A unique, aged care housing settlement is taking shape on the leafy grounds of the old Kimberley Hospital, at Levin, with purchaser demand taking local builder-developer, Wayne Bishop, by surprise.
The development, which is being supplied by local Vantage Windows manufacturer, Finer Aluminium, spreads out over 48 hectares and is nestled among hundreds of mature trees planted long ago to give hospital residents rest and repose in a pastoral setting.
Speldhurst Country Estate Lifestyle Village is said to be one of the most extensive aged care facilities in New Zealand with a capacity for 600 residential units as well as community and recreation facilities, most of which are already in place.
Debra Bishop, Village Manager, said that 129 homes were occupied with another 50 or so signed up and under construction or planning. “It’s been great for our region with a real boost to employment,” she said. “We started out with five employees and now we have 50 involved in building, landscaping, maintenance and other support work for Speldhurst.”
Levin developer and Horowhenua District Councillor, Wayne Bishop, tendered for the Kimberley property when it came on to the market five years ago. His bold vision seemed to be an outsized one to early observers of the Speldhurst project but events have proved them wrong. “The scale of the development is very significant for a community like the Horowhenua,” admits Mr Bishop. “But with our aging population and the ‘road of national significance’ connecting Levin more closely to Wellington the development has proved not just viable but popular.” Residents moving into the village come from Horowhenua, Kapiti and further afield.
Finer Aluminium have tended to supply homes in the development with Vantage Residential windows and doors though some commercial profiles have also been used in ‘The George’, a community hub including heated swimming pool, spa pool, fitness room, social room, billiards room, and library. A separate community hall also has other facilities including a ‘Men’s Shed’ (a workshop full of tools and handyman equipment) and a refurbished chapel dating back to the Second World War.