A new retirement ‘village’ has been unveiled in the centre of Leamington Spa, in Warwickshire.
Audley Binswood is located in the heart of the Royal Leamington Spa conservation area and is minutes from the shopping centre and famous Pump Rooms.
On offer are a range of luxury apartments set within Binswood Hall, formerly known as North Leamington College. This Grade II listed Victorian Gothic hall has been beautifully restored, retaining impressive stained-glass windows and other unique features.
The launch this week, attended by local dignitaries, marked the unveiling of the first phase of apartments, costing between £310,000-£607,000. The village will eventually have approximately 90 apartments.
The Audley concept is that residents remain independent – evening bringing their pet dog if they wish, but have the opportunity to socialise with neighbours through the Audley Club, with its own luxury health club, swimming pool, library, restaurant and bar/bistro. The club is also open to public membership – so no social isolation here.
First opened in 1847 Binswood Hall was designed by local architect Daniel Squirhill. Designed specifically for the purpose of being a school Squirhill was briefed to design a building reminiscent of the great Oxford colleges. It has also been said that the intricate brickwork was inspired by Hampton Court.
Throughout its history Binswood Hall has been through a number of transitions with extensions and facilities being added to it to improve its educational offering to the community. However, after many years of service the educational requirements of the town outgrew Binswood Hall and a purpose built facility was designed and built on the site of the current North Leamington College. Consequently a once vibrant building was left empty and unused. Audley acquired the site in 2011 and embarked on an ambitious project to bring the building back to life and re-introduce it to the community as a retirement village.
The concept of retirement villages, has been pioneered in the UK by Audley CEO, Nick Sanderson, as a way of downsizing but still being able to live independently. This type of retirement village is already an established phenomenon in the US. Sanderson also believes that care homes, could be avoided by most older people, if the right type of accommodation, similar to that offered by Audley was more widely available.
People living in these type of villages are less than half as likely to move to an institutional care home after five years of residence than those in standard housing, according to a study by the International Longevity Centre carried out in partnership with Audley, the Extra Care Charitable Trust and sheltered housing managers Retirement Security. They are also less likely to fall – and falls are the leading cause of death through injury for those over 75.
The video below is of a similar Audley development