To mark the commencement of construction on Retirement Villages Group’s (“RVG”) highly anticipated Integrated Retirement Community, local officials, community groups and supporters gathered yesterday (Wednesday 5th June) for an official ‘groundbreaking’ ceremony, in a clear sign of progress for the £115m ‘Thrive Living’ community.

Built by Design & Build contractor, McAleer & Rushe will deliver 167 new homes as part of the whole-life net zero carbon development. The development will repurpose the long-empty site as a vibrant and active retirement community with publicly accessible amenities including a restaurant, café, courtyard garden and almost 10,000 sq. ft of retail frontage at the junction of Mount Pleasant Road and Church Road.

The ‘groundbreaking’ event is a traditional ceremony that marks the start of a construction programme, offering the opportunity for key stakeholders and parties involved in the development to gather on site to celebrate the many years of work and investment to get a development to its ‘start-on-site’ stage.

The Thrive Living development is purposely situated in the heart of Tunbridge Wells, providing the growing population of over 65s with high quality homes and the opportunity to stay connected to the existing community, with easy access to the town centre’s facilities and transport links.  All this is on the doorstep of a community of people sharing an active and sociable lifestyle supported by high quality onsite facilities and services.

The ceremony follows the recent launch of a pioneering new way to buy and sell retirement homes at a one of RVG’s Thrive Living communities with a model that makes retirement living more affordable and accessible.

Future residents in Tunbridge Wells will be offered this first-of-its-kind new customer contract in the private retirement living sector, which draws inspiration from similar, highly successful models internationally.  Key benefits of which include management of the resale process including refurbishment costs, sales and administration fees and a guaranteed repayment sum for the property.

Will Bax, Chief Executive Officer at Retirement Villages Group, said:

“Today represents a key milestone in breathing life back into the heart of Tunbridge Wells on a piece of land that has sat derelict for 23 years.

“Our vision for Thrive Living is to create great communities that support amazing lives. Communities that are integrated and connected. That enable people to live with purpose. Communities that create a halo effect that adds real social value to their neighbourhoods in a way that is relevant and useful to everyone. This will be a civic, bustling place; with shops, restaurants and leisure facilities that are open to everyone to enjoy. But most important put our elders back where they belong; at the heart of the community.”

Eoin Gormley, Contracts Director at McAleer & Rushe, adds:

We are excited to break ground in Tunbridge Wells as we embark on the transformation of this brownfield site, to be delivered as a whole-life net zero carbon development.  This is a significant milestone not only for the development but also signals our increased presence onsite to begin integrating into the local community and bring forward initiatives to leave a lasting positive legacy.

Throughout construction, we will actively provide local employment opportunities and engage regional businesses within our supply chain. As a family-owned business, we are also committed to supporting the younger generation and welcome the opportunity to engage with local schools and colleges to provide curriculum support.”