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This is a great example of

How a high level of collaboration between a housing association, Developer, Local Authority and Primary Care Trust, together with nimble project management, can result in a scheme which is high quality, cost effective and which can respond to a changing funding picture.

West Kent HA, South East

Montgomery Court, Strood: a high quality 62-unit extra care scheme
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What we did

West Kent Housing Association (WKHA), were working with developers Crest, delivering typical S106 housing, when Montgomery Court was identified as a site for some form of older person scheme. This portion of the site had the inclusion of a doctors’ surgery attached to it, though with limited time for Medway Primary Care Trust to confirm its intention to take up this option, any design had to be capable of future adaptation.

How we did it

WKHA worked closely with Crest’s design team to develop the layout and detailing of the scheme. They benefited from being able to hold a briefing session with the Planning Officers and Members of the Council, which allowed West Kent and Crest to informally share their approach and ideas and take feedback on board, ahead of any formal submission.

While initially the PCT did exercise its right for provision of a GP surgery, in the end they didn’t fully complete their option. Crest was however able to switch plans and provide their alternative superstructure design as provision had been built into the substructure in advance. This then provided six more apartments and an additional function room.

Keeping open to this possibility; modifying design; obtaining an alternate planning consent; seeking Board approval to this option; and then obtaining additional grant funding, all meant a lot of dedicated project management and commitment at senior levels of WKHA and Crest to ensure all the aspects came together for an improved outcome.

The impact we’ve had

  • A 62-apartment, high-quality scheme with full extra-care, catering for older people with support needs and designed to promote healthy living and independence
  • Close working and understanding by the HCA and excellent support from the local authority’s officers, resulted in the scheme being grant funded and so let at Social, rather than Affordable, rents
  • Delivered on a shorter time scale and at a lower cost to the public purse than a PFI project.

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