Inspired Villages Gets the Green Light for Its Sonning Common Community

Inspired Villages, an award-winning operator of retirement villages established by Legal & General, today announces it has achieved planning permission to deliver a £100m retirement community in Sonning Common, South Oxfordshire.

The scheme joins a fast-growing pipeline that puts Inspired Villages on track to deliver 5,000 homes for over 65s, including its six operational villages and four sites under construction, and help address the considerable shortage of appropriate housing for older people in the UK. Research shows there are more than 12m over 65s in the UK with this figure expected to increase by 41% to nearly 18m by 20401, however, there are currently only 78,000 later living homes in this country2 and only around 7,000 new units delivered each year.3

The Sonning Common scheme will provide 133 state-of-the-art age-appropriate properties, as well as impressive communal facilities open to residents and the local community. These will include a restaurant, cafe, hairdressers, cinema, library and craft rooms, as well as a wellness centre comprising a swimming pool, steam room, sauna, two treatment rooms and a gym with a fitness studio. 

By creating vibrant communities carefully designed for the needs of older people and focused on promoting an active lifestyle, Inspired Villages aims to improve the holistic wellbeing for the over 65s and support them in living healthier, independent lives for longer.

Inspired Villages research reveals that the scheme will free up local family housing and will also provide significant benefits for the local area’s health and social care system, including savings to NHS and social care budgets and reduced GP visits.

The development will also provide further benefit to the local area by creating over 100 construction jobs, and in excess of 40 operational jobs for the local economy once complete. 

Speaking on the planning approval, Neal Dale, Development Director at Inspired Villages, said: “Achieving planning permission for our Sonning Common community is a huge win for us and an important step in our portfolio expansion, allowing us to provide suitable housing for over 65s in the South Oxfordshire area. We know the demand for age-appropriate homes is there, and receiving the green light from the Planning Inspectorate allows us to continue to support the physical and mental wellbeing of older people across the UK. I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in this process and supported us.”

Phil Bayliss, CEO of Later Living at Legal & General and Chairman of Inspired Villages, commented: “As we have seen over the last 15 months, isolation and loneliness has become one of the most common issues faced by over 65s in the UK. Within the later living sector we are now seeing increased demand for appropriate housing that meets the needs of retirees both physically and mentally. 

“As lockdown starts to lift, it’s a pivotal time for retirees reconsidering how they’d like to spend what can be the best years of their lives and this latest planning permission is a welcomed step forward in our ability to accelerate the growth of a new generation of purpose-built housing, bringing them to communities across the UK.”


1‘Too little, too late: housing for an ageing population’ by Professor Les Mayhew, ARCO and CSFI

2Knight Frank’s Senior Living Annual Review 2020

3Retirement Housing: Residents’ Experiences’ report by NHBC

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