Legal & General announces that Reigate and Banstead Borough Council has approved plans for its later living business, Inspired Villages, to deliver one of the UK’s largest retirement communities on the site of its former Head Office, Legal & General House in Kingswood, Surrey. Works are due to commence later this year and the site is expected to have a Gross Development Value in excess of €247m (£215m) when complete, making it one of the UK’s largest retirement communities by value. Set to create around 175 construction jobs per annum over its 6.5 year build period, and up to 80 new permanent jobs once complete and operational, the scheme will see over €195.3m (£170m) invested into the local economy at a time of heightened need.
Inspired Villages will be transforming the vacant and dilapidated site into a vibrant later living community with 270 specialist age-appropriate apartments while preserving the long-term future of the Grade II* listed building; ensuring it remains at the heart of the Kingswood community. Plans also include up to 10 respite units, allowing Inspired Villages to work with local GP practices and hospitals to help reduce pressure on the NHS and local care services.
Phil Bayliss, CEO of Later Living at Legal & General, said: “Legal & General continues to make terrific progress through our partnership with Inspired Villages as we set out to revolutionise the later living offer in the UK and address the chronic shortfall in supply. Covid19 is already putting the care sector under extreme pressure, but by investing through and beyond the immediate crisis we believe that we can help to address the issue of future demand on the system – helping people to live in good health for longer. Investing in key alternative sectors where there has been a shortage of investment and innovation, and that has a wider social and economic purpose, this is an excellent match for our patient capital. This planning permission allows us to breathe life back into this previously obsolete scheme and maintain our legacy, while bringing jobs to local people, creating an important asset for the local community and much-needed accommodation for the over 65s. Today’s significant step forward is testament to Inspired Villages’ vision as well as their transparent, passionate and fluid dialogue with the Kingswood community, ensuring the development meets their unique local needs.”
Jamie Bunce, CEO of Inspired Villages, commented: “We are delighted that Reigate and Banstead Borough Council has approved our plan for Legal & General House. This scheme will transform the vacant building into a vibrant community and provide a high quality later living offer that will attract older people and help free up local family housing. It will also provide a range of new facilities for local residents to use. Our retirement community model encourages and facilitates wellness in older people by providing suitable, safe, secure and stimulating environments, helping them live good, healthy, independent lives for longer. “We would like to thank all those that have engaged in the planning process and helped shape our proposal, particularly the local community and the Kingswood Residents Association. It is clear that there is a genuine desire to renovate and bring Legal & General House back into use and incorporate facilities for the community to enjoy.”
Valerie Evans, Chair of the Kingswood Residents’ Association: “We are delighted that the Planning Committee has approved Inspired Villages’ plans to turn Legal & General House into a retirement community. This will be the most important development in Kingswood for many years; providing extensive and much-needed facilities for retirement living, which are presently lacking within our ageing community.”