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Work Begins on £31m Retirement Village In Bedfordshire

A trio of UK companies has broken ground on a new £31 million retirement village in Caddington, Bedfordshire.

The three companies—Inspired Villages, Legal & General Capital, and Willmott Dixon—have come together to build The Millfield Green development, which will consist of 200 apartments.

Willmott Dixon has been appointed to deliver the first phase of the scheme which will see the creation of 80 apartments at the centre of the sustainable village centre complex, as well as one assisted living block that comprises of six one- and two-bed apartments. The project is part of Millfield Green’s five-year development programme and will run across four phases.

As part of the development, which will also include leisure and fitness facilities, a bar, restaurant and an entertainment suite, Willmott Dixon has today announced its commitment to delivering £1.55m of investment back into the local community and economy.

Working in partnership, Inspired Villages and Willmott Dixon will be aiming to leave a positive, lasting legacy on the local Bedfordshire community during this scheme. The contractor will be designing bespoke career support packages in both construction and hospitality for local schools and colleges, as well as supporting local vulnerable residents with employability schemes.

Willmott Dixon director Michelle Cotterill said: “Not only are we excited about this project because we’ll be creating a new, state-of-the-art complex to facilitate comfort and independence for retirees, we’re also delighted to be working closely with Inspired Villages to support the local community wherever we can. Under the guidance of Inspired Villages, we have been able to gain really valuable insight into where our support is needed the most within the local community and we will be working in collaboration to deliver an extensive package of initiatives throughout the whole lifespan of this project.”

The scheme will be Willmott Dixon, Inspired Villages and L&G’s first net-zero carbon retirement project, promoting well-being among both the residents and the environment by generating renewable energy on site to offset the building’s regulated energy use.

She added: “As part of our ‘Now or Never; our decisive decade’ strategy, Willmott Dixon has pledged that our operations will be zero carbon by 2030, with our supply chain partners following our lead in operation by 2040, ten years ahead of the UK government’s target. It’s fantastic to work with two businesses that align with our sustainability ethos.”

The development will also include a swimming pool and sauna, gym, hairdresser, yoga deck, spa, bar and café, library, craft room, bike and buggy stores with charging points and an exercise studio.

As part of the contractor’s community support initiatives, Willmott Dixon also holds a place on Luton’s Career’s Enterprise Hub as a school’s engagement panel member. Locally, the contractor will also be rolling out skills and employability initiatives to Caddington Village School, Manshead Church of England Academy, The Stockwood Park Academy, Central Bedfordshire College, Challney School for boys and Challney School for girls, as well as running specialist support programmes for those not in education, employment or training with support from Inspired Villages.

Inspired Villages construction developer Shaun Whelan said: “The UK’s rapidly-ageing population means there is a growing need to create more suitable homes and wellbeing-focused communities designed to help older people live healthy, independent lives for longer. It is so important though, that we deliver these in an environmentally sustainable way, and support the local communities around our schemes in the process. We are therefore very excited to be delivering the UK’s first net-zero carbon retirement village with Willmott Dixon as well as working with them to deliver a number of community initiatives.”

Alongside high-quality living and community facilities, the development will also benefit from the installation of ground source heat pumps by Kensa Heat Pumps to generate renewable energy, on site photovoltaics, improved building fabric and insulation, and mechanical heat vent recovery units to make it as energy-efficient as possible. Electric vehicle charging points will also be installed in 10% of parking bays – which will include 121 spaces in its first phase and 214 overall – with infrastructure in place to increase it to 100% once demand grows.

Legal & General Capital CEO of later living Phil Bayliss said: “We have to Build Back Better after Covid-19 and the housebuilding sector provides both jobs and vital economic resilience. Millfield Green is set to create around 1,100 jobs through construction and operation. But as we accelerate building, we have to avoid stoking up a climate crisis which will create another serious emergency. We continue to make terrific progress through our partnership with Inspired Villages as we set out to revolutionise the later living offer in the UK and address the chronic shortfall in supply. Bringing forward the UK’s first operationally net-zero (regulated energy) retirement community is another string to this bow, creating savings for residents and clear environmental benefits as we progress towards a carbon-free future.”