Nottingham-based civil and structural engineering firm BSP Consulting has moved into the retirement housing sector.

The company is involved in a £16 million scheme to build 132 apartments for the over 55s in Dudley in the West Midlands.

Now the firm is hoping this could be a springboard to future contracts in the development of retirement complexes, similar to Lark Hill retirement village at Clifton, Nottingham, which opened last summer.

“Interest in retirement and extra care schemes is growing,” said BSP Consulting managing director David Sumner. “The Clifton retirement village is the largest of its kind in the UK, with 327 homes, and many similar schemes are being built elsewhere. The Dudley development is BSP Consulting’s first contract in this sector, but we hope it will lead to others, as we see this as a growth area.”

BSP Consulting, based in Oxford Street, Nottingham, with offices in Derby and Leicester, carried out initial site investigations for the Dudley development, and designed the structure of the building and associated infrastructure.

Construction work on the scheme, which is a partnership between Loughborough-based contractor and developer William Davis Ltd, housing and regeneration group Midland Heart and Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council, has now begun.

The Middlepark Road development, which features one and two bedroom apartments for rent and shared ownership, as well as a gym, hairdresser, beauty salon, restaurant and other communal facilities, is due to be finished in summer 2011.

It is the first extra care affordable housing scheme to be delivered under the Strategic Partnership Agreement between Dudley MBC and Midland Heart.