Old grammar school clock ticks again

A clock on the retained façade of an old grammar school building in Banbury has been restarted to mark the site’s on-going transformation into a housing scheme for the over-55s.

Construction work on 70 extra care housing apartments for older people is continuing on land in Ruskin Road, which was previously occupied by the Stanbridge Hall Grammar School, in a joint project between Oxfordshire County Council, Cherwell District Council and Housing 21.

The clock began ticking again during a special ceremony last Thursday where representatives from the involved organisations met at the site, which will be known as Stanbridge House upon completion.

Planners have been keen to retain elements of the site’s former use, including planning its interior design to reflect previous features, as well as involving the community in its development, such as when pupils from The Banbury School, situated next to Stanbridge House, were present at a brick-laying ceremony last year.

The £9.7m scheme will also contain the council-operated Banbury Health and Wellbeing Centre for up to 40 service users. It will replace the existing council-run day centre facility in Britannia Road. Some onsite services, such as access to meals, access to a shop, hairdressing and other activities can be shared between residents and centre users.

The centre, which will be significantly larger than the Britannia Road building, will provide a wide range of health and wellbeing activities for adults of all ages, including cookery, gardening and IT classes. Visitors will also be able to access a dedicated physiotherapy room and a computer suite.

Julia Godwin, Housing 21’s Development Programme Manager, said: "I’m sure local people will share our delight in seeing the old clock working again. Retaining the existing iconic façade has been an important aspect of the development of Stanbridge House and it is pleasing to see how the old and new will come together when this exciting scheme is complete."

Standbridge House will offer spacious well appointed apartments, with fully fitted kitchens and level access shower rooms. Residents will benefit from a combination of housing, 24-hour care and various support services. It is designed to cater for over-55s with care and support needs who wish to remain as independent as possible in the community, whilst at the same time providing a degree of support tailored to individual need.

Councillor Arash Fatemian, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Services, said: "The county council sees this development as an important part of its policy to extend choice for local older people and to help them to continue to live in their own homes.

“The site will also offer residents and members of the wider community use of a brand new Health and Wellbeing Centre which is significantly larger and more modern than the current council-run day centre in Britannia Road. I am sure that people will welcome the extensive facilities and services that will be on offer.”

Councillor Debbie Pickford, lead member for Housing with Cherwell District Council added:
"Cherwell District Council has committed, through its Housing Strategy, to improve the quality and range of housing available for older people. We're delighted to include this new extra care housing scheme in Banbury as part of that provision. I know that loneliness can be a real problem for older people and with this scheme being situated next to the new school there are good opportunities to make links between the younger and older generations.”

Further information on the apartments for rent can be obtained by calling 0345 606 6363 and on the sales apartments by calling 0345 608 4021.