“It's going to be a very happy scheme" Lord Best formally opens Grace House

Lord Richard Best OBE has formally opened Grace House, a new large-scale affordable housing development in London, and operated by C&C.

Grace House is the first major housing project completed by C&C since its merger with Aster Group earlier this year. The 170-apartment scheme, located in St John’s Wood, north London, replaces Dora House – a later living scheme demolished in 2020.

During the ceremony, held at Grace House on Thursday 20 October, and following a tour of the state-of-the-art building, Lord Best remarked upon how “collectively, people have done so brilliantly” to make the development a reality, and that the new scheme was a “triumph”.

The day’s invited guests included sitting Councillors from Westminster City Council, along with senior representatives from C&C’s partners on the project; Regal London, Ryder Architecture,     Motionspot, Arup, Montagu Evans and Trowers. They were joined by new residents in the building who are already settling into their new homes, with the first residents moving in during August.

Approximately 60 former residents of Dora House have moved over to the new development, which houses 153 affordable living apartments and 17 for private rent. New applications to live in the remaining affordable living apartments are being processed by Westminster City Council.

Pictured: Julia Ashley, business development director at Aster Group, speaks in front of a packed audience at the Grace House opening event

Grace House was designed with sustainability in mind; complete with electric vehicle charging points, air source heat pumps to provide low carbon heating and hot water, and solar panels to generate renewable electricity.

The Dora Designers Group, made up of several Dora House residents, worked in collaboration with C&C and its partners to ensure that those creating the new building understood the needs and wants of its future residents. Seeing the results of their input first-hand, invited guests were shown the residents’ new communal lounge, gardens (including a roof garden and winter garden), flexible activity spaces and the gym, as well as the space reserved for a new café and salon.

Julia Ashley, business development director at Aster Group and former chief executive at C&C, said: “Grace House should be regarded as the blueprint for how modern, affordable London living can look for people aged 55 and over. It’s been a great pleasure to welcome Lord Best to see the results of this project. Reopened ahead of schedule, this is the future of sustainable, elegant housing where the building can be adapted to meet the changing needs of residents.”

Paul Eden, co-founder of Regal London, said: “We wanted to create a new affordable housing scheme for the over-55s that would change perceptions and challenge the assumptions that many make. It’s clear, opening the doors of Grace House, that we have truly delivered on this dream. The resulting superbly elegant building, designed with the residents of Dora House to create the best possible outcomes for future residents, embodies our principles at Regal London of design excellence and quality whilst providing accessible accommodation for those who need it.”

David McMahon, director and project architect at Ryder Architecture, said: “We are hugely proud to see the opening of Grace House. This has been the culmination of an extensive co design process with C&C and residents to develop the design of both the homes and shared spaces. We are sure that the residents will enjoy their new homes and that Grace House will become an exemplar scheme which demonstrates what can be achieved through careful co-design to deliver modern high-quality later living environments.”

Ed Warner, CEO and founder of inclusive design specialists, Motionspot says: ““The biggest compliment is when everyone, regardless of age or disability enjoys being in a space while being unaware of all the considered design and product choices that went into meeting more specific needs. Grace House perfectly demonstrates how affordable homes can be built to be beautiful, adaptable, and accessible to suit people as they age.”

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