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One of the most difficult aspects of Covid for the retired population has been how they can safely see their friends and family. While social distancing has been partially relaxed for the wider population, the older generation, and those that have underlying health issues are still having to be extra careful about socialising.

John Lavin of Cognatum says, “Outside space has become premium socialising space, and we’ve been blessed with largely good weather since the initial outbreak. Anyone with a small garden or courtyard has been able to see people relatively safely since the Lockdown was relaxed. The addition of a parasol, outside heater and supply of blankets has given us virtually guaranteed socialising space through the summer months.

“But as we move into autumn and winter safe socialising will become more challenging. It’s no coincidence that buyers who are looking at our retirement estates are prioritising good outside and newly important semi-outside space when it comes to their property requirements.

A downstairs cloakroom for the use of visitors is also a very desirable option! All of the following arrangements offer flexible space that’s a safer alternative to being indoors but perhaps a more pleasant option than being in the garden at the mercy of the British weather:

“Loggias and verandas are perfect for inside/outside space with plenty of ventilation but good protection from the elements.








Open plan living space with French windows or bifold doors allow generous airflow and plenty of room for separate seating.

Conservatories keep in the warmth on cool but sunny days while also offering plenty of opening doors and windows.

Flats with large doors to balconies that can accommodate a small table and chairs provide fantastic sheltered outside space.

“Cognatum’s development Bluecoat Pond at Christ’s Hospital near Horsham has two properties on the market that have been updated by Cognatum to include open plan living spaces and conservatories with doors opening onto the private gardens. Prices from £525,000 – £550,000.

“All the properties at Cognatum’s recent development, Stuart Court in Minchinhampton, have a combination of terraces, balconies, decks and wide sliding doors leading directly to outside space. Prices start from £650,000 – £695,000.

“At Cognatum’s forthcoming development, Orchard Yard in Wingham, Kent, each of the 15 properties has an individual garden or balcony; the clubhouse has bi-fold doors opening out onto a large terrace; and plenty of garden furniture will be provided in the orchard and adjacent to the allotments allowing residents to socialise safely in communal areas. Prices are from £560,000.

“At Cognatum’s forthcoming development Petersfinger in Salisbury, all four exquisite barn conversions have sizeable oak framed loggias with glazed roofs.

“All Cognatum estates have good communal garden areas which made Lockdown life for our residents a very different prospect to those who didn’t have such space readily available.

“For anyone wishing they had some vital inside / outside space, consider creating shelter that goes beyond a parasol. Pergolas, sails, and gazebos can all add excellent shelter for outside entertaining space with clever positioning around existing structures and trees helping to keep out the weather.”

Cognatum, an independent not for profit company, has 60 retirement estates across central and southern England. All are in prime locations within vibrant market towns or villages, within walking distance of shops and restaurants. Each estate benefits from thoughtful architecture, landscaped grounds, and a dedicated estate manager.

For more information:
01491 821170

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