One-on-one interview with Nick Sanderson, CEO of Audley Retirement

Posted 22 December 2014

Marc Da Silva’s final interview of 2014 with a senior figure in the housebuilding industry sees him put the questions to Nick Sanderson, chief executive offer of specialist developer and WhatHouse? Award winner, Audley Retirement.

What regions do you cover? The Audley portfolio extends from Willicombe Park and Mote House in Kent, to Clevedon and Hollins Hall in Yorkshire. We currently have 12 villages which range from brand new developments to established villages.

We are rapidly expanding and are forecast to triple in size in the next three years as our model has proven successful with the growing number of over-55s who are looking to live actively and independently. This means we are sourcing land and heritage buildings for restoration. We were delighted to have recently acquired our first site for a village in Bristol, as well as continue our expansion in Buckinghamshire and Birmingham.

Why should people over the age of 55 consider living in an age-exclusive home? We cater for the unique needs of those over 55 and have homeowners who range in age by 40 years. We believe that over-55s have been too long ignored by the housing industry, which is focused on first-time buyers. The older generations have a very different set of needs and desires from those who are buying their first home and deserve to live in homes designed specifically for them.

At Audley, we provide those over 55 with luxury homes in beautiful surroundings with high-quality design and facilities that encourage a happy lifestyle in a vibrant environment.

What is unique about Audley’s homes and what are the main benefits? Our properties are unashamedly luxurious and offer owners country club facilities on their doorstep. Audley properties are unique, ranging from penthouses overlooking the Yorkshire Moors to mews cottages in a converted stable block in Kent. At the same time, we can offer flexible care as and when it’s needed. This means that our owners can avoid having the uncomfortable choice of remaining in an underused family home and bringing care in if it’s needed, or moving to a care home which we know 99% of people do not want.

At Audley, we champion independence and autonomy so people can live in a home they own and enjoy their retirement on their own terms.

What types of properties is your firm developing? We set our properties around magnificent heritage properties which we lovingly restore to their former grandeur and modern elegance. The central building in the village houses the Audley Club which is open to both owners and the local community. It includes an à-la-carte restaurant, a bar/bistro, library, swimming pool, and a fitness and wellbeing centre. The villages themselves offer new build apartments ranging from one to three bedrooms as well as smaller cottages and mews houses.

What projects are Audley working on and what’s in the development pipeline? We have recently acquired the Redwood Hotel in Failand, on the edge of Bristol just five minutes from Clifton. This will be the location of Audley’s 12th retirement village.

We also recently celebrated a ground breaking at Audley Chalfont Dene in Buckinghamshire.  This village will offer a mix of 82 high-quality apartments and cottages to over-65s, which will be completed over two phases. The first 30 apartments and cottages are expected to be completed at the end of 2015.

In addition, the final phases of development are underway at Audley Clevedon in Ilkley, Audley Inglewood in Kintbury and Audley Mote House in Bearsted. We’re also excited about the further stages of development which have begun at Audley St Elphin’s Park in Darley Dale and Audley Binswood in Royal Leamington Spa.

How much does a new home by Audley typically cost to buy? Prices for Audley properties range from £262,500 for a one-bedroom apartment in Clevedon, to £1.4m for a three-bedroom penthouse apartment at Chalfont Dene. Owners have the opportunity to either purchase off-plan or to visit their apartment before purchase.

What is Audley’s USP? The Audley model combines stylish interior design with stunning surroundings whilst offering flexible use of facilities to meet the ambition and needs of the older generation. One aspect of our properties of which we are particularly proud is the interior design. Kitted out with SieMatic kitchen units, Neff appliances and a walk-in shower, Audley’s apartments are the perfect fusion of tradition and contemporary interior decoration. Our model also suits those who want to live in sumptuous surroundings but don’t want to worry about having to maintain a property or garden.

Audley Retirement recently won Gold for Best Retirement Development at the 2014 WhatHouse? Awards. What can you tell us about the scheme? Our newest village, Audley Binswood, which opened in Royal Leamington Spa earlier this year, is an absolutely stunning example of our work. The centrepiece of the village is the Grade II listed, Victorian-gothic, Binswood Hall. A magnificently imposing former school, it has been an absolute pleasure to restore it to refurbish it with new facilities including a spa and restaurant/ bistro.

We are delighted to have added to the multiple WhatHouse? Awards that we have already won in the past as we have always viewed a WhatHouse? accolade as a fantastic and independent quality mark of our work.

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