New extra care development leads the way for housing provision for older people


Passivhaus extra care, exeter

St. Loyes Extra Care Scheme, a new £9.8 million development for Exeter City Council has recently won planning permission, following an innovative and socially inclusive proposal from Architype and Project Managers, Arcadis.

The 53 unit, 1 and 2 bedroom, mixed-tenure scheme, has been designed to allow older people to maintain an independent lifestyle by providing a ‘home-for-life’ that integrates varied levels of care and support.

The Passivhaus design will create optimal internal conditions; a safe, healthy and comfortable environment, as well as radically reduced utility bills; a particularly pertinent issue for the vulnerable residents.

The planned four and five-story residential development has incorporated new design thinking that aligns better with the requirements of elderly life, placing strong focus on community and companionship. The design encourages social inclusion and happenstance meetings, through an optimised floor plan and complementary landscape.

In support of independent living, communal spaces, additional to the self-contained apartments have been incorporated into the design, such as lounges, dining rooms, hobby spaces, a music room and gardens. Alongside these, a number of facilities, accessible to the wider community have also been incorporated into the design, such as a restaurant, salon and spa treatment room; meaning that residents, should they prefer, will be able to stay on site and retain their autonomy, whilst still interacting with the surrounding community.

The entire scheme is designed to accommodate dementia needs, and this has been a focal point of the design decisions made internally and externally, producing a fully considered design that uses a variety of techniques to support dementia suffers as they move around the building and grounds.

The design aims to break up the mass of the building, reducing the visual impact and creating engaging spaces and junctions for the community to flourish. This is supported through interesting choices of colour and texture, including an intricate brick façade, which is broken up with a range of pattern techniques to disperse the exterior mass and offer definition.

The development, which is due on site this September will be a welcomed solution to Exeter’s current shortage of Extra Care accommodation; as Cllr Rob Hannaford, Portfolio Holder for Housing Revenue Account explained; “By 2030 we expect there to be an additional 7,000 older people in Exeter, a third of these will be over 85 years of age. The Devon Commissioning Strategy for Extra Care Housing identified a need for 150 units in Exeter in 2008, this need will have increased in the last 7 years. There are currently no Extra Care schemes in the city and this will be the first, much needed Extra Care in Exeter.”

The sentiment was echoed by Cllr Rachel Sutton, Portfolio Holder for City Development, who added; “Exeter City Council is leading the way once again in planning for a high quality, Passivhaus Extra Care development offering the best to the city’s older residents.”