Thursday, 23 May 2019

Townlands buildings are shaping up for over-55s

Townlands buildings are shaping up for over-55s

THE ambitious redevelopment of the historic buildings preserved during the rebuilding of Townlands Memorial Hospital is now in full swing — with completion expected in August 2019.

A total of 34 two- and three-bedroom houses and apartments exclusively for people aged 55 and over are now on the market with Davis Tate.

I recently dog-walked to the edge of the site to see how things are progressing. Although still festooned with scaffolding, pallets piled up with building supplies and a great deal of mud, the transformation is clearly well underway.

The property contractors at Laureate Gardens are Bowmer & Kirkland, with site manager Steve Redgate leading a workforce of 70.

Approached from the middle section of Kings Road, the development benefits from a central Henley location in between the tops of Clarence Road and Mount View and stretching all the way back to Hop Gardens.

The homes in Laureate Gardens are spread across four separate buildings, each with its own unique style and character.

There will be eight luxury apartments in Masefield House at the front end of the site, closest to Waitrose.

Clearly visible from the hospital, this newly constructed contemporary apartment block is currently partly obscured behind safety hoardings and a layer of protective wrapping.

The massive tall windows are now being installed, and soon the building will emerge as an imposing but elegant beauty in brick and shiny glass. Each of these new homes will be accessed by a lift. The two duplex penthouse apartments at the top — both of which have been sold — will have “sky lounges” enclosed in glass, offering spectacular views across the rooftops of Henley.

Next to Masefield House is the Grade II listed Tennyson House, which is being converted from the town’s old Victorian schoolhouse, which was built around 1872.

There will be eight smart two-bedroom apartments in this building, with plenty of space and high ceilings. Tennyson House has retained many of its original features, including the old-fashioned boys’ and girls’ entrances and staircases.

Situated further back towards Hop Gardens, behind the hospital, is the Grade II listed former workhouse, now called Wordsworth Court.

Dating back to 1790, this unique piece of Henley history is the biggest of the four buildings at Laureate Gardens and is being converted into 15 houses, two of which are bungalows.

The metamorphosis of this fascinating place is progressing quickly — the brickwork has been restored, the roofs have been retiled and the double-glazed windows have been manufactured and fitted.

Inside, the room layouts have now all been defined, and a team of electricians and plumbers are steadily undertaking their “second fix” work before the plasterers and decorators move in.

Wordsworth Court is U-shaped and wraps around a south-facing courtyard.

The centrepiece is a house called The Master’s Office, which has a semi-octagonal bay window and a garden with a terrace, lawn and trees.

Stretching along the boundary of the Laureate Gardens development is Austin Mews, the smallest of the four buildings.

Originally built in 1886, it is being sensitively renovated into three two-bedroom cottages, each with its own private garden. One of the cottages has been designed to have its main living space upstairs, with a balcony overlooking the courtyard gardens.

While all this restoration and renovation is marching on apace, a major civil engineering phase is now starting up. Many tonnes of soil are soon to be excavated to make space for the new secure underground car park.

As soon as the soil has been removed, the car park roof will go on and then be hidden underneath the landscaped communal gardens, due to be built early next year.

The home interiors at Laureate Gardens are also in the works — the hand-built kitchens are already in production and the first batch will be fitted before the end of the year.

There will be Siemens integrated appliances installed in the kitchens, along with stone work surfaces and stainless steel sinks.

The bathrooms will be fitted with porcelain floor tiles, heated towel rails and good quality white sanitaryware.

Energy-efficient gas boilers will provide the central heating and there will be a combination of underfloor heating and traditional radiators installed.

The photos shown here are computer-generated images based on plans created by the site’s architect, Nick Baker.

Laureate Gardens offers a variety of one-, two- and three-storey homes, some modern and others more traditional, and most of them have private gardens, balconies or courtyards.

For more information on these two- and three-bedroom houses and apartments exclusively for the over-55s, call Davis Tate on (01491) 412345 or visit

At a glance...


Wordsworth Court, plots 1-15, the refurbished Grade II-listed 18th century former workhouse

Austin Mews, plots 16-18, being converted from a 19th century structure into three cottages

Tennyson House, plots 19-26, the refurbished Grade II listed Victorian schoolhouse

Masefield House, plots 27-34, a new-build apartment block in brick and steel with tall windows

Agent: Davis Tate on (01491) 412345


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