The recent report by the Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation has revealed that nearly 13 million people above the age of 65 live in largely unsuitable households, with vast amount of unused space, resulting in higher utility bills and maintenance costs.

Malcolm and Ann Rigby, a retired couple from Cambridgeshire, realised that downsizing into a smaller apartment would help them lead a more fulfilling lifestyle, eliminating the headache of maintaining their big four-bedroom family home in St Ives and freeing up some money that they could use to enjoy their retirement and travel the world.

The couple’s daughter lives in Australia and after following her advice Malcolm and Ann decided to look for suitable homes and visited Alconbury Weald.

Malcolm, who many years earlier spent time working at Alconbury Weald when it served as an RAF base, was astonished by the transformation of the site.

The couple were impressed by the amount of amenities on their doorstep and the quality of the new homes, instantly falling in love with a sleek two-bedroom apartment built by Civic Living. They also liked the fact that the move would mean they would still be close to their son, based in Hadleigh, Suffolk.

Ann said: “Finding a place close to friends and family was a big priority for us. Now that we’ve moved to Alconbury Weald, it is really easy for us to visit our son, and we’re looking forward to having our family come see our new home once lockdown is over. By downsizing it also means that we are able to use the money to visit our daughter in Australia.”

Malcolm and Ann put down an offer for an apartment from the Radmyle collection, which features spacious balconies, perfect for downsizers that want to have access to private outdoor space without the maintenance hassle. Thanks to its innovative layout and high ceilings, the apartment is filled with light and air.

Malcolm said: “During lockdown, we have realised how open and spacious our apartment is. It’s located on the top floor, so we have lovely views of the green fields, and our balcony is south-west facing, so we get a sunset each evening.”

The Civic Living homes are situated at the entrance to Alconbury Weald and the development offers facilities like a café, community store, park, Ermine Street Church Academy Primary School, cricket pitch and gym, and extensive neighbourhood play areas, all situated within a wealth of green space.

Ann said: “It nearly feels like we’re living in the country as we’re surrounded by so much greenery. During lockdown, we have been able to explore lots of beautiful walks and when everything is back to normal, we’re really looking forward to using the gym, which is only a few steps away from home.”

For Malcolm, Alconbury Weald is much more than a new community. Having retired at 65, he spent 49 years in the RAF serving as aircrew, operating out of RAF Wyton in St Ives, Cambridgeshire. During that time, he was temporarily transferred to RAF Alconbury, where he spent six months whilst the runway at RAF Wyton was repaired.

Malcolm said: “I knew Alconbury as an American airbase when I was based at RAF Wyton and landed my plane on the runway here many times, as well as being based here for six months. It is funny how things happen – I have a passion for flying and so does my wife, so it’s nice that we’ve found the perfect home on the former airfield I know so well!”

As Alconbury Weald continues to grow, the development will be welcoming a nursery and Co-op to ensure residents have everything they need on-site. Along with this, Urban&Civic, the master-developer of Alconbury Weald has planted 51,130 trees as part of the first tranche of half a million trees planned. The first 50,000 newly planted trees at Alconbury Weald will store 170 tonnes of carbon every year and help remove over 1.24 tonnes of airborne pollutants. By doing this, it will create woodland and hedgerows through the site to connect with surrounding ancient woodlands, ensuring easy access to nature for residents and a home for the local wildlife.

Alconbury Weald is five miles from Huntingdon, a short drive from Huntingdon train station, running frequent services to London, Cambridge and Peterborough.

Over the next 15 years, the community will be developed in key phases, each of which will provide further facilities and benefits to its residents and those living in the wider area.

Homes at Civic Living start from £179,950. For more information, visit www.civicliving.co.uk or call 01480 272 422.