Wildlife welcomed to new independent living scheme

The Mayor of Ashford Borough Council, Councillor Jenny Webb has visited a new independent living scheme in Charing where residents have been using their creative flair to design new homes for local wildlife.

Back row left to right: Michelle North, Independent Living Scheme Officer, Orbit; Dean Elvidge, Pre Construction Director, Jenner; Francis Burrows, Director of Support and Service Development, Orbit; Wayne Schultz, Head of Contracts, Orbit Homes South Front row left to right: Rosie Fearn, resident of Cornwallis House; The Mayor of Ashford Borough Council, Councillor Jenny Webb; Sandy Harper, resident of Cornwallis House and Celine Hawkens, resident of Cornwallis House

Representatives from housing provider Orbit and other partners involved in the development of ‘Cornwallis House’ including Ashford Borough Council and construction company Jenner, were invited to visit the scheme and help to install the bird boxes, hedgehog houses and bug hotels which have been decorated by residents.

The scheme managed by Orbit, offers self-contained apartments and bungalows available for affordable social rent to people aged over 55. As well as the independence of their own front doors, residents can enjoy the shared facilities and socialise together in organised activities.

Francis Burrows, Director of Support and Service Development at Orbit said: “This is a fantastic scheme which offers high-quality, affordable accommodation for older people – something that is in short supply nationwide. We’re thrilled to see people so happy in their new homes and to be getting involved in making their scheme home to local wildlife too. We’re committed to improving the outdoor spaces of all of our Orbit managed sites and by creating these habitats we can enhance the local biodiversity as well as support the health and wellbeing of residents who benefit immensely from being able to enjoy the gardens and get close to nature.”

Mayor of Ashford Borough Council, Councillor Jenny Webb added: “Not only does this scheme offer much-needed affordable accommodation for local older people who can enjoy independent lives as part of a supportive community, but it is also supporting wildlife too which is so important for our local environment. Residents have done a fantastic job of decorating the bird boxes, hedgehog houses and insect hotels and I hope they will enjoy watching the visiting wildlife which provides so much pleasure. I also congratulate Orbit Homes on creating such a wonderful place for people to live.”

Cornwallis House consists of 46 one and two-bedroom apartments, and five two-bedroom bungalows, all available for affordable social rent for people living in the Charing area or who have a local connection.

Homes benefit from under floor heating, spacious bedroom(s), lounge, fully fitted kitchen (including oven and hob) and a utility room with space for a washing machine and shower room. State-of-the-art, easy-to-use digital emergency lifeline alarm system helps keep people safe and brings them together through the use of technology.

Fraser Wells, Regional Managing Director for Orbit Homes South said: “As both a housing association and developer we’re committed to making high quality, sustainable homes for people in differing stages of life, from first time buyers to high quality independent living schemes like this one for older people which was built in partnership with Jenner who were an excellent contractor. This year, we will be building more than 600 homes in the south region, the majority of which will be available via shared ownership or social/affordable rent making a new home both achievable and affordable.”