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Rectory Homes receives permission for extra care development in Thame, Oxfordshire


Built for those aged 65+, the 66-unit development will serve as a vital option for the area’s elderly residents who wish to remain living independently and own their own home, but value the security of having personal care and support services on site 24 hours a day.

The scheme is uniquely situated within the centre of the picturesque Oxfordshire market town of Thame, providing easy access to local, shops, restaurants, cafes and businesses, which will in turn help support the local economy.  The development will bring substantial benefits to the town through a series of measures designed to enhance the local area and integrate residents within the wider Thame community.


Each of the site’s one, two and three bed self-contained apartments and cottages will be completed to an exacting specification with features specifically designed for senior living. In addition, a resident’s centre will be available within the development, including a bar, a kitchen, function rooms, dining room, treatment rooms, a gym, a salon, a meeting room, library and staff facilities.


This new development is located adjacent to the existing Elms Park and will provide a new, publicly accessible open space of 1.25 acres created within the site, providing improved links through the town. A footpath will run through the open space to the existing Elms Park and will provide residents of Thame with a new, safer access that has been unavailable until now. A contribution of £560,000 will be paid by Rectory for improvements to the existing Elms Park, with a further contribution of £3 million to enable 26 affordable housing units to be built in Thame to support the growing community.


Simon Vickers, Founder and Chairman of Rectory Homes, commented:

“Although there is a huge need for later living housing, the current options for people looking to downsize are not good enough. Research shows that people living in a retirement community that meets their care needs live longer, happier and healthier lives, while reducing the burden on the NHS. If Covid has taught us anything, we must work harder to cater for our ageing society.


We have welcomed the opportunity to engage extensively with the District Council and others throughout the planning process and look forward to continuing that dialogue as we develop the site. This development will make a significant contribution to the local area, help foster a strong community spirit and support the local economy.”


A recent report[1] published by the Associated Retirement Community Operators (ARCO) highlights that in the next 15 years, 4.4 million more people will be aged 65 or over, and the number of those aged over 85 is set to double. With just 7,000 new retirement homes built each year, compared to the 3.1 million potential last time buyers looking to downsize, there is a huge supply-demand imbalance. As a leading industry expert comments in the report, we will be poorly judged by future generations unless we are able to boost extra care housing. 


Rectory worked closely with Barton Willmore, the UK’s leading independent planning consultant and Yiangou, an award-winning architectural practice, to create a sustainable, dynamic, and progressive initiative.


The announcement of Rectory’s receipt of planning permission at The Elms follows the company’s successful sale of The Cloisters, Great Missenden, a purpose built retirement community, to McCarthy & Stone, a leading operator within the sector. This deal illustrates Rectory’s ability to source, design and build healthcare schemes of institutional quality.


[1] https://www.arcouk.org/sites/default/files/ARCO_Housing%20with%20Care%20Grey%20Paper%202021.pdf

11 June 2021

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