Who Says You Have To Live In A Retirement Home?
19 May 2015

Mary Rodgers and Barry Wittcomb share an apartment at The Old Brewery in Horndean.

The two friends got to know one another four or five years ago after Mary had a car accident and phoned Barry, who lived at the same retirement complex. He came out to rescue her and moved her car off the carriageway. Fortunately, the accident wasn’t serious - and the only lasting consequence was that they became firm friends.

Sometime after this, they both moved to a retirement home on Hayling Island. Mary bought an apartment first and Barry followed. The homes were close to the sea and set in beautiful parkland. But they both became exasperated. Mary says life in the complex was too restrictive and didn’t suit them:

“There were all sorts of rules and regulations for the residents: I wasn’t able to do any gardening and there was a curfew at 10.30, after which we couldn’t play music or make any noise. We felt we weren’t ready for that kind of life, so we both sold our flats there and rented somewhere nearby while we looked around for somewhere permanent to buy.”

Mary says they looked at several new build homes in the south coast area and eventually chose an apartment at Linden Homes’ The Old Brewery development in Horndean – the village where Barry grew up. Crucially the apartment has a lift – making it easily accessible and Mary said they both loved the way the apartment was arranged:

“We really liked the layout. There are two bedrooms and two bathrooms – mine is ensuite: So I have my privacy and Barry has his. We have our separate living space, but share our meals, we take it in turns to cook and it works very well.”

Barry says that he and Mary decided to buy the home together, as friends, because it made more financial sense than tying their money up in sheltered accommodation. He believes that with the increasingly ageing UK population, more and more friends will choose to do what he and Mary have done and live together:

“Mary has a few minor health problems, and needs someone to keep an eye on her – which is my role - but she certainly doesn’t need round the clock care or anything like it. If people can live in their own homes and have a friend there to check up on them, as Mary has, they don’t have to fork out thousands of pounds a month for residential care.

“We are also paying out far less for maintenance and council tax than we were before: In the retirement home in Hayling Island, I was paying around £1,500 a year in maintenance charges and about £1,400 in council charges. So that’s almost £3,000; and that was just my bills. At The Old Brewery, we are paying less than £2,000 between us for council tax and maintenance.”

And, as Barry points out, if they should decide to sell the apartment, they could sell it to anyone: When you sell a home in a retirement complex, you are selling to a limited market.

When they were buying The Old Brewery apartment, Barry and Mary consulted a solicitor who drew up an express declaration of trust for them. It states that, as ‘Joint Tenants’, they both own 50% of the apartment. The document also states that the apartment cannot be part of any probate process until both trustees are deceased; i.e. neither of them can be forced out of the apartment if the other should die.

The arrangement works in practical terms too: Barry and Mary are each responsible for their own rooms and they vacuum and dust the ‘communal’ kitchen/living room and hallway as the mood takes them.

Mary says she particularly likes the village location of The Old Brewery, where everything she needs is on the doorstep: Horndean has several shops, pubs and a post office.

“I got rid of my car, but Barry still has his and we use it to travel further afield. But really everything I need is within walking distance: I’m close to the shops, the post office and the hairdresser’s. I go once a fortnight to have my hair done at the salon just across the road, which is very pleasant and reasonably priced too.

“There is a Spar shop two minutes from the apartment, a pharmacist’s and a doctor’s surgery in the village too. So we can get pretty much everything we need. I like the garden centre just down the lane from us too. Horndean has a lot to offer.”

Mary is a very keen walker and says she’s already discovered several nice walks in and around Horndean. She and Barry also like the feel of the village – and the ambiance of The Old Brewery:

“We love the fact that people of all different ages live here – families, young professional couples and older people: It creates a very nice atmosphere. The apartments are well built and designed so you can’t hear noise through the walls – which is just as well because Barry likes his music and enjoys putting on his records and I love to play my piano, which I keep in my room. We think our arrangement works very well indeed.”

Andrew Reynolds, sales and marketing director at Linden Homes Southern commented: “We are delighted that Mary and Barry have managed to find their perfect home here at The Old Brewery. The location is so convenient for amenities and the position at the gateway to the South Downs is ideal for those that love the great outdoors like this pair. Maybe this is the future for the more mature buyer to purchase a property with a friend.”

Linden Homes has a number of schemes available to make buying a property at The Old Brewery a reality, including Help to Buy, Part Exchange and Linden Assist which takes the stress out of moving home.

To find out more about the houses and apartments currently available at The Old Brewery in Horndean, please call 0844 488 3119 or alternatively you can discover more details on the website. The sales and marketing suite on site is open every day from 10am to 5pm (4pm on Friday).


Media can contact Claire Cathersides or Emma Cox at Remarkable Group on 01962 893893 for more information, images and interviews with Linden Homes.

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