Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner visited a new retirement community in Failsworth this week.

The three-story retirement blocks, Sydney Grange, are named in honour of Mr Ernest Sydney, who was managing director of Failsworth Hats.

Located on Ashton Road West, the McCarthy Stone development will boast a collection of low-maintenance, energy efficient and affordable privately owned apartments, designed to support over-60s to make the most of their retirement years.

Mr Sydney, who founded the business in 1903, became a well-known figure after setting up Failsworth Trust, care for employees of Failsworth Hats - a designer hat brand that is still selling stylish headwear to this day.

Along with councillor Pete Davis, Ashton-Under-Lyme’s MP Ms Rayner, attended the work at Sydney Grange to take a closer look at development plans and view the progress of the ongoing construction.

She said: “It was a pleasure to see the plans for Sydney Grange and meet some of the team behind it. Schemes such as these are able to play a valuable role in helping to meet the unmet housing need for better housing options in later life."

To make retiring in style more accessible, properties at Sydney Grange will be exclusively available as part of a government-backed scheme in conjunction with Homes England.

Managing director at McCarthy Stone, Martin Brown said: “We are delighted Angela Rayner was able to take the time to visit Sydney Grange.

“We are currently experiencing a housing crisis in the UK, where there are not enough suitable homes to support our ageing population, and this is leading to many older people not being able to access the support and the care they need.

"Our Failsworth development is aimed specifically at enhancing the availability of more affordable housing in and around the Oldham area through the OPSO scheme, so retirees can enjoy the lifestyle they’ve dreamed of without having to pay the full price.”

The scheme, known as OPSO – Older Person’s Shared Ownership, reduces upfront costs of the properties for those wanting to downsize “by reducing the upfront cost of a new McCarthy Stone Retirement property, through providing a choice of home ownership options up to 75% and if 75% is purchased there is no rent to pay on the remaining share”.

Ms Rayner: “It’s important that Failsworth can offer not only greater housing choice for those looking to downsize, but the chance to become part of a welcoming and friendly community of like-minded individuals."

Plans are set to include shared maintained gardens, a communal longue home hosting regular events for residents to make new friendships, and a 24-hour emergency call system, with the most up to date safety and security features.

Those interested in reserving a property can do so off-plan early next year, with individuals expected to begin moving in the late summer of 2024.

For more information, call 08008221089, or visit McCarthy Stone’s website .