PRP appointed to deliver design for net zero retirement scheme in Sussex

PRP has been appointed to lead the delivery of an integrated retirement community on the former Hazeldens Nursery site in Albourne, Sussex. This follows a successful planning approval achieved in March 2023. The appointment marks the continuation of the strong collaboration between PRP and Inspired Villages. The project showcases a mutual commitment to creating sustainable, community-focused retirement living spaces. The scheme, occupying a 10.6-acre site, will provide 84 homes for older people, along with a range of community benefits.

Albourne is set to be constructed with the highest commitment to sustainability, employing low-carbon techniques and materials to achieve net-zero carbon status in regulated energy. The design phase emphasises passive design measures, supplemented by active strategies to lower energy consumption and CO2 emissions. Key features include solar electricity generation, air-source heat pumps, EV charging points, secure cycle spaces, and rainwater harvesting systems, underscoring a commitment to environmental stewardship.

The development will provide a diverse mix of homes, including apartments and cottages, all designed to meet the varied needs of older residents. On-site amenities will include a gym, fitness studio, café, restaurant, library, community space, and a village shop, accessible to residents and the wider Albourne community.

Mark Walker, Associate Director at PRP, commented,

“We are proud to work with Inspired Villages on this significant scheme. The Albourne project represents a major step forward in sustainable retirement living. Our design will deliver a beautifully contextual collection of buildings that reflect and complement their semi-rural setting. Albourne will be net-zero in operation with the integration of renewable energy sources, reducing environmental impact while enhancing the quality of life for its residents.”

The village is called Wellcroft Green and will join Inspired Villages’ portfolio of nine operational villages and be designed around its commitment to health, wellbeing, and strong community connections. The development’s design has evolved through positive engagement with the local Planning Authority and the community. The design was positively supported through an engaged dialogue with the Mid Sussex Design Review Panel, ensuring that the design relates well to its context and is of architectural distinction.

Architecturally, the design reflects the local rural and village vernacular, taking inspiration from local farmstead form and materiality. The Village Centre, reminiscent of a traditional barn and using Sussex flint, creates a contemporary yet familiar charm. The Village Centre building accommodates a range of communal and wellness facilities, encouraging community interaction. The landscape, designed to complement the architecture, features distinct areas including a Village Square, Village Green, and southern meadow. These spaces, along with Farmstead Court and Gardens, are thoughtfully integrated, enhancing the site’s ecological richness and providing residents with a deep connection to their natural environment.

Sonia Parol, Design Director for Inspired Villages, said:

“We’re so pleased that our Wellcroft Green village at Albourne is taking shape. Following in the footsteps of our recently opened village, Millfield Green, the scheme will be net zero carbon regulated energy and bring 84 modern, bespoke homes designed especially for people over 65 to the Mid-Sussex area. We have a wealth of experience designing villages for over 65s, with our nine successful villages, and bring all that knowledge to our plans for this latest village. Combined with valuable and innovative insight from PRP, we are confident Wellcroft Green will be a thriving community that enriches the lives of our residents as well as supports the local area with fantastic facilities including a coffee shop, gym and fitness suites.”

PRP’s ongoing collaboration with Inspired Villages Group is set to deliver a landmark development in Sussex, showcasing the potential for sustainable, high-quality living in retirement communities. Construction is being led by ARJ Construction and commenced in January.