longer.”