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Work starts on £9m expansion to retirement village
WORK has started on a £9m scheme to create what are believed to be the first zero carbon retirement bungalows in the country.
Phase one of the scheme at Middleton Hall Retirement Village will see six of the planned 35 independent living homes built at the 100 acre site, at Middleton St George, near Darlington.
The expansion of the accommodation and facilities will create 45 new jobs and includes plans for an orangery with a cafe, bar and farm shop, which will sell produce grown at Middleton Hall and by local organic farms.
Builders have already finished work on the gatehouse, a two-bedroom prototype zero carbon home, which gives a flavour of how the bungalows will look and feel. Each home will be fitted with wood burning stoves, triple glazed windows and insulation as well as solar thermal panels and electricity generated from PV (photovoltaic) panels to help cut energy bills.
Jeremy Walford, managing director, said: "It's exciting to see work starting on the new bungalows. We want Middleton Hall to be thought of as the best retirement village in the UK and for us, the way to do that is to keep coming up with innovative developments which will enrich people's lives.
"Our aim is to create a dynamic community and a place where residents can invite their children and grandchildren to enjoy the facilities with them, whether it's a round of golf, a game of boules, wildlife walk or a meal in the restaurant."
Middleton Hall was founded in 1900 and work began 100 years later to transform it from a nursing home to a retirement village.
The site provides for independent living, assisted living, residential care, and nursing care through 49 apartments, 32 bedsitting rooms and 20 specialist rooms.
According to National Home Energy Rating Software, energy costs for heating, hot water, lighting, cooking and use of appliances should be outweighed by income from the feed-in-tariff subsidies - payments made to households and communities that generate electricity through low carbon sources.
"One of the worries for older people is paying for increasing energy bills on fixed incomes," added Mr Walford.
"The fantastic thing about the bungalows is that buyers know they won't have costly energy bills to pay and could even make money from the feed-in-tariff income."