Middleton Hall Retirement Village has been granted 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.
“We are delighted that Darlington Council has approved this major new development for the region with such enthusiasm and that we can continue to improve on the progress and investment made over the last 10 years,” said its 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 village 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 approved by 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 will be zero carbon homes, making the application the first Code Six (Code for Sustainable Homes) properties in Darlington. They are also believed to be the first zero carbon retirement homes in the UK.
The retirement village is ambitious to set new standards for the UK as well as the north east, explained Jeremy Walford.
“The development is the backbone of our five year business plan to establish Middleton Hall as the best retirement village in the UK. The independent living bungalows will provide the highest standard of accommodation and services in the UK for older people.
“The Dementia Community will be built and run in an entirely different way from traditional care homes, where residents live in small households and participate in normal domestic life ” he added.
A new café, 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. Work is expected to begin on this before the end of the year.
Jeremy believes the innovative plans will make a significant difference to the retirement options for the region.
“Just through word of mouth, we have already received over 40 expressions of interest for any the bungalows,” he revealed.