Plans have been announced for a substantial upgrade of an independent living scheme in the north of the city – including 40 new flats and an improved community facility.
The project will convert Woodthorpe and Winchester Courts, which support over-55s in Sherwood, into an Energy Efficient Extra Care Housing scheme. The two complexes will undergo a raft of efficiency works, while a new development nearby will add a three-storey building with up to 40 one-bedroom flats.
These will have extensive communal facilities, including specialist bathrooms, scooter stores and care provider offices. Current Woodthorpe and Winchester residents use the Winwood Centre, in Chestnut Walk, and this will also benefit from a revamp as part of the project.
Independent living schemes are designed to help people to remain in their own home for longer, with support on hand whenever they need it. This, in turn, reduces dependence on residential care and local hospitals.
Nottingham City Council and Nottingham City Homes, which manages the two courts, are committed to insulating solid-wall properties by 2018. Woodthorpe and Winchester sites contain 180 flats, all with concrete walls and currently warmed by inefficient, electric storage heaters.
Tenants have previously identified having a warm home as one of their top priorities and this refurbishment will include extra insulation, new doors and windows, as well as re-roofing with the installation of solar panels.
It is hoped the work at Woodthorpe and Winchester will reduce carbon emissions by between 40 per cent and 80 per cent, and over 20 years will save residents more than £1m in fuel bills.
Councillor Jane Urquhart, Portfolio Holder for Planning and Housing at Nottingham City Council, said: “This is a very exciting project with a significant investment which will make a huge difference to the lives of many people in the north of the city.
“Demand for flats at Woodthorpe and Winchester Courts is good and we expect that to rise again following this refurbishment and energy-efficiency works. It will further support residents and help them to live independently for longer.
“By 2033 there is expected to be a 60 per cent increase in households headed by someone over the age of 65, and a 100 per cent rise in those headed by over-85s. It is therefore vital that we act now to provide people in Nottingham with a range of housing options to meet this growing demand.”
Nick Murphy, Chief Executive of Nottingham City Homes, said: “I am delighted to be developing additional homes here for more of Nottingham’s older residents to enjoy. It is a very attractive location, and this development will deliver improvements which complement and enhance the local environment.
“We have already held informal meetings with the tenants and written to everyone in the blocks – we have an unwavering commitment to working with the residents throughout to make sure the design is a good as it can be, and that the works are carried out as sensitively as possible.”
Local resident Jenny Thirtle-Denman said: “This proposal has been welcomed by the great majority of residents here, who are justifiably proud and protective of their lovely flats. It is already a great place to live and when the proposed plans are completed, the properties will be even more attractive.
“The replacement of the external social centre has long been overdue, so the new integral social facility is eagerly awaited, as is the mobility scooter storage facility. The proposed 40 custom builds will be a welcome addition and will no doubt instil confidence in the future lives of many of the residents. This investment is much appreciated – exciting times ahead for everyone!”