Magna Housing and its partners have celebrated ‘topping out’ its new extra care housing development in the heart of Gillingham in north Dorset.

St Martin’s will offer 55 one- and two-bedroom rented apartments for people who need additional support while living independently when it opens later this year.

Magna’s Chief Executive Selina White was joined by Phil Farminer, Managing Director of construction partners Countryside Partnerships Southern, Mayor of Gillingham Cllr Barry Von Clemens and Cllr Graham Carr Jones, Lead Member for Housing at Dorset Council to place a ceremonial ridge tile on the roof to mark the traditional milestone of topping out the building.

Magna has been working closely with partners including Dorset Council to meet local housing and care needs, as well as Gillingham Town Council and community and business organisations to make sure St Martin’s and the people who’ll live there become integral to the town’s thriving community.

Near Gillingham High Street, St Martin’s is close to local shops, cafés and other amenities, making it convenient for residents to live with independence in a supportive, accessible and beautiful environment.

Extra care, which is different to sheltered housing and residential care, offers a home designed to adapt to people’s changing care needs and the needs of people with disabilities.

Each apartment will be fully self-contained for independent living, with communal facilities for activities and meals and 24-hour support on hand.

Magna expects to be able to start welcoming its first customers to St Martin’s in the Autumn.

Selina White, Chief Executive of Magna, said:

“St Martin’s is an important development for Magna and the local area. Extra care enables customers to live independently in their own home within a supportive, accessible environment.

“Thanks to our construction partners Countryside Partnerships, the building is coming together beautifully and we’re looking forward to welcoming people to their new homes later this year.”

Phil Farminer, Managing Director of Countryside Partnerships Southern, said:

“We’re delighted to be building this new extra care development for Magna and topping out the building is a key milestone for all involved. We believe it’s vital that we build the right homes in the right places, including for people who need additional support, and St Martin’s will provide a significant number of high-quality extra care apartments.”

Cllr Graham Carr Jones, Lead Member for Housing and Homelessness at Dorset Council, said:

“This development is responding directly to need in terms of the type of housing and the social needs of people who require extra care to live independently. It’s an inclusive development that promotes wellbeing and weaves into the fabric of the community both as part of the development itself and within the town.

“The collaboration between all involved means we have a development that secures provision for extra care now and in the future.”

Cllr Barry Von Clemens, Mayor of Gillingham, added:

“It’s great to have 55 much-need new rented apartments in the centre of the town. It will enable people who may be looking for some extra support when they’re living in their own home to remain within the community of Gillingham.

“It’s been amazing how well the developers, Magna and Dorset Council have worked in partnership with the community. Thanks to all those who have given their support to bringing this development to our town.”