Rowan Croft tree planting ceremony

Residents of a new £5.7 million extra care housing scheme in North Tyneside have planted a Rowan tree to mark its official opening.

Among the residents of Rowan Croft taking part were Mrs Ruby Chipperfield, who previously lived at James Bowman House, a residential care home which used to stand on the site, and Mrs Mary Horsley who bought the show flat at the scheme. The opening event also saw the presentation of a plaque to residents by Cllr Les Miller, Cabinet Minister for Adult Social Care.

Another resident, Bill Potts, talked to guests about how his life has changed since moving into Rowan Croft. Bill used to live in an RAF flat in Rothbury but following a major operation he became increasingly isolated, especially during the winter. 

Bill said: “When I first visited Rowan Croft I noticed the warm and friendly atmosphere and just knew I’d be happy here. My life has improved ten fold because of all the facilities that are available to me and the staff who are so obliging and helpful.

“I now see my family and friends a lot more and my general health has improved dramatically. It really has changed my life.”

Commenting on the new retirement housing, Tayo Bilewu, director of property development for Housing 21 added: "I frequently hear from older people who, like Bill, have seen their lives transformed for the better through extra care housing. We’re creating environments that enable people to achieve a good quality later life by allowing them to live independently with help on hand. This is why extra care is an increasingly popular choice.”

The Killingworth development is a mixed tenure scheme that incorporates retirement housing for sale. It received a £2 million investment from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) and provides 45 two bedroom apartments for older people. Rowan Croft welcomed its first residents just over a year ago and is one of two extra care schemes to be developed in a partnership between Housing 21, North Tyneside Council, the HCA and Frank Haslam Milan (FHM) North East. 

Cllr Les Miller, cabinet member for adult social care, said: “I’m delighted that Rowan Croft’s residents are enjoying life in their new home. We want older people in North Tyneside to be more independent and healthier – schemes such as this are one of the ways we can achieve that.”

Rowan Croft allows people with personal care needs to live independently in a safe and comfortable environment.  Facilities on-site, which are also available to the local community, include a restaurant, hairdressing salon, library, treatment room, activities room, assisted bathroom and landscaped garden.

“Rowan Croft is all about independence – keeping your privacy within a community but having support services at hand when you need them,”
said Alan Davies, investment and regeneration manager for the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA). “Housing 21 has an increasingly strong track record of providing high quality extra care housing in the North East.”

It is the latest in a series of local projects supported by the HCA, which recently funded the creation of a new country park on the site of the former Fenwick, Eccles and West Holywell collieries at Backworth.

David Mellor, Managing Director of FHM North East, said: “FHM is proud to have delivered Rowan Croft on behalf of Housing 21 and North Tyneside Council and it is lovely to hear the personal stories of residents such as Bill who have benefited from this scheme.

“Extra care schemes such as Rowan Croft play a major role in supporting local communities, allowing people to maintain their independence.”


Editor’s notes                      

  1. Photograph -   Front; Councillor Leslie Miller, Cabinet Minister Adult Social Care North Tyneside Council, hands over the commemoration plaque to resident Bob Murphy, with back row, from left, Tayo Bilewu, Housing 21 Director of Development and New Business; Alan Davies, Investment and Regeneration Manager for the Homes and Communities Agency, Tony Stafford, Operations Manager Frank Haslam Milan and Paul Hanson, strategic Director of Adult Services, North Tyneside Council.
  2. For further information, please contact Wendy Gornicki, PR & Information Officer, Housing 21 on 0370 192 4338 or email
  3. Housing 21’s mission is to promote independence and choice for older people through quality care, health and housing services. It provides around 124,000 hours of community care each week and manages 18,200 sheltered and extra care apartments.
  4. The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) is the single, national housing and regeneration delivery agency for England.  Its vision is to create opportunity for people to live in homes they can afford in places they want to live, by enabling local authorities and communities to deliver the ambition they have for their own areas.  For more information, visit