Former government minister calls in at Lantern Court on a fact finding mission for MCarthy and Stone.

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FORMER health minister Edwina Currie was in Ilfracombe at the end of last week to visit the new Lantern Court development on the old Cliffe Hydro site.

Mrs Currie was part of a fact-finding tour as a member of developer McCarthy and Stone’s newly established Greater Life Advisory Board (GLAB), looking at issues around housing provision for people in later life.

The company, which builds retirement developments, established the board ‘to challenge stereotyped attitudes to ageing and improve life for people as they grow older’.

The board members met people including residents, architects and those involved in the planning process and also visited Isabel Court in Exeter.

“The new developments had the ‘wow’ factor,” said Mrs Currie, “and we were asking the question, why? How is this achieved?

“What brings older people into these developments – and what keeps them out? How can where we live improve our life chances – or wreck them?”

In order to tackle the anxieties around housing and care in later life, board members also discussed how to make adapted housing more aspirational and stylish; and how to see such serve a wider population than simply their own residents.

“This fact-finding tour has reinforced in my mind the need for builders, planners and the government to address urgently the need for appropriate accommodation for this burgeoning section of the community,” said board chairman Steve Bedford.

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