A MULTIMILLION pound housing development for over 55s has been officially opened by the Minister for Housing and Regeneration Rebecca Evans AM.

The complex, on Drinkwater Gardens in the Gaer, features 39 homes and a large two-story communal hub area named ‘The Curve’ for hosting various activities, aimed at reducing the impact of loneliness.

Housing association Derwen Cymru, which is part of the Pobl group, started the project, known as Bryn Gaer Place, in 2016 and they had expected it to be open in Spring 2018.

The project was partly funded with a £3,475,879 Social Housing Grant and £200,000 Recycled Capital Grant via the Welsh Government.

The complex made up of two communal blocks of self-contained apartments, 33 two-bed, two one-bed and four walk-up apartments.

It features solar panels integrated in to the roof to help reduce energy costs, with each apartment designated an area of the roof.

There is also roof top terracing and optional rented garden allotments.

Rebecca Evans AM said: “Developments like this are important to Welsh Government because we know people like to live within a community but also have independence.

“We've got a really stretching target in Welsh Government of building 20,000 affordable homes over the course of this assembly and we're delighted Welsh Government has been able to put forward £3.7million towards this particular project through our social housing grant.

“I know these homes will continue to be a really valuable resource for the community for many years to come.”

New residents Rita and Harry Wilkins provided the minister with a tour of their new home.

Mrs Wilkins said: “It’s a lovely modern development, well thought out for older people and it feels like a community.”

Councillor Debbie Wilcox, leader of Newport City Council said: “We are delighted to see this investment by the Pobl Group in providing homes for older people which gives residents the freedom of independent living while at the same giving them access to be able to enjoy the communal hub area where they can socialise with their neighbours.”

Amanda Davies, Pobl Group CEO said: “Bryn Gaer is a fantastic example of bringing a vision to life and doing it through partnership.

“It’s been fantastic to meet the residents today and to be able to showcase the work we’re doing with the Welsh Government to meet the need for more housing of this kind.

“We’ve listened to the local community to build something that really meets their requirements.

“I hope Bryn Gaer will promote a real feeling of community and security which locals identified as important elements of any development following our initial ‘meet the contractor’ feedback sessions held in the community.”

Following the success of Bryn Gaer, the Pobl group is now looking to develop a similar older person’s scheme on a landbanked site at Treberth, Newport.