Plan for over 55s complex will reduce NHS pressure, claims housing boss

Joe Bootman with an artist's impression of a similar complex to the new Rackheath development

Joe Bootman, land and planning manager for Saffron (inset) with an artist's impression of a similar complex to the new Rackheath development - Credit: Saffron Housing Trust

Plans for new independent living complexes in Norwich will ease pressure on the NHS, an affordable housing boss has claimed.

Saffron Housing Trust, based in Long Stratton, received outline planning permission for a 92-unit independent living facility in Green Lane East on the edge of Rackheath in June 2021 from Broadland District Council.

It is yet to apply for more detailed reserved matters planning consent.

However Joe Bootman, land and planning manager for Saffron, said he hoped official documents will be lodged by June 2024 for the complex due to open in 2026.

The building would be close to the Rackheath Medical Centre, which will be funded by the NHS, if new reserved matters plans are approved by Broadland and 130 affordable houses by Halsbury Homes.

Mr Bootman said: "There does tend to be concern in relation to independent living complexes on primary care provision but research shows there is less demand on primary care services from these units."

This is because all the residents, who would be over 55, would have support plans in place for their low-level care needs and a 24 hour care warden would also be employed for the development.

The complex was part of an independent living plus project in conjunction with Norfolk County Council to provide better accommodation for people who wanted to retain independence but needed some care.

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He added: "It is about taking people out of unsuitable housing. 

"The council seeks to address the identified need for 2,842 additional properties of this type across Norfolk by 2028. The council has created a £29m capital grant fund to help with this."

Extra grants for the various projects connected to the independent living project are also provided by Homes England.

The complex would be 100pc affordable and include a mix of one and two-bedroom apartments available for social rent and shared ownership.

People living in the development would also be able to use communal services including a restaurant and hair salon.

An artist impression of Saffron Housing Trust's Swallowtail Place independent living complex in Acle

An artist impression of Saffron Housing Trust's Swallowtail Place independent living complex in Acle which is a similar concept to Saffron's plans for Rackheath - Credit: Saffron Housing Trust

Saffron is building a similar development to the Rackheath complex in Acle called Swallowtail Place which will have 58 apartments and is  due to be completed this autumn.