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Plans revealed for Scotland's first retirement 'mini town'

PLANS have been unveiled for what developers claim would be Scotland's first self-contained retirement village.

The proposals include the construction of 300 retirement homes and a 66-bed care home, with residents able to make use of a gym, restaurant, bar and shops in what has been described as a "mini town".

Members of the gated community, who will have to be aged at least 55, would also be able to spend their leisure time on their own bowling and putting greens, tennis courts, in allotments or by keeping small livestock.

While there are other retirement villages in Scotland, developers say there would be "nothing to rival" their American-style development in terms of its scale and they intend to create "a proper suburban village with every kind of facility and leisure activity you could want on your doorstep".

It is planned the village would be built in Newton Mearns, East Renfrewshire, at a former Victorian dye works site, creating more than 300 jobs.

Architect Jon Jewitt, who has been working on the design on behalf of Glasgow company Whitecraigs Developments Ltd, said: "The village would be a very secure environment, incorporating an entrance gatehouse, so residents of any age feel totally safe.

"But we also want them to have the best of everything, hence all the bespoke features. There will be nothing to rival this retirement village in Scotland."

It is proposed the retirement village will also incorporate health care facilities, gardens, a business hub and a village hall.

A pre-application notice has been submitted to East Renfrew­shire Council, while the developers are also consulting with the local community.

It is planned building work will start next year and last for three years.

Mr Jewitt, who is also an official at nearby Whitecraigs Rugby Club, said there was a demand for a retirement village on the scale being proposed.

"As we have seen in other countries, people are living healthier, longer, more active lives," he said. "Developments like this have taken off in other countries, which is why we are working to set the benchmark for all future retirement and care developments across Scotland.

"This is not going to be an old-fashioned nursing home or a block of warden-controlled flats built on a main road next to the railway. This is about a very special environment in beautiful surroundings where retired people can get a new lease of life.

"One of the other aspects we hope will appeal to people is turning a brownfield site, which is a real eyesore, into an upmarket development."

Those over 55 who continue to work will still be able to live in the village, which will include one and two-bedroom flats. Prices have not yet been set.

It is estimated 80 jobs will be created in the care home, 49 in the village centre in the restaurant, shops, cafe and bar, with a further 195 coming from areas including support services, gardening and "internal business opportunities".

It is hoped partnerships will be set up with local schools to provide traineeships for young people to work at the village.

The design team has also consulted ecologists as well as experts in care homes and Alzheimer's from West Of Scotland University.

A spokesman for Whitecraigs Developments Ltd said: "We plan to provide older people in East Renfrewshire with fresh choice, a lively and secure village to enjoy an active retirement with good neighbours, and provide their children and grandchildren with jobs and training opportunities."

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