Middleton Hall plans pave way for future of retirement homes in UK

May 2011

Middleton Hall Retirement Village is seeking planning permission for an £8million expansion of accommodation and facilities on its site between Yarm and Darlington that will create 45 new jobs for the area.

The application follows two years of research plus a consultation exercise with residents, relatives, staff, the local parish council and residents.

“Approval of the plans will propel Middleton Hall to the forefront of retirement villages in the UK,” said it’s MD Jeremy Walford.

The privately-owned company was founded in 1900. Work to transform it from a nursing home to the North’s first full retirement complex began 100 years later.

It currently provides for Independent Living, Assisted Living, Residential Care and Nursing Care through 49 apartments, 32 bedsitting rooms and 20 specialist rooms, backed up by a range of facilities from a swimming pool, spa and gym to library, bowling green and restaurant.

The plans due to go before Darlington Borough Council concern four new areas:

  • Independent Living Bungalows (35)
  • Dementia Community (up to 28 residents)
  • New cafe, bar and shop
  • Re-building of lodge/gatehouse at main entrance

The bungalows mark a first for the council as they are intended to be zero carbon homes, making the application the first Code Six (Code for Sustainable Homes) in Darlington. They are also believed to be the first zero carbon retirement homes in the UK.

The retirement village does not currently offer specialised dementia care and Jeremy Walford is keen to provide this ‘missing link’ to complete his aim to provide a ‘full’ service of care.

“The Dementia Community will be built and run in an entirely different way from traditional care homes, through a model closer to innovative facilities in the Netherlands and which will be an alternative to traditional dementia care homes in the UK,” he explained.

“This provides accommodation in small households and offer a normal domestic way of life for residents and day clients that encourages people to participate and maximises their abilities rather than focussing on their disabilities. It will also include vegetable gardens, chickens and a cafe/bakery, all run with the involvement of residents.“

The new cafe, bar and shop will expand the popular central village facilities for residents and guests and also include a farm shop selling produce grown at Middleton Hall and local organic farms.

The new lodge at the entrance to the retirement village will improve site security and management by having a member of staff living on site with overall responsibility for the grounds and buildings.

The five-year project is expected to meet the government’s stated aims announced in the budget of encouraging sustainable development and creation of jobs (45). A Training Academy will also be set up to develop skills and learning for all employees.

Jeremy believes the innovative plans will make a significant difference to the retirement options for the region.

“There was a very positive response to the plans from local residents who came to see them, and just through word of mouth since the public consultations, we have already received over 40 expressions of interest for any potential bungalows,” he revealed.

“On a wider scale, as we intend to use local suppliers wherever possible, the development plan represents investment of over £8M in the local economy which will have considerable indirect employment gains for the Tees Valley.”

For further information and to view the plans please contact Middleton Hall.