Botanical Place gets the Green Light

Posted 01/08/2022

Retirement Villages Group (RVG), which is backed by AXA IM Alts, has confirmed that construction of its flagship integrated retirement community, Botanical Place in West Byfleet, Surrey, will start in September 2022.

Announcing that it has entered into an agreement with Higgins Partnerships, RVG’s James Ahearne, Development Director said, “We are delighted to share this exciting news with the communities of West Byfleet and Woking. This is a project of significant importance to us as we set the standard for sustainable, integrated retirement communities. We have enjoyed a great relationship with the council and all local stakeholders in helping shape our proposals. To now make the leap forward into construction, especially in an extremely challenging inflationary environment, is really exciting for all those that have been involved. We are all looking forward to September when the first shovel will be put into the ground and we start building Botanical Place.

“There is a lot of work ahead for both us and our colleagues at Higgins Partnerships leading up to the scheme opening in late 2024. Botanical Place will be the UK’s first whole-life, net-zero carbon retirement community and the blueprint for all our future developments as we help lead the way on sustainability, in the retirement sector.

“We have been really pleased with the support and enthusiasm of the wider community to make sure Botanical Place offers sustainable, ecological and environmental benefits. We have worked closely together throughout the project to ensure Botanical Place adds vitality and buzz to West Byfleet.

“The team at Higgins Partnerships shares our commitment to quality, sustainability and the community. We look forward to working with them to deliver Botanical Place.”

Botanical Place is being developed as an integrated retirement community at the centre of the village of West Byfleet, on the site of the former Sheer House office block and shopping precinct. RVG has set out to create sustainable communities, connected to thriving local centres, breathing new life into urban and suburban neighbourhoods and country locations.

The scheme will be home to 196 apartments for people of retirement age to buy or rent their home. Community is at the heart of this development, focusing on upholding independence, flexibility and wellbeing. Excellent facilities including health and wellbeing amenities will be available on site, as well as a range of services and retail options for the wider public. A new, landscaped public square will provide a central focus with surrounding shops, restaurant and a public library.

Botanical Place is a flagship project for RVG highlighting its commitment to expanding into more central and semi-urban locations following a £2bn investment programme by parent organisation AXA IM Alts.

Steve Leakey, Managing Director of Higgins Partnerships said, “While market conditions have been difficult to navigate, our close working relationship with Retirement Villages Group has enabled us to bring forward a viable programme. Botanical Place is a terrific opportunity for us to demonstrate how our partnership approach benefits projects and the communities in which we work.”

Cllr Liam Lyons, executive member for planning at Woking Borough Council said, “Retirement Villages Group and the Botanical Place project team have made sure to keep the Council and the local community involved as they worked toward this milestone. Botanical Place is an important element in the regeneration of West Byfleet. I know that people are eager to see the public square, shops and green spaces emerge alongside the retirement community and other amenities.”

Jenny Buterchi, Partner at PRP said: “We are looking forward to working with Higgins to make Botanical Place into a reality for Retirement Villages Group, their customers and the existing community of West Byfleet. The development will be transformational for our sector, placing older people at the heart of the community and helping to revitalise the town centre and its high-street. Net zero carbon, sustainability, health and wellbeing, and good placemaking have all been central to our design approach and we are excited to see the design now moving into the construction phase.”

Botanical Place will be the first ‘net zero carbon’ residential scheme over its whole development and operational lifespan in the later living sector, RVG is the first developer in its sector to use UKGBC’s Net Zero Carbon Buildings Framework.