Former BBC anchorman Peter Sissons extols the virtues of retiring to a city like Exeter and a retirement community like Millbrook Village
This month, television journalist, Peter Sissons, unveiled Abercromby House, the latest phase of development at Millbrook Village in Exeter, developed and managed by multi-award winning Renaissance Villages, a wholly owned subsidiary of Helical Bar plc.
Abercromby House consists of 27 luxury two and three bedroom apartments thoughtfully and expertly designed for the over 55s. Each apartment is finished to the highest standard with spacious rooms, stylish fixtures and fittings and a dual aspect balcony or patio.
During his visit to Millbrook Village, one of the UK’s only city-centre retirement villages in Devon, Peter shared his own views on urban downsizing:
“Traditionally, one thinks of retirement as a time in one’s life during which to dedicate oneself to pruning roses, knitting for grandchildren or sitting on the committee of one’s local parish council. Activities such as these all lend themselves to a slower pace of life, with the emphasis on making the most of the time for rest and relaxation in later years.
“However, as I am sure those of a similar age to myself will agree with me, I see myself less as ‘retired’ and more as experiencing a change of lifestyle which represents a reward for decades of hard work.
"With better healthcare available now than ever before and a change in perception in what is considered ‘old’ in the past few decades, today’s older generation live more far active and busy lives than in previous years.
“Retirement should offer a time in which to take up new hobbies, travel the world and to use the extra time now on one’s hands to see as many plays, concerts and sporting fixtures as possible, which may have fallen off the priority list during busy careers.
Urban areas offer a far greater selection of restaurants and bars, to be enjoyed by those with more time, and often money, on their hands in retirement
“When opening Millbrook Village, a brand new retirement development in Exeter, recently, I was struck by the advantages of downsizing to the city.
"Whilst England undoubtedly boasts some of the most beautiful rural landscapes in the world, which can offer wonderful home for retired people, our cities are also gems of culture, fine dining, shopping and sport, representing excellent homes for those looking for a full, active and perhaps somewhat Epicurean retirement.
“Being able to easily access theatres so as to watch the most recent plays and musical recitals not only offers pleasure but also helps to keep the mind active, something I know is often a cause of anxiety for those when they give up challenging careers.
"City cultural institutions also offer opportunities for participation, with Amateur Dramatic groups or orchestras representing an ideal way in which thespian downsizers can make new friends and express their passion for plays or the piano.
“My daughter and her partner are both actors and it is a real pleasure to be able to watch them perform in the London theatres.
“For those who prefer the pitch to a performance, cities offer numerous opportunities to get involved with league sport.
"When in Exeter, I was interested to hear about the city’s loyalty to the Exeter Chiefs Rugby team and the keen group of older supporters, who very much enjoy their Saturdays in the clubhouse.
"Cities naturally attract a greater number of sports clubs and grounds than rural villages or market towns, which means the variety of sports available is far broader. From bowls to ballroom dancing, Britain’s cities offer something for everyone.
“Urban areas similarly offer a far greater selection of restaurants and bars, to be enjoyed by those with more time, and often money, on their hands in retirement.
"Exeter, for example, despite its relatively small size, is developing a reputation as one of the south west’s foody destinations, offering residents of Millbrook Village the opportunity to eat lunch at some of the region’s most highly reviewed restaurants after just a short stroll along the River Exe.
“From a practical point of view, the accessibility of cities offers greater peace of mind over that of rural spots during the winter.
"For older people, especially those on their own, it can be unsettling and distressing to be cut off from local shops or medical services by snow in the winter and I know that a bad winter can often be the final catalyst to encourage a move into the city.
“So, for those looking to make the downsizing move in the next months or years, do not feel that it is time to start to slow down. Instead, choose a home which will allow you to make the most of your extra free time.
"Rather than deciding to take up watching extra soap operas, reserve a table at a Michelin-starred restaurant you have always fancied, book tickets for the next opera in town and sign up for membership for the local sports club. Here’s to urban downsizers!”
Millbrook Village is situated in the heart of Exeter and offers a total of 164 properties, including a selection of one and two-bedroom apartments and two and three bedroom cottages. Available two-bedroom apartments start from £325,000 and three-bedroom cottages from £419,950.
For more information visit www.millbrookvillage.co.uk /01392 275 335