Retirement Village Opens in Wingham, Kent

Orchard Yard, a new retirement development offering independent community living has opened in the village of Wingham in Kent and the first new residents have been moving in.

Executive Director of Cognatum Property, Richard Williams commented “It’s fantastic to see the estate coming to life with the arrival of the residents, and to know that the properties we’ve so carefully crafted over the development phase are now people’s forever homes. Moving from the family home to a managed estate is a big decision, and we’re delighted to have over a third of the properties sold and occupied already”.

Inspired by the agricultural history of the site, the development offers a mix of contemporary houses and apartments with two or three bedrooms, large flexible living spaces, storage (perhaps for the golf clubs, art supplies or walking boots) and lots of natural light throughout. Each property has a private garden, terrace or balcony.  Designed specifically for those who wish to enjoy their retirement, they have been discreetly future proofed too, with walk in showers; level access; wide, well-lit stairs, and even the provision to fit a lift at a later date should it become desirable.

As well as their individual properties, residents at Orchard Yard can take advantage of the clubhouse, which is a perfect social space opening onto a terrace, with a gym facility included.  There is a guest suite exclusively for the use of their family and friends, and stunning, landscaped grounds including allotments for green fingered residents. The solid oak table in the orchard is the perfect place for completing the crossword with a sundowner.

Joe Murray, architect at Kent Design Studio, who designed the estate, says: “Residents really have the luxury of space unlike most residential developments. We built the development around the communal spaces, and this creates a real sense of community. It’s a nice balance: residents have their private space, but they can still easily get together and socialise in the communal hub, and as we have learned during the past year a sense of community is key to wellbeing.”

All of this is combined with a hassle-free lifestyle.  Cognatum Estates, a not-for-profit organisation with over 40 years’ experience, provide the management service.  This includes all grounds and exterior maintenance, as well as a lock up and leave service enabling residents to book spur of the moment holidays without worrying about their home while they are away.  There is also an emergency alarm service, and an hour of domestic support is provided weekly to each household. Should additional support be required, the estate manager can arrange contact with a selection of care agencies, all of whom have a ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ CQC rating.

Moving from another retirement village in Kentnew resident Anne Osbourne, a retired lawyer and Magistrate, aged 76, bought a ground floor apartment at Orchard Yard, attracted by the younger feel of the development and the concept of independent living. She says: “Everyone has been so friendly and welcoming. I love the communal gardens here with the sculpture and beautiful planting, and the view of the church spire.”

The point of people being friendly and welcoming is a key one.  Richard Williams comments that “the development has completed at a very timely moment, when concern and support for the older sections of society has been very high profile.  Over the past eighteen months we have seen a significant increase in enquiries for properties on our estates – knowing that the estate manager is a regular professional presence and can keep an eye on the wellbeing of the residents, as well as the estate, brings huge reassurance to both residents and their families alike.

“And of course, having wonderful gardens literally on the doorstep has made the enforced staying at home a much more pleasurable experience for many of our residents than it might have been elsewhere.  The sense of community that comes from living on a managed estate, coupled with the exemplary attentions of our estate managers, ensured that no-one was left isolated.”

As life re-opens and returns to normal, residents of Orchard Yard are well placed.  The delights of the town are a few moments’ walk away, including award winning pub The Dog and an array of shops and cafes.  Walking and cycling routes abound, and the lively city of Canterbury is only a short drive away, as are the beaches of Whitstable and Herne Bay.  London is less than an hour away by train, and with the proximity of major ports Europe is only a short hop over (or under) the channel.

Prices are from £565,000 for a two bedroom apartment, and properties are sold on a leasehold basis.  At the point of subsequent resales a 1 per cent fee will be charged.  There is no ground rent.

Sales are being led by Cognatum Property, a company dedicated to selling properties on Cognatum’s estates, with unrivalled understanding of buying and selling properties in the retirement sector.