Arnison Close refurbishment

The works unit has been lodged in front of Arnison Close for some weeks now, but I hadn’t thought to take a photograph of it, or even to remark on it, until a couple days ago. But building work is an important component of daily life in the village, of course.

Arnison Close is a portfolio, a collection of some 12-14 rented residential units (studio or one bedroom flats), with a scheme manager, designed for sheltered housing and retirement living, as now owned and managed by Northumberland County Council, saving the scheme from disaster after its earlier management Anchor Housing, the largest not-for-profit provider of housing care for people over the age of 55, in the country, decided it could no longer maintain the property (obviously needs help on its website maintenance too!). The Close boasts a lift and wheel-chair access as well.

Yesterday Anglian Windows were installing uPVC units to replace ancient and rotting wooden frames; the place was built originally in 1982, making it 36+ years old now. I suppose whole flats are being refurbished to contemporary standards, hence the building unit to cater for the workers.

It’s kind of a building truism that although you might renovate your kitchen and bathroom, to help enhance the sale of your property, the eager buyer thereupon suddenly expects to tear that reconstruction all out again to make the place work for them. I’ve never quite understood why that should be, but it must make for good employment for the building trades. And buildings throughout Allendale are in a state of continual renovation and repair, so much so that the presence of a work unit, or skip, is almost nothing to remark upon at all. And yet I can’t remember a similar works unit outside Arnison Close for some while, so the renovation must be timely.

What is remarkable about Arnison Close, however, is the communal space, where a great deal of social activity goes on. I know of a book club, for example, a Dominos and Bingo session, and a handbell ringing group, each of which meet in the Common Room there. Non-residents are particularly welcome to these sessions.

I’m sure residents and social gatherings alike must be putting up with some banging and clanging, and even some inconvenience as the renovation proceeds, but it will surely be a better place when it’s all finished!

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