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Ground broken on impressive new Cambridgeshire care scheme

Work has begun on Longhurst Group’s state-of-the-art £9.3million care complex for the elderly in Cambridgeshire.

Due for completion in October 2019, Willow Court, delivered by Peterborough-based Axiom Housing Association – part of Longhurst Group – and builders Lindum Group, will provide 60 new Extra Care apartments for rent in the town of Whittlesey.

As a leading provider of housing and care services across the Midlands and East of England, Longhurst Group operate a number of similar Extra Care schemes, which combine high-quality, modern accommodation with an on-site provision of tailored care and support, enabling customers to maintain their independence.

When finished, Willow Court will offer 47 one-bedroom apartments and 13 two-bedroom properties as well as a residents’ lounge, restaurant, hair salon and therapy room, micro-shop and communal gardens.

The development has received support from Cambridgeshire County Council, Fenland District Council and Homes England, which has provided £3.6m of funding.

The start of work at the site was celebrated with a sod-cutting event, attended by key figures from Longhurst Group, Lindum and Axiom as well as local councillors, dignitaries and care providers.

Speaking at the event, Louise Platt, Longhurst Group’s Executive Director of Care and Business Partnerships, said: “Willow Court will significantly improve the lives of elderly people in the local community, one in seven of whom are currently struggling to access the social care that they need because of their rural location and the lack of this kind of facility.

“It’s an ambitious project of 60 apartments, but the key criteria is that it will be affordable. It will be a fully-rented scheme, which is becoming a rarer commodity in today’s market, and I think it’s going to be a real asset to the area.

“There has been a lot of determination and commitment from all partners to get to this point because there have been many challenges along the way.

“It’s a testament to the strength of the relationships that Longhurst Group and Axiom have – particularly in this region – that we’re able to get to that stage.”

Stephen Wenham, Chair of Longhurst Group’s Homes Board, added: “This is an excellent example of strong partnership working, at its most effective. I’ve always believed that you can achieve more together and this is the proof of it, so full congratulations to everyone involved in this project.

“This particular development is needed in the area and the local demographic. Willow Court absolutely demonstrates how Longhurst Group, as one team with one vision, works together to improve the lives of our customers.”

Mick Papworth, managing director of Lindum, also spoke of his delight at starting work on the project.

He said: “We are delighted to once again be working with longstanding clients Longhurst and Axiom on this project, which is just seven miles from our office on the Lindum Business Park.

“Our team worked with the clients to manage the final design of the development and the planning process, meaning we were able to ensure it remained in budget, despite rising inflation.

“As a local construction company, it is satisfying to work on a development which will provide much-needed care facilities for vulnerable members of our community.”

Local dignitaries have welcomed the new development, hailing the scheme as ‘much-needed’ in the region.

Mayor of Whittlesey, Councillor Julie Windle, said: “I’m delighted to see the start of work at this development – I know it’s taken a while and a lot of hard work from all involved to get to this stage but it’s a very exciting development for the town of Whittlesey.

“It is something that is much-needed in the local area and to see how everyone has come together to bring this to fruition is fantastic.

“It probably won’t be completed during my time as Mayor, but as a local resident, I look forward to seeing it finished and open.”

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