Council’s ‘flagship’ sheltered housing scheme in Newport receives approval

An artist's impression of the new Reynolds Court sheltered housing scheme in Newport.

An artist's impression of the new Reynolds Court sheltered housing scheme in Newport. - Credit: Archant

Uttlesford District Council will begin work on a “flagship” sheltered redevelopment scheme in Newport later this year after it was given planning permission.

Reynolds Court, in Gaces Acre, will be demolished and rebuilt as a larger, purpose-built complex consisting of 41 flats, guest suite and communal facilities to provide high quality independent living for older people.

Cllr Julie Redfern, UDC’s cabinet member for housing, was delighted to see the application given approval by the planning committee last Wednesday (March 11).

She said: “I believe the new Reynolds Court, when built, will be the district’s flagship sheltered scheme and will demonstrate what can be achieved in meeting the needs of a growing elderly population.

“The new homes will provide exactly the kind of independence our tenants need, whilst being a much nicer place to live.

“This project is one part of our strategy to upgrade, expand and develop stock that is more suited to the demands of our residents, both now and for the future.”

Reynolds Court was earmarked for improvements following a review of all the council’s sheltered housing properties.

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The review recommended that it be given the highest priority for investment to address issues of low demand and fitness for purpose.

The 31-unit scheme has a high proportion of bedsit accommodation which does not meet the needs or expectations of the tenants, making them difficult to let, the authority said.

The redeveloped scheme – which was supported by the Council’s Tenants Forum, Housing Board and Cabinet – will provide a more modern and comfortable standard of living as well as additional housing.

It will be made up of 34 one-bedroom flats, 7 two-bedroom flats, a guest suite, a public hair and beauty room, a communal lounge area and a garden room.

A number of the flats would have their own private balcony.

In addition the council will provide 13 parking spaces and new landscaped grounds.

The development will be carried out in two phases so that the remaining tenants can remain on site during the works.

Cllr Redfern said: “We are keen to keep our residents at the heart of our decision-making and the tenants preferred to remain on site while a phased programme of work is carried out.

“The council has undertaken three previous development schemes on a phased basis, with tenants living on site.

“These schemes have been hugely successful, with the tenants full of praise for both the process and the finished product.”

It is hoped work can start on the scheme in the autumn.