30 Jan 2020

John Watson House gets new lease of life

  • Evelyn, a resident at John Watson House
  • Alan, a resident at John Watson House

A large scale upgrade of homes at John Watson House in Royal Wootton Bassett has given a new lease of life to the 55+ scheme. 

John Watson House previously comprised 8 one-bedroom flats, and 14 bedsits. Work began in early 2018 to convert the bedsits at the scheme into one-bedroom flats, which included installing new kitchens, wet rooms and a separate bedroom. 

Two pilot schemes were initially undertaken and converted into one-bedroom flats. These became ideal decant properties, which were occupied in turn by residents while their bedsit was in the process of being converted.

In addition, the eight existing one-bedroom flats at John Watson House each had new kitchens and level access wet rooms installed.

As part of the redevelopment, the communal laundry facility was removed from the scheme and all residents have now been provided with a washer/dryer to go inside their flats.

The communal laundry facility, along with the old office opposite, have now been converted into much needed storage for the scheme.

Matt Knox, Partnerships Officer at GreenSquare, has been working on the project. He said: “This conversion project is the first of many more that we have planned, so we were keen to pay close attention to the whole process to learn what went well and what needs to be improved for the next scheme.

“Essentially, by converting all these flats, we have given them a new lease of life. They will now be viable for the next 30 years and will hopefully prove to be easier to re-let, so it’s an incredibly worthwhile and important upgrade.

“Everyone involved – community officers, architects, surveyors– have worked closely with the residents and our contractor to ensure the smooth running of this project. Moving everyone around the scheme while we carried out the work has been like working on a big jigsaw puzzle, but we are really pleased with the results!

“Next, we will be redecorating the communal spaces at the scheme."

Evelyn has lived at John Watson house with her dog Poppy for four years. 

She said: "Personally I love my flat how it is now. It's great having my bedroom separate and having an open plan kitchen and living room. I have more space to go around the kitchen, which has made a difference when I'm cooking my meals.

“The process went smoothly thanks to all the help that the team gave me. We really did get a lot of support and we all appreciated it.”

91-year-old Alan has lived at John Watson House for 25 years, so this has been a big change for him.

Alan said: "I still get out of my chair and head towards the kitchen, which is where my bed used to be! It's taken a bit of getting used to going into my new bedroom, but I really like it. All the changes make sense."

To find out more about GreenSquare's 55+ housing, click here.