TWO of Newent’s oldest residents with a combined age of 193 helped launch a new multi-million pound development in the town.

Guest of honour Evelyn Adamson, who was celebrating her 93rd birthday, and recent centenarian Bert Bullock helped Two Rivers Housing mark the birth of its new residential and business village in Cleve Mill Lane.

The three-acre Social Enterprise Centre will comprise three distinct stages.

First comes a new office for the not-for-profit housing provider, with a 40-apartment extra care housing scheme and start-up business units to follow over the next few years. It is anticipated the total cost of the scheme will be more than £6 million.

Mrs Adamson and Mr Bullock, who both live independently in Two Rivers homes, were joined at the launch by Newent’s mayor Roger Beard and children from Glebe Primary School and Newent Community School.

Coun Beard believes the scheme will bring new opportunities to Newent.

“It’s great to have such a vote of confidence in the town from Two Rivers.

“The organisation’s community focus and its commitment to supporting the local economy and the environment is just what Newent needs,” he said.

Garry King, chief executive of Two Rivers, said the development was about investing in the community.

“The extra care centre will provide much-needed homes for the growing older population.

Unfortunately not everyone is as lively and independent as Bert and Evelyn,”

he said.

“And at the other end of the scale, we have plans to develop start-up units for local entrepreneurs, particularly focusing on social enterprise – building businesses that put something back into the local community.”

Mrs Adamson was thrilled to be involved.

“I was just going to have a quiet lunch with my niece. It was a wonderful birthday surprise,” she said.

The first phase of the development is being handled by Gloucester-based Britannia Construction.

Director Paul Halfpenny said it was an “exciting project”

to be involved in.

“The new office will be a model of sustainable building.

“It’s great to work to such exacting standards,” he said.