Topping out ceremony in Sidley at housing development

AmicusHorizon staff, residents and dignitaries gather at the topping out ceremony
AmicusHorizon staff, residents and dignitaries gather at the topping out ceremony

A topping out ceremony was held today (Friday, September 4) to mark a milestone in the construction of a new housing development.

AmicusHorizon is currently building 58 extra care homes for older people in Buxton Drive, Sidley.

The scheme, called The Orangery, is due to be completed in January 2016, with the first residents moving in shortly afterwards.

AmicusHorizon’s chief executive, Paul Hackett, laid the final roof tile on the development in front of local dignitaries and residents.

The Orangery includes a mixture of shared ownership and rented apartments.

The scheme was made possible, thanks to a contribution of land and £140,000 from East Sussex County Council and £295,000 from Rother District Council. The Department of Health also contributed £2.3 million through its Care and Support Specialist Housing Fund.

Mr Hackett said: “The Orangery is a great example of partnership working to deliver positive outcomes for local people. The scheme is a mixture of affordable home ownership and rent for people who need dedicated older persons’ housing.

“Our ongoing partnership with East Sussex County Council and Rother District Council means we can provide a range of services and facilities for the residents of The Orangery.

“The scheme will be a hub for local people with communal facilities including an onsite hair salon and treatment rooms, as well as a welcoming restaurant open to the general public.”

Keith Hinkley, the county council’s director of adult social care and health, said: “This is a great example of partnership working to provide a facility that will benefit the whole community.

“This development offers an alternative to residential care and high cost community care for older people, allows couples to continue to live together and helps to combat social isolation.”

Councillor Joy Hughes, Rother District Council’s cabinet member for housing and older people, said: “The significant financial contribution made by the district council demonstrates the value we place on this fantastic scheme.

“As well as providing much-needed affordable accommodation for the older population, the extra care scheme will boost the economy of Sidley, by creating jobs and increasing the footfall in Sidley High Street. The facility will also offer a great space for community groups to meet.”

Rydon is delivering the construction work to the project, which started on site in March 2014.

Ben Finch, contracts manager for Rydon, said: “Tailored for the needs of residents, The Orangery is being built with a range of quality facilities that illustrate the future of supported living accommodation. As a Sussex-based contractor we are pleased to be delivering a state-of-the-art development for AmicusHorizon that will bring many positive benefits to the community and the Sidley economy.

“Residents at The Orangery will also be able to enjoy the calming landscaped, communal gardens and the convenience of off street parking.”

In building construction, topping out is a builders’ rite traditionally held when the last beam, or its equivalent, is placed at the top of a structure during its erection.

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