Houghton Regis community hub set to open, complete with a cafe, shops and a nature play park

The Farmstead is at the new Linmere village being created

By Lynn Hughes
Saturday, 5th February 2022, 12:31 am
Updated Saturday, 5th February 2022, 12:34 am

Work on The Farmstead - the community hub at the new Linmere village being created near Houghton Regis - has been completed, with the internal fit-out now under way in preparation for its imminent opening.

Parts of the Farmstead will be open for visitors from the beginning of this month, with its 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 nature-themed play area, outdoor seating and bike storage.

The new Farmstead buildings

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. Royals Dog Grooming has outgrown its garden cabin in Houghton Regis and is offering an expanded service to new Linmere residents and existing clients.

The second will provide office space offering flexible co-working opportunities for residents and those living nearby. The other retail outlet will also reflect Linmere's vision of creating a happy, healthy place which promotes loving outdoor living and enables residents to take part in daily activities.

The third building is a café selling coffees and freshly prepared meals, many of which are created from locally grown produce, some on Linmere's own allotments. Café in the Park also runs a bakery and will be baking fresh breads and cakes in its kitchen at Linmere.

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

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."

The village, which will eventually accommodate more than 5,000 households as it grows over the coming 15 years, 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 2022/23.