The prospect of retirement should be enjoyed rather than dreaded, according to the High Sheriff of Cumbria, Alistair Wannop.
He was speaking at the launch of a new approach to retirement living at Scalesceugh Hall where luxury homes are being built in the grounds of a restored mansion near Carlisle.
Mr Wannop described the project as a “broad-minded example of new thinking” and hailed the ambitious plans of Dr Anita Herdeiro and her husband Bruno who have relocated from London to run Scalesceugh Hall and Villas.
His enthusiasm was echoed by the Mayor of Carlisle, Councillor Trish Vasey, who described Scalesceugh as a “truly exciting scheme”.
“Today we have older people who don’t have the infrastructure of family and friends around them, so this offers a community – if and when required.”
Buyers of the houses will have access to rooms in the Hall including a coffee lounge, library, and a fitness room where regular activities will be organised. Grandchildren will be encouraged to visit and stay with the building of a playground in the gardens. Assistance will be available if needed.
Dr Herdeiro spent many years working with older people and researching into the impact of keeping fit and healthy in later life, and her principles are based on similar schemes operating in Scandinavia and Australia.
“Downsizing is a big decision and it’s one best taken when you are secure and have positive choices ahead of you rather than through fear of the future,” she said. “Scalesceugh offers you a 250-year lease on your own home, living the independent life you choose and being in control.”
She added: This is just the start. We believe this concept could be adopted throughout the UK.”
Bruno Herdeiro told the packed reception of civic dignitaries, local politicians, business people and community workers: “We’re working harder and living longer so our retirement becomes a very important part of our life and one we should look forward to.”
The properties will go on sale shortly; houses are priced from £300,000 and bungalows from £175,000. A discount will be offered to owners of electric cars; a re-charging point is one of the many sustainable features of the new scheme.