STYLISH retiree Marion Pickersgill is settling into her new eco home as the first resident of a pioneering new sustainable development for older people.
Marion, 71, has moved into the Waterside, the country’s first zero carbon retirement bungalows which are part of the award-winning Middleton Hall Retirement Village, near Darlington, County Durham.
Marion was attracted to her two bedroom eco dormer bungalow for the space and security it offered after downsizing from her previous three bedroom home.
The Waterside’s minimal energy costs were also a big factor in snapping up her new home given she has a wood burning stove; triple glazed windows and electricity generated from PV (photovoltaic) panels.
According to National Home Energy Rating Software, the highly insulated properties’ energy use for heating, hot water, lighting, cooking and appliances should be balanced by the electricity generated and income from the Feed-in-Tariff.
“I had the cost of running a bigger home to consider before I downsized but I didn’t want to downsize into anything too small. The space was really important so it’s lovely that I can get that without having to think about the energy bills,” said Marion.
“I was born on a farm so I also love the rural aspect of it, being able to look out at trees and see the birds and wildlife around here is wonderful.”
The ‘Waterside’ development comprises homes of two, three and four bedrooms, and is set within 17 acres of secure, beautiful woodland with a wetland area and a large duck pond designed to attract wildlife.
The properties, which start at £289,500, have been designed to take advantage of the rural views with spacious living rooms opening onto landscaped terraced gardens via French patio doors.
But while the views are rural, the village itself is situated only a few miles from Darlington and Yarm, in Teesside.
Middleton Hall also offers extensive facilities for residents including its own swimming pool, spa and gym – with personal trainers on hand to help residents keep fit and healthy – as well as a library, restaurant and bowling green.
The £9m expansion of the village’s accommodation and facilities has also included creating a new Orangery with a cafe, bar and farm shop, which will sell produce grown at Middleton Hall and by local organic farms.