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Legal and General embark on carbon net-zero retirement community

Legal & General has started work on the UK’s first carbon net-zero retirement community. It is being delivered by Inspired Villages, Legal & General’s developer and operator of later living homes.

The new net-zero retirement community, Millfield Green, is located in Caddington, central Bedfordshire, and will bring forward 200 specialist age-appropriate homes over four phases, with a Gross Development Value of £120m.

Construction will be carried out by Willmott Dixon. Millfield Green will use renewable energy generation through on-site photovoltaics, EV-charging, improved building fabric and insultation, Mechanical Heat Vent Recovery units and ground-source heat pumps through Kensa Group; a business Legal & General took a significant stake in last year.

Alongside its environmental benefits, Millfield Green will address the chronic under-supply of age-appropriate housing across the UK, with only 7,000 being built each year. Due to age-appropriate design, wellness facilities and services which enable quality of life, studies have shown that living in a retirement community leads to a 46% decrease in the number of planned GP visits and residents experience a 31% decrease in planned hospital admissions.

To support an increase in health span and ageing wellness, when complete, Millfield Green will benefit from a restaurant, café, wellness centre (including a swimming pool, fitness studio and gym), library and cinema room. In keeping with Inspired Villages’ ethos of creating communities in and around its villages, many of these facilities will be available to both residents and the local community.

Phil Bayliss, CEO of Later Living at Legal & General Capital, said: “We have to Build Back Better after Covid-19 and the housebuilding sector provides both jobs and vital economic resilience. Millfield Green is set to create around 1,100 jobs through construction and operation. But as we accelerate building, we have to avoid stoking up a climate crisis which will create another serious emergency. We continue to make terrific progress through our partnership with Inspired Villages as we set out to revolutionise the later living offer in the UK and address the chronic shortfall in supply. Bringing forward the UK’s first net-zero retirement community is another string to this bow, creating savings for residents and clear environmental benefits as we progress towards a carbon-free future.”

Jamie Bunce, CEO of Inspired Villages, commented: “We are delighted to be starting on site on this major new scheme and bringing forward the UK’s first net-zero carbon retirement community. There is a need to provide a greater support to our older people within society and Covid has shown us that ensuring the health and wellbeing of our older people, whilst supporting our NHS and social care services, is paramount. Our retirement community model focuses on holistic wellness, encouraging this in older people by providing suitable, safe, secure and stimulating environments, helping them live good, healthy, independent lives for longer. Environmental considerations are the next stage of this evolution.”

Inspired Villages currently operates six later living communities across the UK and is set to add to the portfolio with a further 2,500 homes over the next six years. Its seventh village, Ledian Gardens in Kent is set to open in 2021.

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