Berry Place

Ashford Borough Council’s multi-million pound modernisation plan for its independent living schemes, rolled out under its Dahlia brand, has reached another landmark, with the completion of the £7.9m Berry Place scheme (formerly The Poplars).

Located in Beaver Lane in south Ashford, the new-look Berry Place provides 31 homes for affordable rent for older people, comprising 15 one bedroom and 16 two-bedroom apartments, built to a high quality that are care ready. This means that residents should not have to move if faced with deteriorating health in later life.

The stunning development has replaced an outdated scheme at The Poplars and will provide exceptional homes for the new tenants. Work started in February 2020 and was completed this month, with a clear focus on high energy efficiency design and build.

A communal area

The residents of Berry Place will enjoy a high quality modern facilities. There is a large cosy communal lounge and kitchen, and buggy store. A real community feel will be fostered by the inclusion of shared facilities, including ‘hubs’ or sub lounges in addition to a main communal lounge on the ground floor.

It has been designed to maximise natural daylight in each home and through the many shared spaces.

Just as much care and thought has gone into designing exterior spaces at Berry Place. There are architect landscaped designed garden spaces, all connected with wheelchair-friendly wide paved paths.

Security and connectivity are also high priorities – the scheme has CCTV monitored both on and off site, a video door entry system, a sprinkler system fitted in every apartment, the council-controlled Lifeline system installed and free WiFi in the lounge, with Freeview and Freesat also available in each of the 29 apartments.

Berry Place is designed to be dementia-friendly throughout, taking into account colour schemes, light, corridor lengths, patterns and memory shelves.

Like Farrow Court and Danemore before it, the scheme has been devised in recognition of the need to make special provision for the needs of an ageing population – by 2026 it is anticipated that around 40% of the residents within the borough will be aged over 50.

The scheme will be home to those mainly aged 50 and above, some of whom will have an assessed need for level access accommodation. Those aged under 50 with an assessed need for this accommodation can be housed here too.

Berry Place has been built by contractors Westridge Construction Ltd, who built Danemore and East Stour Court which opened last autumn. This has ensured supply chain efficiencies and the delivery of Berry Place on time and within budget.

Berry Place has been completed at an anticipated final cost of £7.9m, which is 2.4% under budget. It has been paid for through the council’s housing revenue account and grant funding from Homes England equal to £45,000 per apartment. Including Berry Place, East Stour Court and a general needs scheme at Halstow Way, the council has successfully secured more than £3m of Homes England funding.

Building back greener…

Berry Place has admirable green credentials, including:

·        The complex has an EPC rating B and the Environmental Impact Rating B.

·        The fabric first approach we have used with thermal elements stops heat escaping and has high levels of airtightness.

·        The double glazed composite windows used are fully recyclable, environmentally friendly, energy efficient, sustainably sourced, low maintenance and cost efficient over their lifetime.

·        Underfloor heating is energy efficient, cheaper to run (up to 25% more efficient than conventional radiators), and distributes heat evenly around each room.

·        A centralised low-energy extract system ventilates each property entirely.

·        Low energy LED lighting is used throughout.

·        Communal heating and hot water is 25% more efficient than individual boilers.

·        Nearly two dozen 305W Solar PV panels are installed on the roof.

·        Berry Place has two electric vehicle charging points.

·        Reduced water consumption through the use of low flow taps and dual flush toilets.

(Dahlia stands for Desirable Affordable Housing Linking Independence (and) Age)  

By Ed

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