Protracted contract negotiations and additional design work pushed the start date back from February to June and the costs up from £50m to £54m.
Central Bedfordshire Council selected Farrans as main contractor in January, as we reported at the time. Construction was expected to start in February and cost £50m. Central Bedfordshire Council has now finally signed a £54m contract with Farrans Construction after ironing out all the details.
Built on the site of a former leisure centre in Flitwick, Steppingley Road will be an extensive development with a 72-bed residential care home, 88 independent living apartments and an eight-bed short stay unit. The development will also contain communal facilities including a pub/café, medical rooms, a hairdresser and community space including gardens.
The building has been designed by architect Oliver & Robb to Passivhaus criteria. Work on the site is now due to start on site in June 2022, with completion expected in 2024.
Julie Ogley, director of adult social care, health, and housing for the council, said: “After a robust tender process Farrans were awarded the contract based on best value, quality and their strong track record and expertise in delivering construction projects of this nature on time and to budget.”
Farrans regional director Cathal Montague said: "This is an exciting milestone as we prepare to begin on site with this important project for Central Bedfordshire Council. Steppingley Road Older Person's Village will progress the council's agenda to deliver future-proof, high-quality residential facilities. We have a strong relationship with the council and we are currently making excellent progress on Marigold House in Leighton Buzzard. We completed Hendon Hall for Signature Living in February of this year. Our team will be bringing our expertise and knowledge of the senior living sector to Steppingley Road Older Person's Village, meeting dementia-friendly guidelines and incorporating the highest standards of sustainability to achieve Passivhaus accreditation."
Explaining the four-month delay, a council spokesperson said: “The delay in the start date has been as a result of protracted contract negotiations, discharge of pre-commencement planning conditions and some important additional design work. It has been important to both the Council and the contractor Farrans to ensure that construction begins on a sound footing and a later start date has enabled this to happen.”