‘Freedom villagers’ arrive in Cambridge

Pictured at the official opening of Cambridge Oaks are, from left, Rudy Van Het Wout, Cambridge Oaks assistant village manager Rachelle Bargh, Freedom Lifestyle Villages chairman Alan Morris and Frieda Murray.

Waipā District Mayor Jim Mylchreest has praised the decision of the Freedom Group to build one of its lifestyle villages in his district and said he would like to see something akin to the new Cambridge Oaks development replicated in Te Awamutu.

Mr Mylchreest was speaking at the opening of Cambridge Oaks.  He joined Freedom Group managing director Rudy Van Het Wout, village manager Frieda Murray, other guests and village residents at a gathering in the recently completed Village Centre.

“This is a fantastic addition to Cambridge,” he said. “When it started, this was a new model for local government in rural New Zealand.  I’m really enthusiastic about this style of development and am hopeful that maybe in Te Awamutu there may be a site suitable for something similar.  It is great to see this occurring in our district.”

Freedom Lifestyle Villages was established in 2012 to offer those in the 50-plus age group a model that presented an alternative to traditional retirement/lifestyle villages.  Cambridge Oaks’ housing options range from deluxe three-bedroomed homes to one-bedroomed terraced apartments.

Mr Mylchreest said when trying to cater for people’s needs, local government had to look at higher density housing options that also provided a range of facilities for residents.

Rudy Van Het Wout said the appeal of Cambridge, its history and sense of community, served to inform the decision to bring the village concept here.  He acknowledged the difficulties that had arisen in 2020 due to Covid-19, and congratulated Cambridge Oaks management for the support they had given residents during lockdown.

Mr Mylchreest and Mr Van Het Wout performed the ribbon-cutting ceremony, and the village’s first resident, Elfreda Goodwin, cut the cake.

The new name for the Village Centre was announced by Rene Verhoeven – The Lodge.  It had been selected from submissions received from village residents.

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