Work on the community hub at the new 5,000 home Linmere village, known as The Farmstead, near Houghton Regis has been completed, with the internal fit-out now underway in preparation for opening.

Parts of the hub opened for visitors at the start of February, with the new café, dog groomer and nature-inspired play park poised to open their doors.

The three buildings making up the Farmstead are arranged around a central leafy courtyard with a nature-themed play area, outdoor seating, and bike storage.

The large community hall, which can be divided into two, will be available for hire by local groups and those in the wider area for activities such as yoga, local interest societies and children’s clubs.

The second building will consist of three retail units. The first to be signed for is a dog grooming parlour, the second will provide office space offering flexible co-working opportunities for residents and those living nearby. The final retail unit will promote outdoor living and enables residents to take part in daily activities.

The third building is a café selling and using local produce, including a bakery.

A third of the overall 650-acre Linmere site will not be developed and will be managed in a way that allows natural habitats to thrive.

The Farmstead is easily accessed from Junction 11A of the M1 and the A5-M1, within close proximity to the new 24,500sq ft Lidl shop which opened late last year, which it hopes will help attract locals and visitors.

Linmere development director Nigel Reid said: “Linmere’s focus is on the great outdoors. The Farmstead reflects this ethos, with everything from the rustic style of the architecture to the fact that the café serves locally grown food, to the services offered to our four-legged friends.”

Andrew Morris, business development director at building contractors Ashe, said: “We’re delighted to be providing this fantastic new community facility. Using sustainably sourced timber and offsite methods of construction we have ensured the most sustainable of buildings that fits with the aspirations of all parties involved. We hope it plays a central part in building a caring and diverse community.”

Peter Webb, director at Ingleton Wood’s Oxford office, said: “We used our expertise within the commercial and public sector to support the development of the sustainable community hub and create a lasting legacy for the Linmere Estate. Residents and local businesses will benefit from a range of high-quality community spaces for generations to come.”

The project was managed by Gardiner & Theobald LLP and supervised by Ingleton Wood, with Ashe carrying out the design and build and play equipment created by TouchWood Play and Davis White.

Property and construction consultancy Ingleton Wood was appointed to provide design services for the project.

The village will eventually accommodate more than 5,000 households as it grows over the next 15 years and is being created by the Linmere consortium which comprises master planners Lands Improvement, Aviva Investors, and the Diocese of St Albans.

It will also see the creation of two new state-of-the-art primary schools and an extension to Houghton Regis’ existing Thornhill Primary school. A ten-form secondary school will open in 2022/3.

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