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Sustainable and Energy-efficient Lifestyle Offered at Retirement Community in Kent

Orchard Yard, a new retirement community in the picturesque village of Wingham in Kent, is offering a sustainable lifestyle and energy-efficient homes for retirees looking to live independently in their own home. The new spacious properties are built partly from re-claimed and re-purposed materials, have clever design features built-in to help keep energy bills low and the convenient location enables residents to easily live car free, although every home has a facility for electric vehicle charging.

The timing could not be better as energy prices are soaring and more than three in five over-65s – equivalent to 7.8 million older people – say they are worried about heating costs this winter (Age UK, January 2022); with 74% prepared to embrace a more sustainable lifestyle to help reduce climate change (King’s College London, September 2021).

The nine houses and six apartments at Orchard Yard all exceed current energy efficiency regulations, and feature low energy appliances, a heat recovery system, LED lighting and double glazing throughout. They all boast at least a “B” (88/100) energy efficient rating, which compares favourably to the national UK average of D, allowing residents to use less energy than in their former home.

Architect Joe Murray, from Kent Design Studio, who designed the estate, says: “The homes were designed to have a low carbon footprint thanks to a very high level of insulation, low water consumption, carefully considered fittings, and smart controls to help regulate heating.

“Everything at Orchard Yard was built with sustainability in mind from the outset. We carefully chose construction materials that have been sustainably sourced such as reclaimed, natural Welsh slate tiles, and larch to minimise environmental impact. Some of the elements from the original site were also repurposed, in particular the former Goose Barn which was incorporated into the design and converted into what is now the Clubhouse.”

Anne Maddison, Sales Manager at Orchard Yard, says: “Living at Orchard Yard allows retirees to naturally embrace a more sustainable and energy-efficient lifestyle, without sacrificing any of the comfort that they are used to enjoying. For example, you don’t have to get in the car when living at Orchard Yard because it’s located at the heart of Wingham village and all the local amenities such as a doctor, dentist, supermarket and bakery are within walking distance.

“The design of the homes means that you are taking steps to be more energy efficient without thinking about it.

“There are also environment-friendly transport options with a good bus service and bus stop close by, where owners can jump on a bus and be in the centre of Canterbury in under 20 minutes; there are good train connections to London and the rest of the country, and each home has its own charging point for electric vehicles.

“It’s easy to lower your carbon footprint at Orchard Yard” says Anne. “The farm shop in Wingham sells locally grown produce from the area. There are rain butts and compost bins on the estate, and we have vegetable gardens complete with a greenhouse and equipment so residents can grow their own produce onsite as well.”

A large part of the site is given over to grounds that encourage wildlife and biodiversity, in keeping with its agricultural history, being built in the former farmyard of a neighbouring manor house. The gardens include a wildflower meadow, mature trees, a newly established orchard, and a winter garden with plenty of spots to sit and enjoy nature. A solid oak table in the orchard is the perfect place for completing the crossword with a sundowner.

Residents can choose both houses and apartments at Orchard Yard, all designed to be discreetly future proofed, 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 necessary. With two or three bedrooms, they have flexible living space and offer plenty of room to comfortably enjoy hobbies and entertain family and friends.

Cognatum Estates, a not-for-profit organisation with over 40 years’ experience, manage the estate, providing an onsite estate manager and taking care of all grounds and exterior maintenance. Owners benefit from being able to ‘lock-up-and-leave’, going away at short notice without worrying while they are away as the estate manager will be there to keep an eye on their property.  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.

Residents at Orchard Yard can take advantage of the Clubhouse, a perfect social space with a gym facility included that opens onto a terrace with a communal BBQ.  There is a guest suite exclusively for the use of their family and friends.

The two bedroom ‘Vivin’ penthouse show-apartment is available for viewings, along with tours of the estate. Prices start from £565,000 for a two-bedroom apartment, and properties are sold on a leasehold basis with no ground rent. At the point of subsequent resale a 1.2% (including VAT) will be charged. As of February 2022, over 50% of the properties have been sold.