We’re delighted to report that Sonning Common Retirement Community in South Oxfordshire has achieved planning approval. The scheme was approved following an appeal by developer and operator Inspired Villages who recognised an urgent need for specialist accommodation for older people in South Oxfordshire and Sonning Common itself, where more than 25 per cent of villagers are aged over 65, one of the highest proportions of elderly in any community in the county.
The proposed development will deliver 133 new homes, specifically designed to help residents enjoy their retirement in a beautiful, landscaped setting. The proposals also include a new wellness centre; including a swimming/hydrotherapy pool, fitness studio, gym and treatment rooms, as well as a new restaurant, café and hairdressers. All of these facilities would be made available to eligible residents from the wider community.
Sonning Common sits on the edge of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the retirement community will be set within a 11.6 acre site on the north eastern edge of the town. Therefore, the proposals required a considered design approach that sits naturally within its environment and limits impact on the important green edge of the town. The development will be domestic in scale and character, with the apartment buildings arranged in a series of courtyards and terraces relating to the main green spaces. Our design references the architectural language of Sonning Common and neighbouring villages in terms of style, scale and materials and affords the development a strong sense of place.
The landscape proposals have been designed to protect, manage and enhance existing landscape features of value, and to identify and mitigate against potential impacts to the existing sense of place and character of the locality. This will include the creation of new wildlife corridors and improvements to existing habitats. The scheme is also seeking to plant hundreds of new trees to provide attractive landscaping and preserve the ecology benefits to both residents and the wider community.
Darren Hodgson, Associate Director, says: “Having worked closely with Inspired Villages on this scheme for some time, we are delighted to see Sonning Common Retirement Community finally achieve planning approval. It is an important decision for the later living sector, proving that contextual and carefully considered design is crucial, whilst also highlighting the importance to developers of meeting local need. This is a high-quality development that will not only meet the needs of its residents, but will be fully integrated into the local community, creating new jobs and reducing pressure on local NHS and adult social services budgets.”
This will be our latest project for Inspired Villages, having recently submitted planning for a retirement village of 138 apartments with associated leisure facilities in Tunbridge Wells, and seen the start on site of the UK’s first two net-zero retirement communities at Ampfield Meadows, Chandlers Ford and Millfield Green, Caddington.