Higgins has been appointed main contractor by Retirement Villages Group (RVG) for Botanical Place in West Byfleet, described as a flagship integrated retirement community.
Botanical Place will be built in the centre of the village of West Byfleet, on the site of the former Sheer House office block and shopping precinct.
The scheme, designed by PRP Architects, will have 196 apartments for people of retirement age to buy or rent, to live independently but with amenities, community and support on site. A public square will provide a central focus with surrounding shops, restaurant and a public library.
Botanical Place is in line with RVG’s strategy of expanding into more central and semi-urban locations following a £2bn investment programme by parent organisation Axa IM Alts, part of the French insurance group Axa.
RVG development director James Ahearne, said: “This is a project of significant importance to us as we set the standard for sustainable, integrated retirement communities. We have enjoyed a great relationship with the council and all local stakeholders in helping shape our proposals. To now make the leap forward into construction, especially in an extremely challenging inflationary environment, is really exciting for all those that have been involved. We are all looking forward to September when the first shovel will be put into the ground and we start building Botanical Place.
“There is a lot of work ahead for both us and our colleagues at Higgins Partnerships leading up to the scheme opening in late 2024. Botanical Place will be the UK’s first whole-life, net-zero carbon retirement community and the blueprint for all our future developments as we help lead the way on sustainability, in the retirement sector.”
Higgins Partnerships managing director Steve Leakey said: “While market conditions have been difficult to navigate, our close working relationship with Retirement Villages Group has enabled us to bring forward a viable programme. Botanical Place is a terrific opportunity for us to demonstrate how our partnership approach benefits projects and the communities in which we work.”
Cllr Liam Lyons, executive member for planning at Woking Borough Council said, “Retirement Villages Group and the Botanical Place project team have made sure to keep the Council and the local community involved as they worked toward this milestone. Botanical Place is an important element in the regeneration of West Byfleet. I know that people are eager to see the public square, shops and green spaces emerge alongside the retirement community and other amenities.”
PRP partner Jenny Buterchi said: “We are looking forward to working with Higgins to make Botanical Place into a reality for Retirement Villages Group, their customers, and the existing community of West Byfleet. The development will be transformational for our sector, placing older people at the heart of the community and helping to revitalise the town centre and its high-street. Net zero carbon, sustainability, health and wellbeing, and good placemaking have all been central to our design approach and we are excited to see the design now moving into the construction phase.”