WINCHESTER’S new retirement complex Chesil Lodge is finally complete and the Chronicle was invited to have a sneak peek ahead of the first arrival of the new residents.

The £16 million development, a joint venture between Winchester City and Hampshire County Council, features a mixture of one and two-bed apartments designed for the over-55s.

The complex is the first ‘extra care’ development built in Hampshire and allows couples with differing care needs to still live together.

Other onsite facilities including a salon, gardens, restaurant (which is also open to the public), and a communal roof terrace with some of the best views of the city over the cathedral.

A free day centre is also housed on the ground floor for use by Winchester’s elderly community and residents. The large space and lounge area will be used for various activities, however, management has said they want the space to be “whatever the residents want.”

There is also a single guest room on site that residents can rent for £10 to enable family members to stay with them at the Lodge.

The scheme at Chesil Street is funded by Winchester City Council, Hampshire County Council, Homes England and a gift from the late Winchester-born resident Harold Harris.

The idea behind the project is the concept of Extra Care which provides people with their own individual apartment, coupled with access to communal spaces, in modern, high-quality, attractive buildings, close to local facilities.

Cllr Caroline Horrill, Leader of Winchester City Council said: “We live in a society where people are living longer and we have a duty of care to the older members of society. This development supports older residents by providing them with a high quality of life right in the heart of Winchester.

“Importantly, this is a top quality building that will benefit present and future generations of Winchester residents. It is also a way to free up larger homes for families by allowing people who need extra help the opportunity of Chesil Lodge.”

Cllr Roy Perry, leader of Hampshire County Council, said: “It shows what is possible when the city and county council’s work together.

“I don’t think that anyone can come here and describe it as an institution.”

Project manager Debbie Rhodes said: “I have been with the project since the planning stages and It’s fantastic to see it all finished.”

“It’s so great to be able to see the attention to detail and all the parts come together. It has been a great team effort.”

The scheme was not universally welcomed. Many local people objected to the loss of parking spaces and to the new building’s relative height, dominating the street scene which is mainly two-story terraced houses.