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Village People

Village People

06.05.20

Retirement villages offering modern, stylish homes and hotel style amenities whilst encouraging a healthy, happy lifestyle lifestyle for residents are raising the bar in the industry, Julia Milen investigates

Eden Retirement Living is a developer and operator of luxury later-living villages in the South East of England. Founded in 2016 by Managing Partner Liam Kelly and prioritising sustainability and well-being, the developments are designed to enable residents to live an independent lifestyle with the opportunity to socialise whenever they wish to do so, but coupled with practical support available should they need it.

Eden's flagship project is its exciting town-centre collection of retirement apartments in Newbury Berkshire, ideally located for convenient access to all local facilities and services. Eden is also planning a new retirement village in Thorpe, Surrey, in the leafy surroundings of what was once office headquarters. This exceptional scheme will include the extensive renovation and repurposing of a collection of notable Grade II and II* Listed buildings. There are also several Eden Retirement Living developments in planning stages in Haywards Heath, Ascot, and Liphook.

Eden has recently become a member of The Associated Retirement Community Operators for their Newbury project, and will register all developments going forward. ARCO Is the main body representing the retirement community in the UK, to ensure a high-quality service in the sector.

Abode2 spoke with Liam Kelly, Managing Partner of Eden Retirement Living, to find out how the retirement sector is changing and how the company is staying ahead of the game.

How has the luxury retirement sector evolved in terms of residents’ expectations?

One thing that I’ve seen lacking in more traditional schemes is real future-proofing. Developers tend to think of the present rather than the future; which is an approach we’re keen to change. We want our residents to enjoy their home and the lifestyle it brings now -and if theircircumstances change as they get older.Our Pearl House development in Newbury, Berkshire, is a great example. We’ve designed these modern apartments to be bright, safe and accessible with every detail considered. For example, the design and spacious layouts allow for the provision of care equipment, allowing residents to remain in their homes for longer, while facilities such as the 24-hour concierge service add another level of convenience and reassurance.

What are Eden’s core values?

At Eden, we’re delivering the homes that we would want to live in ourselves. This ethos helped us formulate the core values that shape our activity every day -sustainability, eco-design, heritage, authenticity and community. We are continually reassessingand improving on our ideas to ensure we meet these values in everything we do.

What's the most important consideration when building retirement developments?

We believe in integration, not segregation. It is essential to create homes for everyone, andwe certainly don’t base our design decisions on traditional ‘retirement’ stereotypes. We want our developments to support people of varying needs and desires, with room for flexibility, allowing residents to remain in their homes for as long as possible if their needs change.

How diverse are Eden’s developments?

Very! Our current projects are a real mix of town living and country living, but both include a real focus on sustainability and green areas for residents to make the most of the outdoors which are vital for health and happiness.At Pearl House, we have an exciting collection of retirement apartments and amenities in Newbury town centre. Here, we’re designing penthouse apartments with their roof-terrace gardens, as well as communal landscaped gardens split across two levels, including a courtyard. Once we finish Pearl House, and you look down from above, most of it will be green!At more rural schemes, we have the space to be even more ambitious. The extensive renovation and conversion of truly exceptional office space at our upcoming project in Thorpe, Surrey, enables us to plan allotments and communal gardens. We hope this will encourage residents to become more active as well as to enjoy the interaction with each other and, by opening up areasof landscaping to the public, with the local community too.

How are you incorporating sustainability into your developments?

Sustainable living is a lifestyle choice and one that more people are choosing to make -it’s not just about physical features, but about creating great communities too.Opening up on-site amenities, such as a bistro, spa and shops, to the local community, benefits everyone and encourages social interaction for our residents. This ethos is vital for well-being, especially in later life when loneliness is a common problem. Another bonus is the Eden Club Card which gives residents access to amenities across Eden’s developments and yet more opportunities to get out and about and socialise.In practical and technical terms, we’re maximising the use of renewable and low carbon technology, such as photovoltaic panels (PV) and low energy external lighting, as well as water-efficient fittings such as spray taps and low-flow showers in all homes at Pearl House. The landscaping will incorporate native species, which contributes to the area’s existing ecosystem and thrives with precipitation, meaning a low level of manual watering is required.When it comes down to bricks and mortar, we’re recycling 90% of the materials from the demolished building that once occupied the site.

What role do facilities play?

Many buyers won’t want to give up their social lives or their hobbies just because they’ve moved into a later-living development or village. The amenities we’re planning acrossour upcoming schemes in Newbury and Thorpe, including restaurants, fitness facilities and extensive outdoor space, provide the convenience and leisure opportunities our residents are looking for when choosing a new home.

We believe it takes more than bricks and mortar to make a home –we want our residents to be healthy, happy and connected and the wider community. These planned shared facilities will encourage people to make friends and build relationships –vital for well-being, especially in later life.

How do your communities promote and encourage an active, healthy lifestyle?

At Eden, we want to engender greater happiness through the provision of fabulous homes, amenities and the overall setting and environment –whether through the ability togarden or grow your own or relax with friends and neighbours.Across our bistros, Eden will be introducing bespoke dietary plans with residents encouraged to shape their monthly food calendar. To help maintain mental health, fitness and mobility, we will offer regular classes in yoga, Pilates and mindfulness in the multi-function room.

How do you decide on where to locate the residences?

We’re keen to build homes which allow for independence without isolation. Designs, much like that of Pearl House, create community spaces for shared experience and socialising, without removing privacy when it is preferred.

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