Eric Wright to lead consortium appointed for £100m Stoke extra care project

We are delighted to have been appointed to build 390 extra care apartments in the biggest scheme of its kind to ever be developed in Stoke-on-Trent.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council has named Sapphire – a consortium of construction, housing, facilities management, property development and architect professionals – to build the apartments over the next three years.

The villages will be created at three sites across the city for people aged over 55 and will be fully-occupied by 2017. The villages will offer spacious apartments within a community setting, with facilities on site and conveniently located transport links.

Facilities include one-bed and two-bed self-contained apartments, communal lounges, restaurant facilities, a launderette, landscaped gardens, hair and beauty salons, gyms and a variety of social and activity events.

The housing will help meet an identified need in the city and will be available for a range of people. It offers residents the opportunity to continue living independently with the same privacy they would have in any other kind of housing, but with access to other services and facilities that help them.

The retirement villages will be located at:

  • Holdcroft Fields, Holdcroft Road, Abbey Hulton.
  • The former Brookwood Home and Blurton Farm Depot, Consett Road, Blurton.
  • The former Westcliffe Hospital, Turnhurst Road, Chell.

Sapphire has been selected to deliver the villages based on a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) procurement process which started in November 2011 with the issue of the Official Journal of the European Union notice. Sapphire was one of four bidders to be shortlisted in March 2012.

Sapphire will build, finance and operate the retirement villages over a 25-year period in partnership with the Council. The consortium comprises a number of firms which have experience in providing a range of housing projects countrywide. They are:

  • Eric Wright Group
  • Your Housing Group 
  • Kajima Partnerships Limited 
  • Seddon Construction

As part of the negotiation process under the Mandate for Change agenda within the city, Sapphire will look to provide local employment opportunities, using local materials and companies.

Councillor Ruth Rosenau, cabinet member for regeneration, planning and transportation, said: “This scheme will deliver new, high quality accommodation that is in demand in the city.

“We are pleased to announce Sapphire as the preferred bidder and the consortium has consistently demonstrated its ability to deliver in what has been a necessarily rigorous procurement process.

“We want to ensure city residents have the opportunity to live in the best quality accommodation, and we look forward to Sapphire delivering this scheme. It is an exciting development and the largest scheme of its kind to ever be developed in the city.

“It shows again how we are delivering on our pledges to promote healthy and independent lives for local people and make Stoke-on-Trent a great place to live. We also want to ensure that the local supply chain is used as much as possible in creating the villages, reinforcing our commitment to support and develop existing businesses.”

Speaking on behalf of the Sapphire consortium, Richard Turpin from the Eric Wright Group, said: “We are delighted to have secured this prestigious contract. The consortium that we put together for this project has worked in partnership to develop a compelling bid and we are looking forward to making our plans for the villages a reality for the people of Stoke.”

Following its appointment on 20 December, Sapphire has submitted a planning application for each village. Designs have been developed by PRP Architects, specialists in extra care design, using information compiled during dialogue with the council. The determination of the planning applications is expected early this year to allow a construction start date of spring 2014.




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