Re­tire­ment vil­lages roll out a wel­come for grand­chil­dren

The Daily Telegraph - Property - - Front Page -

Week­ends are a busy time for Mar­i­lyn McGee. It is when her 13 grand­chil­dren – who are aged be­tween nine and 23 – come to visit, ea­ger to use the fa­cil­i­ties at her re­tire­ment vil­lage.

Grace, 12, and Oliver, 14, live close by and visit reg­u­larly. “They love it here,” says Mar­i­lyn, 82, who bought a twobed­room apart­ment at Wadswick Green near Bath in Wilt­shire three years ago. “They swim in the pool and play in the grounds,” she says. “They used to choose burg­ers and piz­zas from the chil­dren’s menu in the restau­rant, but now they are older they have de­vel­oped a taste for steak – which costs me a for­tune!”

One of the rea­sons for mov­ing to Wadswick Green, which will have 248 one, two and three-bed­room apart­ments when com­pleted, was so that Mar­i­lyn, a widow, could be near her daugh­ter Fleur, as well as Grace and Oliver. “I also moved for the won­der­ful fa­cil­i­ties here, which are not only great for me but also for them,” she adds.

“You see lots of chil­dren around at the week­ends. It is lovely to see young faces min­gled with the old ones, but nice to know the young ones go home after­wards.”

Re­tire­ment house­builders have dis­cov­ered that the way to en­tice buy­ers to their vil­lages and de­vel­op­ments is to make them ap­peal­ing to their grand­chil­dren.

“If a re­tire­ment com­mu­nity of­fers a swim­ming pool, cin­ema, gar­dens and games fa­cil­i­ties then grand­chil­dren will be more likely to visit, which makes them more at­trac­tive to grand- par­ents,” says Neil Mac­Kichan of Re­tire­move.co.uk, the re­tire­ment prop­erty web­site. And the key to en­cour­ag­ing grand­chil­dren is to make stay­ing with granny and grandad feel just like a hol­i­day, adds Richard Wil­liams, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Wadswick Green.

“Our chlo­rine-free, salt­wa­ter pool is a big hit with the grand­chil­dren,” he says. “And our events pro­gramme is de­signed for fam­i­lies. We have run an Olympic pic­nic and games on the vil­lage green. Our an­nual craft mar­ket of­fers chil­dren’s en­ter­tain­ment, can­dyfloss and face paint­ing.”

Mar­i­lyn is hop­ing there will be a cin­ema and a snooker room in the next phase of the de­vel­op­ment to at­tract her older grand­chil­dren. One-bed­room apart­ments start from £265,000 (wadswick­green.co.uk; 0800 092 9030).

That’s al­ready the case in Life­care Res­i­dences’ swanky Lon­don re­tire­ment vil­lage, Bat­tersea Place. There, the vis­it­ing chil­dren can make re­quests for films at the on-site cin­ema, as well

Bat­tersea Place, left and above right

Pauline and Ian Simms and their grand­chil­dren, main; at the Fleur-de-Lis de­vel­op­ment, be­low

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