'Care village' project approval will provide 54 new homes

An indicative CGI image of the 54-home "'extra care" affordable homes development in Thurston

An indicative CGI image of the 54-home "'extra care" affordable homes development in Thurston - Credit: HOUSING 21/WWA

Plans for an affordable care village of 54 homes that provides an alternative to a traditional care home have been approved in Thurston.

Unanimous approval was granted by Mid Suffolk District Council’s development control committee on Wednesday for 40 apartments and 14 bungalows to be built on 1.3-hectares of land off Heath Road.

The development, to be carried out by not-for-profit firm Housing 21, is known as an “extra care” affordable housing scheme which offers older people an alternative to a care home by living in independent homes but with 24-hour care staff on site.

The development at Thurston will enable older people to stay in the village

The development at Thurston will enable older people to stay in the village - Credit: HOUSING 21/WWA

Supporters said it would give people in Thurston the ability to remain in the village when they need additional care.

Peter Smith, property development manager at Housing 21, said: “We are excited to propose this high-quality extra care scheme which will be Housing 21’s sixth in Suffolk.

“The 40 apartments and 14 bungalows will be available for shared ownership and social rent; with extra care specifically offering older people the opportunity to live in their own homes, while having access to on-site care if and when needed. This helps people to retain their independence while having a care team close at hand.

“The site on Heath Road is well-placed to serve the people of Thurston and beyond. In line with our commitment to sustainability, this scheme will be built to an enhanced specification in order to be energy-efficient and have a low carbon impact.”

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The scheme has been backed by Thurston Parish Council and the two district councillors for the area, who welcomed the need for such housing.

A communal garden is also planned for the site.

Developers said the scheme will be heated by air source heat pumps, and while solar panels have not been included the planning committee has urged developers not to rule them out in future.

The "extra care" village of 40 places plus 14 bungalows has local support in Thurston

The "extra care" village of 40 places plus 14 bungalows has local support in Thurston - Credit: HOUSING 21/WWA

Julian West, from the parish council, said it was “much needed” but asked for future-proofing of electric vehicle charging needs and provision of cycle storage.

Ward councillor Harry Richardson said it would “allow people to preserve their independence,” while fellow ward member Austin Davies said it would be “greatly appreciated by the whole community”.