A NEW block of retirement flats which are being offered on a shared ownership basis to make them more affordable has opened in the centre of Poole.

Platinum Skies held a ceremony for its new retirement living site Esprit on High Street North, designed for over-55s, with homes starting at £99,500.

By offering the 55 homes via shared ownership, the company says it is “pioneering an accessible and affordable route” to retirement home ownership.

The development was opened by Poole’s deputy mayor, Cllr Bryan Dion, with Poole MP Sir Robert Syms and BCP Council leader Cllr Vikki Slade there.

John Kearney, from the government’s Homes England affordable housing scheme, and Mark Major, associate director of operations at Poole Hospital Foundation Trust, were also present.

Facilities in the building include a bistro which will be open to the public and is adjacent to the communal private lounge.

Balconies in the higher apartments offer views of Poole Harbour and the countryside. Friends and family can be booked into self-contained guest suites.

Cllr Dion said: “It was an absolute pleasure to see first-hand what a fantastic development Esprit is and the many benefits it will bring to retirees. Poole will also benefit hugely with every £1 spent here.”

David Hines, chief operating officer at Bournemouth-based Platinum Skies, said: “We believe maintaining control and independence is important to everyone, regardless of age. Here at Esprit in the heart of Poole, we aim to create an environment that feels less like retirement and more of a lifestyle choice.

“Our society faces huge pressures on how we house, care and fund the retired. We employ over 300 people locally and not a week goes by without one of them telling me how privileged they feel to play such a key role in our community.”

The home has an on site lifestyle manager to help build a sense of community and provide support.

Platinum Skies, a registered social landlord, says it is committed to long-term partnerships with buyers, whatever support or care they need. The company offers to manage the sale of its residents’ previous property and help with removals and packing.

Its after-care service can deal with selling, donating or disposing of unwanted furniture and provides a handyman to take care of finishing touches in the new home.

Other Platinum Skies developments locally are Vista, in Lower Parkstone, and Monterey, in Christchurch.