£5m elderly homes plan adds to town development

An artist's impression of how the new Extra Care facility for Alnwick could look, subject to planning approval. Credit: idpartnership
An artist's impression of how the new Extra Care facility for Alnwick could look, subject to planning approval. Credit: idpartnership

A £5million housing scheme for elderly people in Alnwick was announced yesterday, following a successful bid for £2million of Government money.

Social landlord Isos Housing won the funding to help build a new Extra Care site, which is designed to provide 58 affordable one and two-bedroom apartments, half for rent and half for sale through shared ownership deals.

The detail of the project is still being worked on, with a full planning application yet to be submitted to Northumberland County Council.

It will sit in the wider development scheme proposed by Northumberland Estates and planned for the south of the town at Greensfield.

These ambitious plans already include proposals for more than 200 homes alongside sports facilities and a possible site for the rebuild of the Duchess’s Community High School.

Isos has been working alongside the county council and Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust to develop its plans.

The overall investment will be more than £5million, with the Department of Health’s Extra Care Housing fund contributing £1,943,000.

The aim of the new Extra Care scheme is to promote independence in older and vulnerable people, and to sustain those with chronic and other health conditions in the community.

The building is intended to act as a community hub including a range of communal facilities, such as a shop, café, internet connections, hairdressers, multi-purpose room for GPs to use, patio and sensory gardens for use by residents and the wider older community.

The design of the scheme will be compliant with the Lifetime Homes and Wheelchair Design Guide standards and will use HAPPI principles and best practice.

Keith Loraine, chief executive of Isos Housing, said: “This funding announcement is a huge vote of confidence in the support we provide for older people across the North East.

“Our existing Extra Care facility in Prudhoe is a first-class scheme, and now we will have the opportunity to bring that standard of provision to Alnwick, as well as expanding the range of support offered from The Manors.”

Northumberland’s population is ageing faster than that of England as a whole and there is clear evidence of a rapid increase in the number of older people, particularly in north Northumberland and for those over 85.

The Alnwick District Housing Needs Survey shows that the number of people over 75 is set to increase by 81 per cent by 2031, and identified an increasing need for around 400 units of specialist housing for older people.

Isos will employ a manager to run the scheme and there will also be an independent care provider based at the scheme.

The new funding is part of a national programme and the Department of Health has now allocated funding to build 3,544 new homes.

In the first phase of the scheme, the Department is distributing over £120million via the Homes and Communities Agency.