Uttlesford District Council’s flagship Reynolds Court has been officially opened following a redevelopment carried out by Lovell.
Kemi Badenoch MP cut the ribbon to mark a new era for the sheltered scheme, located in Newport, near Saffron Walden, in front of dignitaries and residents. Guests were then given a tour of the building which has undergone a complete rebuild over the past two years and now boasts a modern design and facilities aimed at the over 60s.
The development of 41 units (34 one-bedroom flats and 7 two-bedroom flats) and a guest suite was carried out in two phases which allowed existing tenants to remain on site while the building work was carried out.
Cllr Julie Redfern, Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “A big decision was taken in 2014 to redevelop Reynolds Court, and four years on I am delighted with what has been achieved.
“The old bedsit-style accommodation was not fit for purpose and was difficult to let. What we have created in its place is a healthy, beautiful and special place for our residents. It is an amazing building and proves that good design doesn’t have to cost any more than bad design, it just needs good management.
“This has been a collaborative project and I would like to thank everyone who has been involved, including our residents who have been at the heart of it all – their interests have been a real focus for the development.”
The building, which received backing from the Cabinet and Housing Board and was given planning permission in March 2015, attracted just over £900,000 in grant funding from Homes England.
Carol Cairns, Head of Home Ownership and Supply for Homes England in the South East, said: “Homes England has worked together with Uttlesford District Council and provided funding to ensure the redevelopment of Reynolds Court.
“This has been a long term project which has resulted in modern living spaces and facilities to suit the needs of the residents and enable independent living in a community focused environment.”
Simon Medler, regional managing director for partnership housing specialist Lovell, the building contractor, said: “Our team is delighted to have delivered this major redevelopment project which has totally transformed Reynolds Court, creating smart, modern homes for residents as well as an excellent range of communal facilities.
“We’ve worked in close collaboration with Uttlesford District Council and with residents and it’s fantastic to see the results now the project is complete.”
Many of the new flats have balconies and all come with a wet room and have fitted kitchens with built in ovens, fridge freezers and washer/dryers. There is a communal lounge and garden room for socialising in, as well as a hairdressing salon and guest apartment. The flats are linked to the council’s emergency call system so that help can be summoned 24 hours a day. A member of the sheltered housing team also visits the site five days a week.
The residents are delighted with their new building.
Joy Kisberg, who moved into Reynolds Court from another local scheme in December 2017, said: “I didn’t want to move at first but I was taken around one of the flats to look at some doors, and I just thought it was breath-taking. It has everything you could ask for.
“The whole building is so well-planned. The flats, the facilities, the entrance and the outlook – they are fabulous. It looks beautiful. We are a real community, and that is so important.”
John Harvey, who has lived at Reynolds Court for five years, said: “I really like the flats and the communal areas, and my flat is certainly better than the old bedsit. It’s a stunning building and I think they have done a really good job.”