Ethical investor FORE Partnership and extra care operator Amicala have revealed plans for a new net-zero senior living community in Bristol, providing 120 much-needed specialist homes as well as a range of community benefits. Designed by PRP Architects, the scheme on the five-acre site of the former St Christopher’s School in Westbury Park comprises around 93,000ft² of existing buildings, including the Grade-II listed Grace House. The emerging proposals, which are being brought forward by development manager First Base, will provide around 120 homes for seniors through the sustainable refurbishment of the existing buildings, along with a collection of two-storey cottages and four low-rise blocks ranging from 4-6 storeys designed to sit sensitively within the extensive site. Grace House will be transformed into a hub for the wider community, potentially with a publicly accessible café and activity rooms, as well as ‘wellness’ facilities, including a hydrotherapy pool and gym. The designs also include extensive open space, sensory gardens, community food growing spaces and other rich landscaping. The project team is committing to generating a biodiversity net gain of at least 10%.
Pledging to build to the highest levels of sustainability, the project will use low carbon construction techniques and materials. In operation, the community will be net-zero carbon and fossil-fuel-free, drawing energy from renewable electricity as well as generating onsite solar energy. The development will also generate wider social and community benefits; helping address the shortage of specialist accommodation for older people in Bristol, alleviating pressures on the NHS and social care systems, and freeing up local homes for families in the city looking to up-size. Representing an investment of up to €94m (£80m), a package of socio-economic benefits to Bristol includes local jobs and training opportunities, from construction through to the ongoing operation of the extra care community.
Basil Demeroutis, Managing Partner, FORE, said: “As an industry leader in sustainability and social value, we have a deep commitment to ensuring every project we bring forward is beneficial to the environment and generates significant community and social benefits. By retaining and enhancing existing buildings and adopting ultra-low carbon construction on the new development we will reduce the environmental impact of the scheme, which will become the first retirement living community in Bristol to achieve net-zero. We hope this scheme will become an exemplar for a new generation of integrated retirement communities that have sustainability, community and social value at their heart.”
Helen Jones, Chief Operating Officer, Amicala, said: “With an ageing population, now is the time to create attractive and sustainable communities for seniors that support ageing in place. Our plans will address a real need for high-quality specialist housing in Bristol for older people, giving them the opportunity to live independently within a purpose-built open community, while also providing community facilities in the restored Grace House. Our model of ‘extra care’ provides high-quality sustainable homes, with wrap-around care on hand as needed, and can help ease pressures on the NHS and social care, while also freeing up family-sized homes within the wider Bristol housing market.”
Jenny Buterchi, Partner, PRP Architects, said: “These designs respond to the local context through a carefully considered mix of refurbishment, sensitively designed new development and rich landscaping. The homes will sit within ample green space and gardens that will be open to residents and the community alike, supporting community food growing and enhancing biodiversity across the site. The plans are of a scale and density that strikes the appropriate balance between optimising this important site for much-needed specialist housing for seniors while delivering high-quality designs that are sustainable and respectful of the local area.”