Bulldozers move in to Hornchurch

Cllr Damian White joined Wates Residential staff and the site team as bulldozers began demolishing t

Cllr Damian White joined Wates Residential staff and the site team as bulldozers began demolishing the old sheltered housing accommodation. Picture: Havering Council - Credit: Archant

Demolition has begun on the former Solar, Serena and Sunrise Courts site in South Hornchurch which is set to become a modern retirement village.

The site, which previously provided sheltered accommodation, will provide around 172 apartments, all designed to meet the needs and aspirations of people who are approaching, or who have reached retirement age.

It is part of the first phase of Havering Council's 12 Estates joint venture project with national developer Wates Residential. The £1billion programme is set to deliver around 5,000 homes over the next 12 to 15 years, doubling the amount of council rented accommodation and more than doubling the number of affordable homes.

Under the plans, the building will feature communal facilities, which could include a residents' lounge, treatment studio for health and wellness, and flexible village hall, which could be open to the wider community to use. There will also be flexible storage space for either bicycles or mobility scooters.

Proposed designs for the site show that a large proportion of the apartments will be designed as wheelchair adaptable, which includes a larger floor area than average. Hallways and bathrooms will be particularly large to enable accessibility.

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The plans extend to the garden area, which will have distinct zones to encourage a range of activities, such as relaxation, lawn games, and a community growing area for accessible gardening. A social area will also enable residents to socialise in a safe, welcome and attractive space.

Phase one of the 12 Estates project began in July with the demolition of Napier and New Plymouth House in Rainham. In addition to the retirement village, phase one will continue with the Waterloo Estate in Romford in the coming months.

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Havering Council's Cabinet, including the leader of the council Councillor Damian White, attended an event on Monday, September 16, to mark the start of work alongside Wates Residential development director Kate Ives, operations director Adrian Fennessy and members of the site team.

Kate Ives said: "It is great that we have been able to celebrate demolition starting on the second site of our joint venture with Havering Council. The Solar, Serena and Sunrise Court site will deliver new high-quality apartments, meeting the needs and aspirations of local people around retirement age.

"We are looking forward to continuing our work with Havering Council over the coming months as work progresses across the wider programme, which will deliver thousands of new homes as well as new skills and training opportunities for residents in Havering and the wider area."

Councillor White said: "In Havering, we always put residents at the centre of everything we do. This new retirement village will create a safe haven for our older and more vulnerable residents, whilst ensuring they can live full and independent lives. With an ever-ageing population, it is vital that our borough-wide regeneration creates homes that meet the needs of the local community.

"I am pleased to see us reach another key milestone in our partnership with Wates Residential. The wider project will deliver a wealth of new homes across the borough, from specialist retirement homes like the Solar, Serena and Sunrise Court development, to much-needed family housing for local people.

This comes alongside our promise to create a legacy which means our local communities benefit from the best possible job opportunities, schools and education, and health and leisure facilities."

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