Plan to extend retirement complex

'We will see what is needed'

ESTHER ASHBY-COVENTRY
Last updated 05:00 05/12/2013
retire
MYTCHALL BRANSGROVE
BIG PLANS: Village development manager Jesse Schell looking over proposed developments at Elloughton Gardens.

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Radius Elloughton Gardens has applied for resource consent to add another hospital wing and build retirement villas on its grounds.

The proposed $24 million development includes 54 retirement villas with a community centre, 20 beds in an extension to the existing care home building, which which at present has a capacity of 59, plus a kitchen, dining room and lounge area.

The existing care home in Elloughton Grange, the old homestead built in 1893 - which is listed as a category 2 building under the Historic Places Act - will be upgraded inside, but its exterior will remain untouched.

Village development manager Jesse Schell said it was all part of a long-range plan that could include speciality units in the future.

"We will see what is needed and how to meet that need," Mr Schell said. The vision was a "continuum of care" with people able to live independently to start with but to access more services as they required them. They can access additional emergency help, then rest home, hospital and palliative care," he said.

If the council approves the resource consent, then the development would be completed in stages, possibly starting in mid-February.

The first stage would see the community centre built and infrastructure such as roading, power and water installed, then some of the villas developed in the allocated 21,690 square metre area in the grounds.

Mr Schell, a former registered nurse, said it was important for people to enjoy companionship in a safe and secure environment.

"Retirement villages have the best of all worlds, with your own home and as much autonomy as you want."

Socialisation was the key to good health, he said. "People often bloom in care because they are interacting."

The public concern over Timaru's ageing population needed to be looked at in context, he said.

"Only a small percentage are frail. The majority are fit and able, and it's not until an illness or a fall that they require interventions."

By building villas, able-bodied spouses could be close to their partners, who may be in the rest home or hospital wing, he said.

Timaru District Council district planner Peter Kloosterman said the application and any submissions would be heard and a decision made by a hearings panel.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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