A new community of older people in Leamington Spa is celebrating after they marked the official opening of their new homes.
Queensway Court, an independent living with care scheme for people aged over 55, was opened on Thursday 1 October by the Chairman of Warwick District Council, Cllr Michael Doody, and Chair of Orbit Group Baroness Tessa Blackstone.
Residents of Queensway Court, developed by Orbit Homes and managed by Orbit Independent Living, gathered in its landscaped gardens to watch Cllr Doody and Baroness Blackstone officially open the scheme.
To mark the opening, a commemorative sundial, engraved with a quote from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer’s Night Dream was unveiled. To reflect the inclusiveness of Queensway Court’s motto ‘making everyone welcome’, the quote says: “Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, and therefore is wing’d cupid painted blind”.
Baroness Tessa Blackstone said: “Queensway Court offers people a real alternative to residential care schemes; providing an important contribution to the development of independent living across Leamington Spa and the Warwick district.
“It is delightful to see so many residents celebrating the opening together. Orbit believes in building communities, and a true feeling of community spirit is already here at Queensway Court.”
Chairman of Warwick District Council, Cllr Michael Doody, added: “People underestimate the importance of housing. Queensway Court is a prime example of how we are providing quality housing to those who need it, and it is meeting the needs of an ageing population which wants to remain active within in a community.”
Formerly derelict land on an industrial site, Orbit has regenerated the area at Queensway Court into 178 one and two bedroom apartments and penthouses. Offering a mix of shared ownership and rented homes, Queensway Court provides improved aspirational living for customers no matter what their age.
Designed by the award-winning PRP Architects and built in partnership with Deeley Construction, Queensway Court has recently been shortlisted for Development of the Year in the Chartered Institute of Housing Midlands Awards.
Christine Addison, HCA; Peter Deeley, Deeley; Lady Sheila Doody, wife to Cllr Doody; Paul Tennant, Chief Executive Orbit Group; Cllr Michael Doody; Anne-Marie Nicholson, PRP Architects; and Baroness Blackstone.
We are an industry that, since the war, has suffered due to having to live through the cycles of boom and bust – we are currently entering a period of new positive activity due to the returning confidence to the market.
I think we saw the green shoots start last year and this recovery has continued with the Construction Products Association (CPA) forecasting growth in output in the sector by 5.3 per cent in 2015.
Our spread of activities continue into housing, commercial, educational facilities, student accommodation, retail and leisure where we are finding the ongoing expansion of all of these sectors.
To achieve these results of this increased workload we need to ensure that we continue to meet our clients’ aspirations in terms of time, cost and quality.
We continue to train where we can, but our industry does need to understand that we have an increased requirement of more training to be completed throughout the industry so to meet this growing demand.
Our clients still require us to cover all of their activities and as part of our service to our clients we have been building in Cambridge, Bedford, Hertford, Bristol, Evesham and Dudley as well as our immediate local area of Coventry and Warwickshire.
The issue that affects all of our developments is that of obtaining a planning approval for a project, a process that is certainly taking longer than anyone can envisage.
I sit on the Planning Group of CW LEP where we have been able to sign the authorities in our region up to a new planning protocol so providing a clear commitment to improving the current position – let us hope improvements can be made.
We continue to engage with all of our clients (an early start is sometimes required) as we develop our working relationships with them so to provide a completed project that is required to work for them.
Our continued success is testament to all at Deeley and I thank them for their commitment and effort.