Guild Living, Walton-on-Thames

We obtained planning permission, following an eight-day inquiry, on behalf of innovative housing-with-care developers, Guild Living, for their Integrated Retirement Community located within the Walton-on-Thames Town Centre.

The development provides extra care / housing-with-care and is focused on creating an enabling environment, allowing residents to live independent, active and engaged lives within the community. The mixed-use scheme comprises 222 homes for older people including housing-with-care for older people, care accommodation for the very frail and those with dementia and cognitive conditions.

A new pedestrian boulevard provides a fresh link between the town centre, residential area and parks beyond the site, proving an attractive connection between communities and the town centre. It also provides new high-quality areas of landscaped public realm, which improve the townscape and provide generous spaces for all generations to meet and interact.

The scheme makes an important contribution to the vitality of the town centre though the provision of a range of publicly accessible shared facilities, including a restaurant, multi-use space and wellness centre, fronting onto the town centre, creating an age inclusive development.

Our Solutions

The scheme delivers a large number of homes to address the critical need for high quality accommodation with care for older people, and to address the Council’s housing shortage.

The high-quality design has responded sympathetically to the site’s location between the higher rise town centre buildings and lower scale residential areas and parkland. The new public realm and townscape provides a vibrant new use, regenerating a site which has historically underperformed in terms of townscape and its contribution to the Walton-on-Thames Town Centre.

The development will provide an integrated retirement community, with on-site care, scaled to the needs of the residents. A full suite of communal facilities such as a gym, library, restaurant and landscaped gardens encourages activity and interaction, with the objective of improving health and wellbeing and combatting the onset of frailty and dementia.

The Outcome

Following an appeal, which found that the application was in accordance with the development plan, permission was granted. The appeal condemned the attitude of the Council as “absurd” in suggesting that the facilities would not appeal to the wider public. The inspector found that the community use and creation of increased green amenity space for the enjoyment of the wider community would make a positive contribution to the advancement of equality and good relations.

The appeal also confirmed an important principle for those promoting housing-with-care / extra care schemes. Namely, councils have a duty in terms of the Equality Act 2010, to advance housing opportunities for all sectors of society, both young and old.