Call us now on

0800 201 4811

Building Blocks - the thought that goes into planning your perfect property

Mark Gale

Mark Gale

Author

Lifestyle

A huge amount of care goes into every McCarthy & Stone development. From the right location to wow-factor interiors, each stage reflects a dedication to creating quality homes

All in the planning

Finding the right site for a new development, close to facilities and with easy accessibility, is the job of Conor Garvey, senior land buyer at McCarthy & Stone. His team secured a site in the town of Chipping Norton, which will house a Retirement Living PLUS development plus Lifestyle Living independent bungalows and houses, all opening in summer 2018.

Q: How do you choose a site?

A: ‘It’s all about the location. It has to be in a desirable area that potential homeowners dream of living in. We look at towns mainly, with good local facilities and within easy walking distance of shops, restaurants, banks and doctors. Our sales database also shows us areas customers are interested in and we look at sites in those areas.’

Q: Why Chipping Norton?

A: ‘A percentage of the sites we look at are in aspirational areas. We already have a few Cotswolds developments, in Stow-on-the Wold, Moreton-in-Marsh, Cirencester, Stroud and Tetbury; so Chipping Norton was the obvious next step. We found a site that was previously owned by Parker Knoll furniture. It’s a perfect location with great local facilities – just a half-mile walk to town – and there are good transport links too.’

Q: What about your homeowners’ specific requirements?

A: ‘Making sure that the location will fit our homeowners’ needs is a game-changer when it comes to which sites we pick. Accessibility is really important. Making sure that pedestrian walkways are wide enough for motorised buggies or wheelchairs is a high priority, and the Chipping Norton site fits the bill with wide, flat pavements.’  

Q: Being sensitive to the local area must be important.

A: ‘Yes. We work closely with local councils to ensure we meet planning requirements and have public consultation meetings. At Chipping Norton, we have had pre-planning meetings with the district council and local town council. We have to ensure we fit in with the area’s policies and balance the build with carefully chosen materials to match the local vernacular. Some of the details – the colour of the stone, the roof tiles, the slates and the windows – will reflect the local style. Our architects will look at matching the pitch of the roofs and window elevations to typical Cotswold buildings, for example.’

Q: How long does it take from finding the site to planning stage?

A: ‘It varies a lot. Some sites will already have planning permission, so that speeds up the process. With Chipping Norton, I started looking at the site in August 2015. It can take a year to get permission. You can’t rush it. Ensuring a good site for McCarthy & Stone homeowners is all about planning. It needs to be done properly to make sure we have the support of the district council and local people when we get to the committee stage.’

Brick by brick

Once the plans are approved, the building team swing into action. Oak Grange is a Retirement Living development now completed  
in Cheshire. Phil Hamlin, McCarthy & Stone senior site manager, talks us through it. 

Q: Oak Grange is in a beautiful setting. How has it been to build on?

A: ‘It was previously The Royal British Legion social club. It’s in Hartford village, surrounded by residential housing, with mature trees on two sides and a tennis and bowling club on the other. Luckily, we’ve had good weather so far. We try to limit disruption to the local community as much as possible so, for example, timing deliveries not to clash with drop-off times at the school opposite.’ 
 
Q: Is there a set pattern to a build?

A: ‘Not really – every build is different. We use traditional methods with brickwork and concrete blockwork, but we also incorporate other materials, such as rendering and panelling. At Oak Grange, our main material is a smoked red facing brick with composite panelling on the top of the second floor. We can have up to 50 people working on site.’

Q: What about the gardens?

A: ‘The development will be landscaped towards the end of the programme. The design takes into account the existing trees – majestic horse chestnuts and silver birch.’  
 
Q: How long will the build take?

A: ‘It’s scheduled for 49 weeks, with the first homeowners in spring. Our show complex will be open eight weeks earlier, so you can see how your future home could be.

On the inside 

The flagship Bowes Lyon Court Retirement Living PLUS development of 62 apartments is set in Poundbury, Prince Charles’ urban extension of Dorchester, which was visited by Her Majesty The Queen in October when she unveiled a statue of the Queen Mother. Regional sales and marketing director Kim Caldwell discusses the development.



Q: What influenced the theme?

A: ‘We used neutral tones and soft pastels to reflect the Dorset countryside. The sprigged wallpaper in the homeowners’ lounge and dining areas is set off by lilac and turquoise in the upholstery and the Shaker-inspired coffee tables.’ 
 
Q: How do you make the shared areas welcoming?

A: ‘The communal areas are central to the development. The atrium is a great meeting point, with USB ports, charging points and Wi-Fi, where homeowners often gather before lunch. They can also relax on the outdoor terrace. It’s the little touches that make a difference, from the stylish lanterns in the club lounge to the cosy library. There is also the snooker room and a Wellbeing Suite where you can relax with a treatment.’ 

Q: What special features can homeowners look out for?

A: ‘Everything is designed for ease, comfort and safety. You’ll find plug sockets at waist height, lifts to all floors and wide corridors, which are easy to move around. The apartments have mid-height Neff ovens, lever mixer taps, video door entry, a 24-hour call system, smoke and intruder alarms, and  illuminated light switches to the bathroom and main bedroom.’

Q: As this is an extension of Prince Charles’ Poundbury development, did visual elements have to fit in?

A: ‘Yes, the façade was produced by Ben Pentreath, who works with the Duchy of Cornwall on most buildings in Poundbury. The Duchy approved our technical drawings before we began work, and our heating system is supplied by its biogas source.’

The show apartments at Bowes Lyon Court are now available to view. Click here to find out more.

Start your search for your retirement property
Like this article? Subscribe to receive updates...
Subscribe to receive notifications when we post new articles to our online magazine.
By subscribing to these updates you’re agreeing to receive email updates when new articles are published to the McCarthy & Stone online magazine.
We’ll never send you spam or sell your details. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Related Articles

Lifestyle

Sheffield – The Steel Centre of the World

Famed for its industry and innovation, the green, modern cityscape now replaces the smoking chimneys from the industrial revolution. There’s a friendly, independent and alternative spirit that can be hard to find in other cities alongside a thriving cultural scene. ...Read more

Lifestyle

The Top 11 British Hidden Gems

Where are the best locations in the UK to visit... that you've probably not heard of? We've ranked the best hidden gems around Britain, that are easy to access, and offer a great weekend away with the family. ...Read more

Lifestyle

Do Pets Make You Happier?

Whether you're a pet owner or have a pet free home, animals of all kinds have been proven to improve the happiness of their human counterparts. To find out more McCarthy & Stone conducted a survey to see how pets enrich their owners lives. Here are the results! ...Read more

Lifestyle

Let’s Dance 

It’s sociable and fun, and it’s good for your health and your brain – time to put on your dancing shoes  ...Read more

Lifestyle

The Thought Behind Your Home

Prospective homeowners will be delighted to know all aspects of their new living space – including the communal areas – have been considered during the design process, helping to make their lives more comfortable and a little easier  ...Read more

Lifestyle

Making your memories last forever

It’s never been easier to keep your most precious memories alive. From personalised photo albums and keepsakes to specially commissioned biographies and films, there are many ways to create a very special legacy – and have a lot of fun while you’re doing it. Here are a few ideas to inspire you  ...Read more

Lifestyle

5 Recipes For A Royal Wedding

We look into the perfect recipes to pair with a royal wedding. We've picked out the most delicious, as well as the quintessentially British for the special occasion! ...Read more

Lifestyle

The Best Golf Courses in the UK

Now is a great opportunity to get out on the fairway and get practising. We've looked into some of the best golf courses in the UK, including golf courses in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to get you ready and eager to tee off this spring and summer. ...Read more

Lifestyle

Small is Beautiful - Balcony Gardening

Creating a beautiful outdoor space on a balcony can bring a lot of pleasure to you and your visitors for minimum effort. Balcony gardening offers the joy of plants but without the work that usually goes with a garden – you shouldn’t have to do much weeding for a start, you won’t get slugs, and there’s no lawn to worry about! ...Read more

Lifestyle

Advice For Low Maintenance Gardening

Let’s be honest, we’d all love a gorgeous garden that would blossom with just the wave of a weed-wand. But I can’t be the only one who finds that a few minutes pottering turns into hours of pruning, trimming and raking at times.  ...Read more

Lifestyle

Great British Outdoor Experiences the Whole Family Can Enjoy

Finding an activity that the whole family can enjoy together can sometimes feel like a tall order, especially amongst the hectic schedules of our day to day lives. However, spending time together in the great outdoors is the perfect way to leave behind those digital distractions and create some precious family memories that will last a lifetime. ...Read more

Lifestyle

Inspirational Retirement Stories

You may wonder just how you will spend your retirement or worry that you will not find enough activities to fill your time. This can be far from the truth, these active retirees share their inspirational retirement stories  ...Read more

Lifestyle

How Do You Want To Live Your Life?

Enjoying a fulfilling retirement isn’t just about where you live. How you live plays an equally important role when it comes to getting the most out of what ought to be an extremely rewarding time of life.  ...Read more

Lifestyle

Dating for over 50s: how to find love in later life

Love in later life can seem daunting. If you’ve been married for some years and are recently divorced or widowed, looking for love is a whole lot different today than it was back when you were young. But that’s no reason to be put off – you’re never too old to fall in love! ...Read more

Lifestyle

Behind the Scenes

There’s a vast team working all year round at McCarthy & Stone to make sure that every homeowner in every development receives the best of the best. Here we talk to three of them… ...Read more

Lifestyle

How we help every step of the way

McCarthy & Stone knows that communication is key when it comes to making a decision as big as moving into a retirement development, which is why it has staff ready to talk through the process, says Rachel Halliwell ...Read more

Lifestyle

Return of the Spider Plant

Remember when trailing greenery hung from macramé pot holders in every bay window in the country? Well, the good news is house plants are back in vogue. Here’s how to make the most of them ...Read more

Lifestyle

Inspirational Generation

Are you member of the Inspirational Generation? We want to hear your stories. Enter our competition and tell us why - you could be in with the chance of winning £2,000! ...Read more

Lifestyle

Starting a new chapter in your life

Many people feel apprehensive about selling their family home, says Rachel Halliwell. Yet McCarthy & Stone managers see the worry and weight being lifted from the shoulders of homeowners once they move in. It’s like being on a permanent luxury holiday, said one ...Read more

Lifestyle

What we don't miss about being younger

The study by leading retirement housebuilder, McCarthy and Stone, reveals sitting exams, enduring the daily commute and the stress of running a family, are among some of the things the older generation DO NOT miss about being younger. ...Read more

Lifestyle

The Teams Behind the Scenes

McCarthy & Stone has a vast team working round the clock to make sure that every homeowner in every development receives the best of the best. Here, we talk to three of the key players...

...Read more

Lifestyle

Behind the scenes: Interior design

A lot of work and careful planning goes into creating the beautiful interiors of a McCarthy & Stone development. Interior designer Hannah Gernon explains how she arrives at the finished results ...Read more

Lifestyle

Childhood memories at Waverley House

Mary Kent lived at the first McCarthy & Stone Development to be built, Waverley House in New Milton. Here, her granddaughter Tania Harland shares wonderful childhood memories of spending time there, which inspired her to work for McCarthy & Stone when a job opportunity came up 10 years ago. ...Read more

Lifestyle

5 gardening tools for the elderly

Whether you've been a gardening enthusiast for years or only recently discovered the joys of green fingers, getting your hands dirty in the garden can become more difficult in later life. We look at tools that can make this hobby easier. ...Read more

Lifestyle

GrandFest

Come to GrandFest and join us throughout June and July for a celebration of heritage skills in partnership with the Royal Voluntary Service. ...Read more

Lifestyle

A Date To Remember: 1977

It was a year of social unrest, high inflation, patriotism and punk rock. It was also the year that John McCarthy and Bill Stone built their first retirement apartments. As McCarthy & Stone celebrates its 40th anniversary, we take a look back at the highs and lows of 1977. ...Read more

Lifestyle

40 Years On...

Celebrate 40 years of retirement living solutions with McCarthy & Stone. Discover how we are commemorating this special event here! ...Read more

Lifestyle

Finding Love In Later Life

They'd both lost their partners 9 years ago and moved to a McCarthy & Stone development, but little did Ann and Robin know they were about to start something very special...

...Read more

Lifestyle

Frontline Extra

We are excited about the next few months! Mother’s Day, the feel good movie of the year could well be perfect for your mom this Mother's Day! ...Read more

Lifestyle

Finding love

Meeting someone new in later life, for companionship and love, can seem impossible, but these couples show that it can happen! ...Read more