London gets landscaped

Wednesday 8 April 2015
New spring trend
Page 20
Projects launch across the
capital to create new parklands
Page 4
London gets
Homes & Property Online with
This week:
news: Oval knocks prime
central London for six
Up and up: new
riverside home
projects such as
St George Wharf,
Vauxhall, have
helped push
house prices in
nearby Oval to
record levels
OVAL in south London is the best place to invest in a
home, according to a new survey by Savills. In addition to
the international Kia Oval ground, home of Surrey County
Cricket Club, this district of Lambeth boasts Beefeater,
one of London’s largest gin distilleries and, along with
neighbouring Walworth and Kennington, it claims to be
Charlie Chaplin’s birthplace.
Prices in Oval have outdone prime central London by a
mile, rocketing 223 per cent in just five years. Houses there
now cost an average of £1.2 million, the report reveals.
Trophy buy of the week
sleek, understated luxury
£6.95 million: step behind the traditional façade of this
five-bedroom Victorian townhouse in a prime Bayswater
street and swoon at the transformation. Cool, clean lines
and understated luxury can be found across five floors.
There’s a gym and cinema at basement level, a streamline
kitchen/dining room one floor up and a voluminous
reception room. A studio/home office leads out to its own
roof terrace. Through Domus Nova.
London buy of the week feel the
power in this stylish apartment
O Ruth Bloomfield’s full story reveals the capital’s top 20
property hotspots at
hot homes: Zone 3 areas
buyers should explore
a one-bedroom
top-floor flat
with a roof
terrace in a fine
period building,
close to Crystal
Palace train
station in Zone 3
O Visit
LONDON homebuyers are heading for Zone 3, where
addresses are 41 per cent cheaper on average than in
Zone 2, which has an average of £474,569 compared with
£797,410. Many of these districts are benefiting from
new transport links, high street makeovers and the
creation of new business hubs. Now we reveal the best
areas of Zone 3 to start your property search…
£485,000: the leafy acres of
Larkhall Park, dominated by views of
the iconic Battersea Power Station,
will be your neighbour if you buy this
two-bedroom flat within a smart new
development in Nine Elms, SW8.
Floor-to-ceiling windows and pale
timber floors give a light, airy feel to
both bedrooms, continued in a sleek
white bathroom with glossy porcelain
floor tiles. The reception room has
ample space to relax. If you love
cooking for friends, the open-plan
kitchen/dining area — complete with
granite worktops — will go down a
treat. Through Foxtons.
Life changer rural retreat
with its own nature reserve
£740,000: a north Cornish treat awaits at Little Water
Farm in Goonhavern, a few miles from the seaside at
Perranporth. Nine acres of idyllic grounds include a nature
reserve incorporating a lake, paddocks, two detached
converted barns used as holiday lets, and a third barn ripe
for conversion. The farmhouse has four bedrooms and a
kitchen/breakfast room. Through Country & Waterside.
O Visit
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Grand Designs Live
1,000 tickets to give away: ExCeL London, May 2-10
GRAND DESIGNS LIVE, sponsored by
Anglian Home Improvements, will
take place at London’s ExCeL centre
from May 2 to 10. Based on the
popular Channel 4 TV series and
presented by design guru Kevin
McCloud, this award-winning show
offers self-build, renovation, garden
and interiors enthusiasts the chance
to access everything they need to
create their own grand design.
Joining McCloud will be designer
Wayne Hemingway and architect
George Clarke.
Grand Designs Live offers the
ultimate day out with more than 500
exhibitors, inspirational room sets
created by the freshest names in
interior design, and the opportunity
to see live cookery shows, pictured.
Now we’ve teamed up with Grand
Designs Live to give away 500 pairs of
tickets. For your chance to win a pair
of tickets, see below.
TO ENTER For a chance to win a free pair of tickets to Grand Designs Live, visit and quote ESFTIX15 before April 30.
Free tickets not valid on May 9 or 10. Usual rules apply, visit for details
News Homes & Property with
Winnie-the-Pooh. In two tranquil
acres where a historic hall once stood,
the property comes with a studio and
summerhouse. It’s for sale through
The Modern House for £1.75 million.
Tyra’s banking
on apartment
to make her £1m
O See
É TV PRESENTER and former model
Tyra Banks, right, is selling her New
York home. The two-bedroom flat in
the Nolita district, Lower Manhattan,
is in a 1924 Beaux Arts building,
above, designed by pioneering
American architect Cass Gilbert.
The swish apartment has a roof
deck overlooking the city, and an
on-site porter for security.
The America’s Next Top Model star,
41, who paid £1.4 million for the
apartment in 2005, has put it on the
market for £2.5 million.
By Amira Hashish
Got some gossip?
Tweet @amiranews
É ZAYN MALIK revealed he decided
to leave boy band One Direction
because he wants to live like “a
normal 22 year-old”.
However, few twentysomethings
would be able to afford the house that
has caught the singer’s eye.
Malik and his fiancée, Little Mix
singer Perrie Edwards, below,
recently viewed a £2 million fivebedroom detached house in Welwyn,
Hertfordshire, above.
Approached via a sweeping
driveway, the home features oak
floors and the luxurious master suite
has its own dressing room area.
A large annexe, which is linked by a
covered walkway to the main house,
has a living room, kitchen, two
double bedrooms and a bathroom.
It’s on the market with John Curtis.
O Visit
Dusty’s old Art Deco home, fit for a diva
ÉA NEW musical based on the life of
Dusty Springfield is expected to open
in the West End this year.
Comedian and playwright Sandi
Toksvig is working on the show with
Vicki Wickham, who was the late
singer’s manager.
Springfield, inset, whose hits
included You Don’t Have To
Say You Love Me and Son Of A
Preacher Man, lived in an Art Deco
house in Kensington at the height
of her fame in the late Sixties and
early Seventies, when she released
five albums.
The grand property, left, in Aubrey
Walk has seven bedrooms and seven
bathrooms, and has just come on to
the market with Cluttons. Arranged
over five floors, it has been
beautifully refurbished to include a
35ft swimming pool, gym, sauna and
hot tub. Underfloor heating and
Lutron lighting provide modern
The south-facing roof terrace
overlooks Campden Hill Lawn Tennis
Club, while lovely Holland Park and
all the amenities of Notting Hill Gate
are just around the corner.
O Visit
É ARCHITECT Michael Wilford,
renowned for The Lowry theatre and
gallery in Salford, Greater Manchester, is selling the rustic, five-bedroom
home he designed for his family. The
house, above, is in Ashdown Forest,
East Sussex, setting for the tales of
Zayn heading for
‘a normal life’
Homes & Property New homes with
EAVING green space
into the fabric of the
city in imaginative
ways is high on the
a ge n d a o f f u t u r e
planners. Garden Bridge is part of this
grand plan, which is followed this week
by the announcement of funding for
seven major green space projects
approved by Mayor Boris Johnson.
The aim is to transform areas covering the length and breadth of the capital. These include restoring a marsh in
Harrow, creating wetlands in Enfield,
upgrading Wandle Park in Croydon and
the Duke of Northumberland’s River
waterfront between Twickenham in
west London and Old Isleworth.
City planners, keen to put nature and
creative landscaping at the heart of
new housing projects, are ensuring
that there is “design-in” recreational
green space.
This is happening at Fulham
Riverside, the redevelopment of the
former Kops Brewery, where apartment blocks are set at right angles to
the Thames, with lavishly landscaped
gardens in between.
In addition, the open area facing the
river has a central communal podium
garden with a 10ft waterfall feature and
provision for a croquet lawn, table
tennis tables and garden chessboard.
Prices from £785,000. Call Barratt on
0844 811 4334.
New London Landscape, a forum for
some of the capital’s best and brightest
designers, architects and eco-campaigners, is showcasing new ideas such
as Barge Walk, a linear park on a series
of barges anchored at West India
Docks, near Canary Wharf.
Street Orchard is another shortlisted
idea — to plant fruit trees at redesigned
bus stops and shelters with sloping
sedum roofs all over London. Green
infrastructure projects include unlocking inaccessible transport corridors
and creating parks and platforms for
pedestrians and cyclists above and
alongside railway tracks and sidings.
“All kinds of amazing ideas are
possible,” according to New London
Landscape. “Because of global warming and population growth, we need
city-wide strategies — a dynamic and
integrated approach to our limited
land resource.”
Among the exciting range of new
watery spaces proposed are floating
gardens in Docklands, a linear lido
along Regent’s Canal, between Little
Venice and Limehouse, and a reinstated River Fleet channel as a new
Future is bright: Nine Elms and the creation of a new neighbourhood between Vauxhall Bridge and Battersea Power Station
Finding a new home is
Many more Londoners will have the chance
to live by rivers, wetlands and exciting linear
parks as funding is approved this week for
projects across the capital. By David Spittles
low-line park. The subterranean river,
below Fleet Street in the City, has been
covered since 1769. It would be opened
up below street level, with pedestrian
footpaths either side.
There is also a proposal to reinstate
the Grand Surrey Canal, concreted
over in 1971. This lost waterway ran
through Bermondsey, an area recently
designated an “opportunity zone” by
the Mayor and now earmarked for major
housing schemes. A new Overground
station will be built at Surrey Canal
Road, linked to an £850 million project
that includes 2,400 new homes and a
sporting village on 30 derelict acres.
New York’s much-praised Highline
project, a mile-long aerial greenway on
an elevated section of disused railway,
is the inspiration for a linear park at
Making a splash:
the Lido Line,
a proposed
commuter route
from Little
Venice in west
London to
Basin in east
London, left
Bridging the gap:
the River Wandle
in Wandsworth
is set to be
restored to
match its
stretch through
Mitcham, right
Nine Elms, one of London’s biggest
regeneration zones, where up to
20,000 homes are in the pipeline.
The park will be the pedestrian spine
of this new district between Vauxhall
Bridge and Battersea Power Station,
where a new phase of apartments has
been unveiled. Studios are from
£495,000, one-bedroom flats from
£590,000, two-bedroom flats from
£1.2 million. Call 020 7501 0688.
A five-acre “lost river park” is being
re-established at the redeveloped Earls
Court exhibition centre. This new
neighbourhood will have up to 7,500
homes, while 23 acres are being added
to the public realm by reclaiming
under-utilised land at the complex.
Penthouses are priced from £1,575,000.
Cheaper flats are coming later. Call 020
7381 9800.
The Duke of Northumberland’s River
is a 500-year-old waterway linking the
River Crane in Twickenham and the
Thames in Old Isleworth. Residents at
Brewery Wharf will benefit from a
new green corridor running alongside
the two and a half-mile waterway. This
development of 71 apartments and 28
houses creates a hub, having a 320-seat
arts venue and community building
next to a piazza with restaurants and
bars. Warehouse-style architecture
picks up on the site’s brewery origins.
Apartments cost from £865,000. Call
St James on 020 3002 9457.
The Wetland to Wetland Greenway
running from Hackney to Walthamstow
is another well-received initiative. Two
giant reservoirs, three miles apart, are
being transformed into wildlife
reserves and opened up to the public.
A new green route through local parks
will link the reservoirs.
Woodberry Down, a new neighbourhood where 4,600 homes are being
built, faces the Hackney reservoir. Flats
in Skyline, a 30-storey tower with City
views, cost from £472,500. Call Berkeley
Homes on 020 8985 9918.
The River Wandle, which runs through
Wandsworth borough, is also the
focus of green thinking. It used to be
one of the most polluted rivers in
New homes Homes & Property with
From £785,000: apartments in
lavishly landscaped gardens at
Fulham Riverside, the redevelopment
of Kops Brewery
Lillie Square: penthouses at redeveloped Earls Court centre start at £1,575,000
From £257,000: homes at New South Quarter border the Wandle off Purley Way
a walk in the park
England, with 68 water wheels powering tobacco, textile and brewing factories along its nine-mile route from
Surrey to the Thames.
But there has been a dramatic cleanup in recent years, with fish species
flourishing again and parks and nature
reserves created along its banks.
At Wandsworth town centre, the river
will be opened up to the high street
and onwards to the Thames Path.
This has been made possible by the
redevelopment of a former eight-acre
brewery complex, now called The
Ram Quarter.
This project is bringing 661 new
homes and will have a new boulevard
with shops, bars and restaurants
cutting through the site alongside the
River Wandle. About half the area will
be open public space, with courtyard
gardens and a market square. Prices
from £450,000. Call 0800 0886 777.
New South Quarter, off Purley Way,
also borders the Wandle, and is close
to Croydon town centre. This scheme
of studios and one-, two-, and threebedroom flats is being built on the site
of a former gas works, and part of the
regeneration involves upgrading
adjacent Wandle Park. Prices start from
£257,000 and range up to £499,000.
Call 0844 811 4334.
Wild for nature: Walthamstow Wetlands will be built around Lee Valley reservoirs
Homes & Property Commuting with
Waterloo takes you
to 10 top towns
Less than an hour’s commute from the city,
parts of Surrey and Hampshire offer perfect
rural homes, says Ruth Bloomfield
HETHER your priority
is a quick journey
home, value for
money, a rustic lifestyle, or city living,
trains from Waterloo station can
deliver. There are 10 stations that lie
beyond the M25, spanning Surrey and
Hampshire, which are within an hour’s
Savills says that of the 10 stops, the
location showing the strongest annual
price growth is the Surrey village of
Brookwood, which is up 11.7 per cent
in the past year to an average of
£331,878. It has outperformed the rest
of the line since 2007, with a healthy
34.4 per cent growth.
Tim Harriss, a partner at Knight
Frank, says a 35-minute commute is a
big attraction. “Brookwood and
Woking have by far and away the best
train lines into London of anywhere
around here,” he adds.
Brookwood, which has a cricket club,
art group and plenty of children’s
clubs, is surrounded by lovely open
countryside, where there are great
walks alongside the Basingstoke
Shops include a post office and
butcher, while Woking, just four miles
away, has the lot. Good pubs are within
walking distance in the neighbouring
villages of Pirbright and Knaphill.
On the downside, Brookwood
Primary School “requires improvement”, according to Ofsted.
The village has some pleasant
Victorian terraces, priced from
£300,000 to £350,000. Buyers are
mostly first-timers who have chosen a
three-bedroom house and a commute
over a small city flat. Wealthier buyers
head to the hamlet of Sheet’s Heath,
just on the other side of the canal,
where Victorian villas with five
bedrooms sell for £1 million-plus.
For Londoners nervous about leaving
the city, Winchester — the ancient
capital of Wessex perched alongside the
South Downs — could be an option.
With its skyline dominated by a
Gothic cathedral, Winchester is a city
with stunning architecture, great
schools and plenty of green space. The
average property price is £417,958, up
a slightly disappointing 4.3 per cent in
the past year, but 23.5 per cent since
the market’s peak in 2007.
Winchester is a relatively long commute at 58 minutes from the city, but
there is a choice of three well-regarded
state secondary schools. The jewel in
the crown is Kings’ School Winchester,
rated “outstanding” by Ofsted, while
Henry Beaufort School and Westgate
School have achieved “good” ratings.
The city centre is charming, with
some fine examples of Tudor architecture. Fine dining is taken care of
at the Michelin-starred Black Rat
restaurant that offers a modern British
menu, while if you prefer a pub supper,
the Wykeham Arms has an exciting
Lindsay Johnn, an associate director
of Savills, estimates that about 60 per
cent of her buyers are London commuters, usually in their mid-thirties to
early forties and with at least one child.
Their preferred location is the suburb
of Hyde, which has a real village feel
and is a 10-minute walk to the station
£6.5 million: Mulberry House, a Grade II-listed Georgian
townhouse (
Lots of appeal:
Winchester is a
good option for
Londoners, with
its stunning
and range of
pubs, shops and
good schools
Offers over
£2.7 million: an
elegant detached
Queen Anne
residence with
seven bedrooms
in St Cross Road,
(Strutt & Parker;
01962 869999)
Ivy Cottage,
an attractive
Grade II-listed
detached house
in Hound Green,
Hook, with
four bedrooms
(Strutt & Parker;
01256 702892)
and the town centre. A three-bedroom
terrace in Hyde would cost about
But buyers are rippling out into
another suburb, Fulflood, which is also
handy for the station, and has good
schools. Its three-bedroom Thirties
homes sell for about £600,000 to
The most expensive locations along the
line are Winchfield and Hook. Average
prices in these adjacent Hampshire
villages appear to have plateaued at an
average of £385,695, up 4.3 per cent in
the past year and 7.3 per cent since
Basingstoke, seven miles away, is
cheaper. Average prices stand at
£237,250. This is a good commuting
town, with the train journey taking
44 minutes, reflected in prices rising
5.1 per cent in the past year and
8.8 per cent since 2007.
Schools in the market town range
from Ofsted-rated “special measures”
to “outstanding”. For under-11s,
St Anne’s Catholic Primary School is
excellent, and the two secondaries —
Bishop Challoner Catholic Secondary
School and the Costello School — are
also well regarded.
Old Basing, two miles east of the
station, is a historic village with
wonderful period property, pretty
canalside walks and good pubs.
Houses here are above average for the
town. A pretty Georgian two-bedroom
cottage would cost from £350,000 to
£400,000, while a period detached
house with generous gardens and four
b e d ro o m s c a n go f o r b e t we e n
£750,000 and £950,000.
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First-time buyers Homes & Property with
Share in the wealth of this millionaires’ hotspot
Ruth Bloomfield discovers how
Ladbroke Grove is offering the
chance to enjoy some Kensington
and Chelsea glamour
ITH the average
price of a home
standing at
£1.3 million in
Kensington and
Chelsea, you might think that all but
the wealthiest of first-time buyers
would be excluded from the royal
However, a new development close
to the Grand Union Canal in
Ladbroke Grove — admittedly at the
“cheaper” end of the borough — is
offering a chunk of a starter home
from just less than £126,000.
The Grand Union Centre, in
Ladbroke Grove, will launch this
month. Housing association Affinity
Sutton has 22 homes on offer, all
featuring either a terrace or balcony.
The development, designed by the
award-winning Allford Hall
Monaghan Morris architects, is a
10-minute walk from Ladbroke Grove
Tube station in Zone 2 and served by
the Hammersmith and City and
Circle lines.
It is also within walking distance of
the cafés, restaurants, bars and stalls
of Portobello Road and the pretty
Emslie Horniman’s Pleasance park.
“It has definitely got good potential
for price growth,” says Gemma
Wallace, senior sales manager at
Affinity Sutton.
Prices at Grand Union Centre start
at £125,875 for a 25 per cent share of a
one-bedroom flat with a full market
value of £503,500. Two-bedroom
properties start at £153,625 for a
From £125,875:
for a 25 per cent
share of a flat at
Grand Union
Centre, at the
cheaper end of
Kensington and
Chelsea. A
sharedownership buyer
would, however,
be excluded
from the
garden, below
25 per cent share of a home valued at
In total, the site has 133 homes, and
the development, which is by Taylor
Wimpey, is due to be completed at
the end of this year.
Priority will be given to those
already living or working in the area.
On the downside, it is a car-free
development and access to the
communal garden, which many of
the flats overlook, will be reserved for
buyers of private flats on the site,
which are being sold by John D Wood.
0844 406 9288
playground: all
but the
wealthiest of
first-time buyers
are excluded
from the Notting
Hill end of
Ladbroke Grove,
where fine,
stuccoed terrace
houses sell for
Past: in 1837, Victorian entrepreneur
John Whyte launched a horse racing
track on what is now Ladbroke Grove.
It did not prove popular and closed in
1842. Its curves formed the basis for
many of the area’s crescents, including
Blenheim, Lansdowne and Elgin.
Future: Kensington and Chelsea
council is lobbying for a Crossrail
station for the area, just off Ladbroke
Grove and Canal Way.
Trivial pursuit: notorious serial killer
John Christie murdered many of his
victims in a squalid flat in Rillington
Place during the Forties and Fifties.
Buying agent Gilly Holloway, a
partner at Heaton & Partners, and a
former resident of the area, says:
“Ladbroke Grove is a fantastic
investment. Some of the streets in the
area have really improved and attract
the wealthy who can no longer afford
Notting Hill.”
For example, in St Helens Gardens,
less than a mile away, the St Helens
Café & Deli that used to be in
Portobello Road has moved to take
advantage of cheaper rent, and
others have followed. Ladbroke
Grove will benefit from the
The address became so notorious the
road was renamed Ruston Close.
What it costs: average price in the
area is a hefty £1.14 million, up 4.96
per cent in the last year according to
Zoopla. Flats sell for an average
£753,498. The average monthly rent
for a two-bedroom flat is £2,818.
First-time buy: there’s no such
thing as a bargain buy in this
neighbourhood, but you could opt for
a well-designed one-bedroom flat in
Ladbroke Grove itself, on the market
for £450,000 with Fraser & Co. Visit
“touristification” of the Notting Hill
Gate end of Portobello Road.
Holloway says: “When the high
street chains and trendy trainers
brigade moved into Notting Hill, a lot
of the character and charm left.
Thankfully, the shops they replaced
are now moving to Ladbroke Grove.”
Her tip for the future? “I believe
Ladbroke Grove will soon begin to
become too expensive and the next
place to watch will be up the Harrow
Road towards Acton, where
transport links are good and it is still
affordable,” she adds.
Landmarks: Rosmead Garden, one of
the area’s garden squares, where Julia
Roberts and Hugh Grant hopped the
fence in the movie Notting Hill.
Eat: a pan-global menu at the Dock
Kitchen overlooking the Grand
Union Canal.
Drink: at KPH, formerly the
Kensington Park Hotel and recently
taken over by the Mean Fiddler Group.
Features live music and retro gaming
Buy: fantastic homewares at Tom
Dixon, Portobello Dock, if you can
afford it.
Homes & Property Planning
O YOUR house is too small.
Join the club. A third of
Londoners are currently considering adding extra space to
their home over the next three
years rather than going to the trouble
and expense of moving somewhere
bigger, according to a recent survey.
But three years might be too long to
wait because a government amnesty
allowing many homeowners to
extend their property substantially
without the inconvenience of gaining
planning permission comes to an end
next spring.
With a general election looming there
is no way of predicting whether the
amnesty will be extended.
“We have consulted on this and we
are examining the responses. We will
announce something in due course,”
was all that a spokesman for the
Department for Communities and
Local Government had to say on the
Right now you can add a good-size
rear extension, carry out a loft conversion or put up a conservatory without
needing planning permission — though
the system isn’t a total free-for-all.
People living in listed buildings or
conservation areas are not able to take
advantage of this temporary relaxation
of the rules, but the rest of us can make
changes under a system known as
Permitted Development (PD), so long
as we stick to strict size limits and a
style guide.
“If you go down the planning application route then your neighbours — and
all and sundry — can comment and they with
the planning
ends next
A relatively painless route to
extending your home is
available, but don’t delay,
warns Ruth Bloomfield
can thwart your plans,” says Andrew
Mulroy, director of Andrew Mulroy
Architects in Highgate Road.
“If everyone gangs up on you, you
can be derailed. PD is like a force field.
You do still have to make an application
to the council for what is called a
Certificate of Lawfulness, but it is all
relatively easy.”
Mulroy used PD rights when he
extended a Thirties end-of-terrace
Inspired: architect Andrew Mulroy used PD rights to extend this home in
Muswell Hill using glass “walls” which he successfully argued were windows
house in Muswell Hill for a family who
wanted a larger, more open-plan
ground floor. By keeping the extension
to within PD size limits — still a substantial 16ft 4in high and 12ft 1in wide — he
was able to create a bright, modern
dining room overlooking the garden
and Alexandra Park beyond. This
project proves that the aesthetic
restrictions of PD — which state that
your building materials must match
the rest of the property — are not
immovable. Mulroy was able to successfully argue that, although the
house was red brick, since two entire
walls of the extension are glazed, the
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Planning Homes & Property with
Know the rules
of engagement
Short cut: Granit Chartered Architects used PD rights to remodel a Thirties
house in Twickenham that included building a home office in the garden
contemporary dark grey aluminium
that surrounds them constituted nothing more than a window frame.
Tom Vincent of Granit Chartered Architects used PD when remodelling a rundown Thirties house in Twickenham.
He was able, without planning permission, to build a home office at the end
of the garden. The flat-roofed building
measures 21ft 3in by 11ft 5in and is clad
in a mixture of white render and cedar
slats, which are used to provide a
useful shaded canopy area since the
garden room is south facing. The theme
THE golden rule is always to consult
with your local council or an
architect about your plans before
starting work. Permitted
Development rules are detailed,
and issues such as proximity to your
neighbours’ boundary and previous
extension work can come into play.
If an extension is even just a few
millimetres too large, or the
materials you use are not quite
right, you could face legal action
and have to tear it down.
O Rear extensions are allowed
under PD so long as they are no
more than six metres (19ft 8in) deep
on a semi-detached or terrace
home, or eight metres (26ft 2in) on a
detached property.
O Roof height is restricted to four
metres (13ft 1in).
O You can add an extra 40 cubic
metres (1,412.6 cubic ft) of space to
the loft of a terrace house or 50
(1,765.7 cubic ft) to semi-detached
and detached properties.
O You can insert roof lights at the
front of a property, and can also
create dormer windows to the rear,
although building a balcony will still
need planning permission.
O Windows are allowed on a side
wall, but you must use obscure glass
to protect the privacy of neighbours.
Cut and dried:
Andrew Mulroy’s
Muswell Hill
project included
opening up the
loft and adding
a bathroom — an
addition of space
allowed under
PD. Expanding
into lofts can add
15 per cent to the
value of a typical
London home, a
recent study by
Savills reveals
is continued through the garden where
low, white rendered walls enclose the
flower beds. And, at the back of the
house, the garden room is mirrored by
a cedar and render extension measuring 21ft 3in by 13 ft 1in. The extension
houses a modern kitchen while walls
have been removed to give an openplan downstairs living area.
Executing a similar project would
cost about £80,000 to £90,000 for the
garden room and between £375,000
and £450,000 for the whole house
renovation, including the extension.
Vincent says that a typical London
house may not have a garden large
enough to merit an extension exceeding the PD limits, and recommends this
approach for its speed and relative
simplicity. “You are able to start work
before you get your Certificate of
Lawfulness,” he says.
Adding floor space is the universally
accepted route to increasing the value
of a property. A recent study by Savills,
based on a four-bedroom property in
London worth £1.5 million, found that
a loft conversion — another project
which can be done under PD — would
typically add 10 to 15 per cent to its
value. A side return extension would
add five to 10 per cent.
“Adding space definitely adds value,”
says Robin Chatwin, head of Savills’
south-west London division.
“You have got to do it properly,” adds
Chatwin. “Lowering the floor to
give you higher ceilings will make the
whole space feel much bigger and
%#%( (
Homes & Property Homes abroad
ELEBRITIES and the South
of France go together like
summer and a chilled glass
of rosé, but for the supercool, get-away-from-it-all
class, west is best. Just 30 minutes
from St Tropez but a million miles from
its high-wattage razzmatazz — welcome
to the Var.
Trendsetters David and Victoria
Beckham led the way to the region in
2003, buying a grand, 19th-century
house in Bargemon, a small medieval
village hidden among wooded hills.
Oscar-winning actress Helen Mirren
followed. The three-bedroom home
she has owned for 10 years in SaintPaul-en-Forêt is newly on the market
for £464,500 through HomeHunts.
Mirren’s mas — a traditional Provençal
farmhouse — has exposed stone walls
and is surrounded by olive trees and
vines in large grounds. The star of
The Queen and The Audience uses
one side of the farmhouse for living,
while the other side is ripe for
The combination of property prices
back to levels last seen in 2006,
France’s record-low mortgage rates
and the weakness of the euro against
the pound has created the perfect
storm for British buyers, says Meyer.
“After seven years of slowdown,
Follow the stars
to find peace
in Provence
Taste the brand Beckham lifestyle with a
great-value bolt hole in historic, rural Var just
30 minutes from ‘St Trop’. By Cathy Hawker
owners are agreeing to interesting
price reductions,” she adds. “Many
opportunities have appeared, including wonderful authentic stone mas and
bastides [Provençal manor houses] that
previously commanded high prices.
The top end of the market is 20 to 30
per cent lower today.”
Popular medieval hilltop towns and
villages include Fayence and
pretty Seillans, both an easy drive from
the hiking and watersports on undeveloped Saint Cassien lake. HomeHunts
has a three-bedroom townhouse with
shutters and a garden in Fayence for
£291,500 and a two-bedroom, 1,829sq ft
house and garden in Bargemon for
£270,300. An attractive 19th-century
mas with scope to expand in Fayence
with a pool, mature gardens and six
bedrooms has been reduced from
£1.23 million to £726,800.
A four-bedroom renovated mas
near Seillans in 11 acres is £877,860,
while a covetable house in Fayence
recently renovated to the highest
standards by an English family is on
the market at £1.71 million.
O HomeHunts: visit —
020 8144 5501
£464,500: Oscar-winner
Helen Mirren is selling
her traditional stone
farmhouse, far left, set in
beautiful, expansive
grounds and surrounded
by olive trees and vines
in the Var region
of Provence
“People often don’t realise that they
can buy something half an hour from
the coast in an authentic, peaceful village with lots of character and get so
much more for their money,” says
Catherine Meyer of HomeHunts.
“There is plenty of choice at every
price level, with renovation projects
relatively easy to find.”
Meyer, originally from the UK, lives
with her property developer husband
and four children in Saint-Paul-enForêt and says it is the natural beauty
and ease of life that appeal.
“We are in a quiet location 45 minutes
from Nice airport and 35 minutes
from Saint Raphaël, where even
small villages are fairly cosmopolitan,”
adds Meyer. “The mairie [town hall]
has lists of local activities such as cooking, tennis clubs and dancing, and
there’s an international school in
Grasse. For us, it was easy to fit into the
local community.”
Traditional sights and smells of Provence are easy to find — the fountains
in shaded squares, tall, thin cypress
trees, dense lavender fields and colourful local markets. An hour away there’s
skiing at Gréolières, 10 golf courses and
excellent antique markets.
Homes abroad Homes & Property
soccer star David
Beckham and his
fashion designer
wife Victoria
launched the
A-list love affair
with the Var,
buying a
mansion in the
medieval hill
village of
above, in 2003
From £14,250 a week: La Bergerie, a
luxurious, staffed stone house with
six bedrooms and spacious gardens
pool, barbecue dining room and colonnaded, cool escapes for the hottest
summer days.
Pared-back interiors with linen fabrics and furniture collected from Sweden, Belgium and Maison & Objet in
Paris mix with paintings bought in
nearby Saint Paul de Vence and prints
by French graffiti artist, Jef Aérosol.
It all sounds ultra-sophisticated — but
it is also a much-loved family home
where Laura and David enjoy big
summer holidays with their children
and friends.
Completed in 2012, La Bergerie is let,
fully staffed, throughout the year from
£14,250 a week, including food and
drink. Previous guests include groups
of friends, families, and stars escaping
the paparazzi during the Cannes
film festival who use Terre Blanche’s
“Some of our guests bring their own
piano or a private DJ for house parties,”
says Laura. “There are plenty of lovely
villas in the South of France, but very
few that are expertly staffed and take
extra care. We can arrange wine tastings, cookery lessons, art tours — whatever guests want.”
O La Bergerie: bergerieterreblanche.
com — 020 8878 5333
Impeccable: at
La Bergerie,
owners Laura
and David
created a
barbecue dining
room for guests
— welcome
shelter on
summer days
Laura and David Rich-Jones searched
Provence for five years before they
found their perfect place in the Var.
Laura spotted it, then excitedly rang
her husband, who approved. The
London-based couple bought a large
plot at Terre Blanche, a 741-acre golf,
spa and leisure resort in Tourrettes.
The scrolled, cast iron gates of Terre
Blanche swing wide to a peaceful,
exclusive estate of secluded mansions.
Opened in 2004 with two championship golf courses, a David Leadbetter
golfing academy and Europe’s largest
spa, the resort is half as big again as
Monaco, sitting just 30 minutes from
the coast and 45 minutes from Nice
“I knew immediately it was the place
to build our house when I saw the
views,” says Laura. “Unlike the coast,
this area doesn’t change pace too much
from summer to winter and provides
a perfect getaway from the madness by
the sea.”
Through their company, Richstone,
the couple used their 20-year experience of UK property development to
create La Bergerie, a dreamy stone
mansion with six bedrooms and
generous private gardens, in which
there is a glamorous, creamy marble
ALAMY with
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Homes & Property Interiors
Beauty of bricks:
boss Hannah
Coleman of
firm Dreamwall
textured “paint it
yourself” UVPC
brick panels,
left, based on a
computer image
of a Victorian
wall. A five-pack
covers 1.95sq m
and costs £90 at
Find a wide
choice of brick
and slate papers,
about £10 a roll,
at ilovewallpaper.
Metal magic:
Cast Iron White
Lace Wallpaper,
right, by Young &
Battaglia is £70
for a 2.5m x
500mm panel.
Available at
ign trends
By Barbara Chandler
faking it
From marble slabs and wrought iron screens to wood panelling,
brick walls and fancy paintwork — wallpapers can now fake them all
thanks to new designs and printing techniques
Feeling furry:
this retro print is
Iconic Leopard in
linen colourway,
by Schumacher
from Turnell &
Gigon. Wallpaper
is £120.80 for a
4.1m roll, also
available in ink
and graphite.
Matching fabric
is £134.40 per
metre. Visit
Interiors Homes & Property with
Step it up: add a
sense of space
with a “turning
door mural. It
measures 94cm
by 208cm, costs
£14.99, and
comes in three
pieces to stick
with wallpaper
paste on a flat
door. Available
from allposters.
Wood’s good:
Library Panel,
from Cole & Son’s
Historic Royal
collection, is
based on wood
panelling found
in Britain’s
grandest homes.
Priced £85 for a
10-metre roll, it
is teamed here
with a fake
plaster frieze.
Call 020 7376
4628 or visit
Wild thing: for
outrageous faux
skins, Brian
Yates’s Sauvage
wallpaper for
Giardini gleams
in vivid shades.
This mock croc is
£114 a metre,
137cm wide.
uk (01524 35035).
Showroom at
Design Centre
Chelsea Harbour,
Looking bookish:
designer Tracy
Kendall, of
Margate, bases
digitally printed,
realistic book
and magazine
wallpapers on
detailed photos.
left, is £200 for
a 10m roll, or
£25 a metre at
(01843 291896)
Hard-core style:
the fashionable
industrial chic of
faux concrete is a
neutral foil for
bright furniture
and accessories.
Soften the effect
with rich velvets
and wool rugs.
This high-res
mural is about
£50 a square
metre at
FROM £595,000
Computer generated image depicts London Square Putney.
Details and price are correct at time of going to press.
The London Square Sales Suite, 113 Upper Richmond Road, SW15 2TL now open daily
0333 666 2838
Homes & Property Wi-fi with
Don’t despair:
there are steps
you can take if
your broadband
speed isn’t as
fast as you’d like
Some London postcodes get broadband that’s twice
the speed of neighbouring districts. Caramel Quin
finds out how to beef up your digital connection
New Stonebridge Park, Hillside,
Stonebridge NW10
-(%$#, $%(%$##, -0
OOD news if you live in the
WC postal district. Your
broadband could be nearly
twice as fast as your neighbours with EC postcodes,
according to consumer speed tests by
comparison shopping site,
which logged 50,000 Londoners.
Average figures show that WC
postcodes benefit from by far the
fastest broadband speeds, while E and
EC postcodes have the slowest.
Looking at the data on a street-bystreet basis suggests there’s more of a
north-west bias. Fenstanton Avenue in
N12 has the fastest average broadband
speed in London, closely followed by
Westbourne Park Road in W11, Curry
Rise in NW7 and Sydney Road in N10.
Broadband speeds are increasingly
important as many Londoners use the
internet not just to stream movies and
play games, but to work. Downloading
a movie could take 16 minutes in
Fenstanton Avenue and a shocking
7.3 hours in Cowley Road in SW9 — London’s slowest street for broadband.
But don’t move house just to get faster
broadband. Here are some fixes.
Broadband Speed Tracker
Most internet service providers offer
an online speed test, or you can use to
compare yours.
Ideally test twice — once wirelessly
using wi-fi and once by plugging your
laptop into the broadband socket with
an Ethernet cable. If the second speed
is faster, then you can improve your
speeds by upgrading your home wi-fi.
Yo u c a n o f t e n i m p r o v e w i - f i
speeds by updating the firmware in
your wi-fi router — download the
latest version for free from the
manufacturer’s website.
-)($%(&)$$&)(1$$ )+%)($-$*-(+)$*)))!$
%,)$()!$+%$,&$%($)%'$$ /$$&$&'--
-%0$($)$)1$$ #$)%$$%%$
Several broadband providers use BT’s
Openreach network, so you can expect
similar maximum speeds from Sky, at, EE, at, and others. According to Sky,
this network means they cover 94 per
cent of London.
Virgin Media uses its own high-speed
fibre optic cable network to deliver
speeds of “up to 152 Mbps”, with
coverage for more than half of London
homes. Prices start at £41 a month, or
slightly more including a phone line.
It is rolling out its service to an extra
100,000 homes in east London. Visit
If you would like faster broadband,
shop around for the best speeds and
prices available in your street. Each of
the big providers has a postcode
checker — it’s worth trying BT, Virgin
Media, EE, Sky, Plusnet and TalkTalk.
BT’s top-of-the-range Infinity 2 fibre
optic broadband offers downloads of
up to 76 megabits per second, or Mbps,
and costs £25 a month, plus £16.99 a
month phone line rental. Visit
Get up to speed:
the Asus
RT-AC68U offers
twice as fast as
an “n” router —
the letter
denotes wi-fi
speed — and 20
times as fast as
a “g” router
Fenstanton Avenue N12
Westbourne Park Road W11
Curry Rise NW7
Sydney Road N10
Arnos Grove N14
Hyde Park Gate SW7
Spencer Drive N2
Deynecourt Gardens E11
Wheat Sheaf Close E14
Woodford Road E18
A router connects devices such as
computers, tablets and phones to your
home internet connection.
New routers start at £30, but it’s worth
spending more for higher speeds.
Letters “b”, “g”, “n” and “ac” denote
the wi-fi speed, with “n” being pretty
quick and “ac” being the fastest.
For example, the Asus RT-AC68U
router — from around £170 at
— is an “ac” router offering speeds
twice as fast as an “n” router and 20
times as fast as a “g” router. The device
you connect needs to be capable of highspeed wi-fi, too. If your computer is only
“b”, using it with a faster router won’t
make it quicker. Check with the retailer
that you are getting the right model, as
some only work with cable broadband
and others only work with broadband
delivered via your phone line.
Cowley Road SW9
Westhill Park N6
Roundwood Road NW10
Boston Road W7
Russell Place SE16
Chatsworth Road NW2
Strathaven Road SE12
Union Grove SW8
Boardwalk Place E14
Roseberry Gardens N4
Source: Broadband Speed Tracker
Homes & Property Interiors
By Barbara Chandler
Pretty spring
pastels are a
perennial favourite
around the home.
But this season,
a geometric twist
gives soft shades
the cutting edge
New lease of life:
this vintage chair
reupholstered by
Amy Cawson of
Florrie + Bill is in
Northmore fabric
by Rachel Parker
of Flock Design
Collective, Stoke
Newington, which
promotes new
textile talent.
The chair costs
£595, from
com. Visit
(07756 59409)
Shape up: these printed hexagonal
paper plates are perfect for parties
and come in packs of 12 for £3.99 from (01953 797200)
Hot trend: the Acid Pastel collection
is new for spring from radiator firm
Bisque. It has a wide range of designs,
such as the Classic in Lemon, from
£359; Archibald in Rose, from £665;
Blok in Steel Blue, from £459; and the
Arteplano in Light Green, from £582.
Visit (020 7328 2225)
Dream team: design duo Mirka
Grohn, left, and Jo Wilton of fledgling
brand &New do geometrics with
aplomb, fashioning furniture from
slender steel tubing — adding coats
of colour — and woods from pale
ply to rich walnut. Everything is
made at their base in Leicester.
Visit (07446 690001)
Marvellous metal: the ‘A’ Clothes Rail
is one of &New’s signature steel
products. It is powder-coated in
yellow and measures W60cm x D45cm
x H175cm. It’s £395 at
Interiors Homes & Property
Mix and match:
smart Tropic
wallpaper has
a fashionable
medley of pastel
designs — paste
it up for an
instant spring
update. Created
by London
designer Kirath
Ghundoo, it
costs £95 a
roll, W52cm x
L10m, from
com (07816
336 387)
It’s party
time: king of
retro Wayne
Hemingway has
added a Fifties
twist to this tier
of Carnival cake
tins, which cost
£20 for three at
uniqueandunity. (0845
605 9699)
Square the circle: this graphic woven
cushion, 50cm square with an
orange circle design, is made from
wool and cotton. It costs £65
from independent design shop
Folklore in Upper Street N1. Visit (020 7354 9333)
Home in on Spain: Casas is a pattern
inspired by traditional Spanish houses.
This cushion, at W55cm x H33cm,
has a digitally printed front on a
linen and cotton mix. It costs £45
(020 7635 6371)
Sitting pretty: Kirkby Design’s Atom collection features bold
prints on brushed cotton that’s great for upholstery. It costs
£29.50 a metre in a range of patterns and colours. Visit (01623 756 699). Also at Romo showroom,
North Dome, Design Centre Chelsea Harbour, SW10
Wonder wall: a new collection from
Brighton wallpaper designer Louise
Body is full of geometrics, such as
the Peggy Tile/Coral wallpaper, above.
Papers cost £75 a roll and measure
W52cm x L10m. Co-ordinating
fabrics are on a hard-wearing mix of
linen and cotton at £55 a metre. Visit (07889 465552)
Homes & Property My home
What a great
buy: Rupert
Wheeler, with
Maltese terriers
Pasha and
Tinkerbell, in
the 18th-century
house he and
wife Pat lovingly
repaired and
Fate can
smile on
the brave
It was a factory left to rot in Spitalfields. Now the
400-year-old building is a fabulous Georgian
house much loved by the couple who faithfully
restored it, discovers Philippa Stockley
HETHER we should
reuse period houses
rather than demolish
them and build new
ones is a hot topic,
but for architect Rupert Wheeler, the
answer is obvious — “Where there is life,
there is hope.”
When Wheeler, 58, and his wife, Pat,
55, a commercial property lawyer,
bought their 1720s, five-storey house in
east London in 1997, it was so decrepit
that the roof had fallen in at the front and
water had damaged the entire front wall,
rotting the upper windows.
Inside, all the partition wall panels had
been ripped out by 19th-century furriers
intent on turning a home into a factory.
The ground-floor back wall had been
knocked out, too, and the walled garden
roofed over with mossy glazing, creating
a vast, shed-like workshop.
There were two smelly lavatories at the
back, butting up against ancient threestorey stables, once the home of horses
that pulled London omnibuses. The
building had no running water — unless
you count the stuff pouring in through
the roof — and no gas. “And there were
miles of alarm wire, pinned everywhere,
which was awful to remove,” says
Wheeler. The basement had been turned
into a low, dank bomb shelter for the
entire street, with corrugated steel for a
ceiling. Down there, the Wheelers found
colonies of dead rats because, after the
furriers moved out and another factory
failed, the property was left rotting for
more than a decade.
Architects, however, are immune to
such trivial problems. “With care, this
house could last indefinitely,” says
Wheeler. “There’s no real reason why
not. It has already stood for almost 400
years. Bricks last forever.”
The couple, who met 30 years ago in
the snow on Clapham Common when
both were lost and looking for a party —
“thankfully the same party” — had been
living in an old captain’s house in Deptford, which they bought at auction and
restored. But Wheeler, who set up his
practice in 1986, wanted to be closer to
the centre of town. He and Pat had been
gazumped a few times when he was doing
a job in Spitalfields and contacted Jeremy
A touch of New
England: visible
rafters, period
furniture, original
boards and a
pastel palette
combine in a
charming master
bedroom, which
once was a
wrecked space
beneath a
gabled roof
Tarn, an independent estate agent
famous for being picky over who he sells
old houses to. “I said, ‘Please just go and
find us something’. And he did. He knew
we would take it on.”
But not everyone would tackle such a
project, which also included getting
permission to revert it to a family home.
It was Grade II-listed, and when the planners came round and heard that the
Wheelers wanted to replace the missing
back wall with a big picture window
instead of the bricks and two windows
that were probably there originally,
“there was some harrumphing”.
Nevertheless, a deal was struck — as
long as the walled garden was restored,
they could do it. The result, a year-round
view of the garden, is a joy.
A year or so after they bought the
house, Wheeler was designing a shop
for fashion designer Ermenegildo Zegna
in New Bond Street, who was throwing
out all the original 18th-century panelling. “Which he could do because, surprisingly, the property wasn’t listed,”
says Wheeler. “He said, ‘Just take it’.
It fitted perfectly.” So the Wheelers’
panelled internal walls were reinstated,
with fire lining to meet regulations.
Over the next few years the couple
fixed and restored the property, having
new windows made where necessary
and repairing the rest. They kept the old
front door, but a fine surround was made
for it, and they rebuilt the collapsed
gabled roof, but left the rafters visible,
so that the master bedroom, at the top,
bathed in morning sunlight, feels like a
New England hideaway.
HE RESTORATION was sparing. As Wheeler says: “If it
ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” They
left most of the old horsehair
plaster, with its patina of different colours and layers, just patching
it where necessary.
A lot of the floorboards were sound, as
were almost all the old shutters. On the
walls in the hall, they found original 18thcentury sheets of orange-lacquered
paper, intended to resemble embossed
leather, which they kept.
“The good thing about a sweatshop is
that while they do rip some things out,
My home Homes & Property with
Wow factor: the kitchen design inspired by Wheeler’s work on Livebait restaurants
Outside room: a big picture window gives a full view of the restored walled garden
they’re too mean to change much,
so lots of original stuff stays,” explains
Wheeler. However, some things were
done for modern convenience, such as
putting in two small shower rooms. The
couple also turned what was once a
kitchen on the third floor into a lovely
master bathroom, although it still has its
Regency hob grate in the fireplace.
On the ground floor they made a
kitchen island, using some of Wheeler’s
ideas from when he designed the interiors for Livebait fish restaurants — especially its splashbacks of reeded glass,
silvered behind. The couple’s 13-year-old
daughter, Coco, has a normal teenager’s
room at the top, and the Maltese terriers,
Pasha and Tinkerbell, have a modernlooking dog blanket.
Otherwise, this house has been left as
much to its own devices as possible,
gently furnished by Pat with finds from
antiques shops and fairs, some of which
are mid-century modern, but most of
which are older.
And, spared from falling down for
another few hundred years, the house
seems happy with the arrangement.
Rupert Wheeler has two key
tips for conserving historic
O Don’t do things just for
the sake of tidiness and
O Apply the philosophy of
essentialism — if it isn’t
essential, don’t do it.
House in 1997: £205,000
Money spent (1997-2000):
Value now: £3.5 million
Charles Hosea
Architecture and interior
design by Rupert Wheeler at
Leadwork and roofing by
Richard Page at
Windows by North Kent
Joinery at
Mouth-blown glass from
T&W Ide on 020 7790 2333
Decorative artist John
Brinklow at
Wooden floors repaired and
replaced by specialist Vinda
Saax on 07986 292867
O Electrician: Alan
Andrews at
O Kitchen and front door
case by Peter Davies at
The Dovetail Joint,
O Planting by Paul
Gazerwitz at del Buono
Gazerwitz —
O Paints by Farrow & Ball —
Lime White, French Grey
and Pigeon — from
O Furniture from
Decorative Antiques &
Textiles Fair at Battersea
Park —;
Alfies Antiques Market — — and
other markets.
Original feature: the master bathroom, once a kitchen, still has its Regency hob grate
Homes & Property Outdoors with
Sweet treats:
right, a simple
enamel bucket is
all you need to
display a fine
harvest of
berries that can
be easily picked
Cool colanders:
left, hanging
baskets of all
kinds make ideal
containers as
they keep the
fruits free of
slugs and snails
Cream of the crop
Grow your own gorgeous strawberries
and give the supermarket a miss
) " #
$& "&$!&$(% &-%+
,&%, *& $'$ #%+
Productive pots:
even several
small containers
can produce a
bounty of berries
that taste
better than
UPERMARKET strawberries
are picked when only semiripe, so their sugar content is
far lower than when you grow
your own. With little effort on
your part, these will have a flavour and
perfume that you will never find in a
shop-bought punnet.
Traditionally, strawberries are grown
in the ground, with straw placed
beneath the fruits to stop them rotting
on wet soil, and to help keep slugs and
snails from decimating them. So what
simpler way to grow strawberries than
in containers, free from soil splashes
and marauding pests?
Your very own strawberry patch
might be a wooden wine crate, a series
of terracotta pots on a ledge, a sunny
windowbox — the sunnier the spot, the
sweeter the berries — or a hanging basket, where the fruits can dangle over
the edge looking picture-pretty, yet in
arm’s reach for easy picking.
A terracotta strawberry pot, with a
central reservoir for even watering and
planting pockets at intervals around
the exterior, is practical as well as
decorative. If you can just provide a
sunny wall on a balcony, you can pin
up a two-foot high, wall-mounted
planter with vertical planting pouches
and built-in watering system, then sit
back and enjoy a veritable cascade of
fruits come summer.
Aside from looking gorgeous, providing scalloped leaves and white or pink
daisy-like flowers before the fruits
appear, strawberries, of course, are all
about the flavour. Unlike commercial
varieties, garden strawberries are
not bred for their long shelf life and
thicker skin, so you can have your pick
of the crop.
Gariguette is the conical Provençal
strawberry that is the chef ’s favourite
and, claims enthusiast Raymond Blanc,
has unparalleled perfume and complexity of flavour as well as a perfect
balance of sweetness and acidity. It
fruits for just a few glorious weeks in
But for a fruiting period that extends
to mid-autumn, plant my favourite,
Mara des Bois. It brilliantly combines
the unique perfume and taste of the
tiny woodland strawberries with the
size and succulence of modern varieties. If you fancy spreading your own
strawberry jam on croissants come
summer, June-bearing Honeoye will
obligingly give you a large crop in a
short time, and has a rich, fruity
flavour that lends itself perfectly
to preserves.
For something very different, choose
Snow White, a vanilla-coloured strawberry studded with scarlet seeds that
fruits from early summer intermittently until mid-autumn.
Don’t be fooled by Snow White’s pale
countenance — in seed company
Suttons’ strawberry trials, this berry
came out sweetest of all, delivering an
intensely aromatic flavour redolent of
You can buy or order plants right
now, planting them six inches apart in
a windowbox, and three to a 12-inch
hanging basket, mixing a handful of
water-retaining gel into the compost.
When the flowers start to appear, feed
weekly with liquid tomato fertiliser.
In mid-summer, the plants produce
runners — long stems with a baby plant
at the end of each. You can cut them
off to concentrate the flavour of the
growing fruits or, alternatively, peg
down the baby plant in a pot of compost, leaving the runner intact. When
the plant has rooted after a couple
of weeks, snip it off, and you have a
new plant ready to grow for the following year.
Pick the strawberries when they are
fully ripe for the best flavour. Blanc
recommends that, if you refrigerate
strawberries, take them out of the
fridge at least an hour beforehand, or
the flavour will be dulled.
I have a better idea. Pick them
while they’re still warmed by the sun,
and pop them into your mouth,
straight away, for the finest treat of the
summer garden.
O Suttons, wall
tower as well as all varieties
mentioned above.
O Thompson & Morgan, strawberry pouches,
Stackapot system and many varieties,
including a full-season strawberry
collection from June to November.
O Lubera, many new
cultivars, including long-fruiting
Parfum Fraisonette for balconies and
climbing strawberry Elan.
O For outdoor events this month, visit
O Gardening queries? Email our RHS
expert at [email protected]
Homes & Property Ask the expert with
Can I turn my mortgaged house into flats?
IF YOU have a
question for
Fiona McNulty,
please email
[email protected]
or write to Legal
Solutions, Homes
& Property,
London Evening
Standard, 2 Derry
Street, W8 5EE.
We regret that
questions cannot
be answered
individually, but
we will try to
feature them
here. Fiona
McNulty is legal
director in the
real estate
team of Foot
Anstey LLP
I AM thinking of turning
my six-bedroom house
into three separate twobedroom flats, but the
property is still mortgaged. Can I
do this even though I have not paid
off the mortgage? What are my
options, as I would need to borrow
further money to do the work?
NOT many mainstream
lenders would be keen to
deal with a situation like this
because they would be
worried that you may default,
leaving them with a half-finished
property that would likely be difficult
to sell.
You should talk to your existing
lender about your plans to see if they
would be willing to continue lending
— some banks will consider funding a
renovation project on a commercial
basis. They may lend on the current
value of your property, but keep
some money back until the work is
done and the property is revalued.
If your existing lender is not
interested in lending to you, then
you could consider a development or
refurbishment loan, which would
enable you to bridge the works and
repay your existing lender.
This is likely to be more expensive,
but will allow you to do the works
you propose and then, once the
project is finished, you could
remortgage or refinance on
standard terms.
Consult a specialist mortgage
broker who deals with conversions
and new builds, as there are some
good specialist products around.
More legal
Visit: homesand
I AM a leaseholder in a block of four flats. The
general maintenance is carried out by a
management company, which does very little.
Now it wants £16,000 from each of us up front
for major external works. We paid up front for major
work 10 years ago to a previous company, but the
standard of work was shocking. The block does need
doing up as we have serious damp problems, but we
already pay £1,400 a year in maintenance. Are we
obliged to pay these big lump sums, or can we refuse
on the grounds that none of us can afford to pay?
THE services your landlord must provide and
how service charges are payable should be
contained in your lease. Most leases provide for
service charges to be paid on certain dates
throughout the year. Works costing this much should be
the subject of a Section 20 procedure, which gives tenants
the right to make observations and nominate a contractor
from whom the landlord should obtain an estimate.
If your management company should have consulted
tenants but failed to do so, it will only be able to recover
£250 from each tenant.
Service charges must be reasonable. If charges are
higher than they should be because of previous poor
management, you may be able to apply to the First-tier
Tribunal (Property Chamber) challenging these proposed
charges. The First-tier Tribunal can take into account
affordability when considering if the proposed charges
are reasonable, but just not being able to afford them is
not a ground, in itself, for refusing to pay.
O These answers can only be a very brief commentary on
the issues raised and should not be relied on as legal advice.
No liability is accepted for such reliance. If you have similar
issues, you should obtain advice from a solicitor.
Ask free on 0800 302 9396 or view our property investment guide at
Homes & Property Property searching
A TWO double-bedroom flat in
Brook Drive SE11, just in front of
the Imperial War Museums and
close to shops and restaurants,
with very good transport links.
Through Barnard Marcus.
Reasons to stop
on the road
to somewhere
Empty nesters love being close to the West
End, and now there’s an added attraction in
Kennington, as Anthea Masey discovers
A WELL-PRESENTED four-bedroom
house in Hayles Street SE11 on a
quiet residential road. It comes
with high-spec fixtures and a rear
garden with a pleasant terrace.
Through Foxtons.
duplex flat with a 35ft reception
room in Dolland Street SE11, a quiet
cul-de-sac between Vauxhall and
Kennington. Through Dexters.
OME of London’s most famous
buildings can be found in
Kennington, and they will
soon be joined by a stunning
new gallery by renowned
British artist Damien Hirst.
The south London neighbourhood
lies only one-and-a-quarter miles from
Charing Cross station and straddles the
capital’s Congestion Charge zone.
Tall, red brick walls of the grand
Lambeth Palace, home to the Archbishop of Canterbury, snake around
the edge of the River Thames at
Lambeth Bridge. There’s the famous
Kia Oval cricket ground with its landmark gasometers, and the imposing
Imperial War Museum, which greets
visitors with its two scary cannons. In
nearby Montford Place you can sample
a tot of gin at the Beefeater distillery.
Soon to be added to this list is Hirst’s
new gallery, a giant space converted
from Victorian warehouses that are
bookended by new buildings. With its
dramatic zigzag roof line, the gallery
takes up an entire block on Newport
Street. Designed by architects Caruso
St John, who were responsible for the
recent revamp at Tate Britain, the
gallery will display Hirst’s own collection of more than 2,000 artworks, from
artists as diverse as Francis Bacon, Jeff
Koons, Banksy and Pablo Picasso. There
will also be a restaurant and a shop.
This new addition is a big marker to
the rebirth of Kennington, which has
for too long been regarded as a road to
somewhere. That is an unfair reflection, says Nigel Field from Winkworth
estate agents. There is a lively community who live in the hidden garden
squares and hold an annual fête in
pretty Cleaver Square, and an annual
flower show in the church hall. With
local spirit, Winkworth supports the
charity Change Up that helps former
offenders get back into work.
Kennington has Georgian houses along
the main roads and in Cleaver Square.
There are early Victorian houses in
St Mary’s Gardens and Walcot Square,
converted industrial spaces around
Stannary Street and solid houses and
flats built by the Duchy of Cornwall in
the Twenties and Thirties, with more
modern houses and estates of social
housing. Field says the large Georgian
houses in Kennington Road sell for
between £1.6 million and £2 million,
while the even larger houses in West
Square sell for at least £2 million.
The three storey houses in St Mary’s
Gardens and Walcot Square sell for
about £1.1 million. The Duchy of Cornwall built a large number of houses and
flats in Kennington in the first half of
the 20th century. Courtenay Square is
pretty and made up of tiny terrace
houses that now sell for about
£850,000, while a two-bedroom flat
on Chester Way is about £600,000. The
price per square foot is between £750
and £800 for flats and between £800
and £1,000 for houses.
Just the tonic: Desmond Payne,
Master Distiller at the Beefeater gin
distillery in Montford Place
The area attracts: Kennington has an
eclectic mix of residents. It used to be
popular with MPs, civil servants and
lawyers, but according to Field it now
attracts a wider range of people,
including many young families.
Staying power: Families buy here but
tend to move further out once their
children reach school age. However,
there is now a trend towards empty
nesters, where couples return to the
area once their children have left home
so they can be close to the West End.
Best roads: Kennington’s hidden
garden squares are the most desirable
— Cleaver Square, West Square, St
Mary’s Gardens and Walcot Square.
We’re the No 1 choice for both
cottage owners and holidaymakers
Join Britain’s favourite holiday letting agency and benefit from:
• A personal and friendly service with a dedicated Regional
Manager based in your area
• £Multi-million marketing campaigns
• All properties graded to tourist board standards FREE of charge
• FREE photography and professional copywriting
Wheels on fire: Tom Clarke, manager of Balfe’s Bikes
Call our Property Recruitment team on 0345 268 8517
Email [email protected]
or visit
What a treat: young customers sample some of the goodies at Sally White
To find a home in Kennington, visit
For more about Kennington, visit
Property searching Homes & Property with
(Average prices)
One-bedroom flat £474,000
Two-bedroom flat £662,000
Two-bedroom house £815,000
Three-bedroom house £1.25 million.
Source: Zoopla
(Average rates)
One-bedroom flat £1,546 a month
Two-bedroom flat £1,945 a month
Two-bedroom house £1,989 a month
Three-bedroom house £2,817 a month
Source: Zoopla
Time out: a variety of shops, fast-food chains and restaurants tempt shoppers in Kennington Road, with Tesco nearby
Kennington has a large branch of Tesco
on Kennington Lane. There are shops
and restaurants around the triangle
formed by Kennington Road and Kennington Lane, where Sally White is a
favourite café and delicatessen, and
there is a branch of Pizza Express.
Two curry houses, Kennington Tandoori and Gandhi’s, compete for which
restaurant has entertained most politicians with displays of photographs of
government ministers and prominent
MPs. Courthouse Garden Café in
Renfrew Road i s att ached to a
Buddhist centre and there is a café at
Beaconsfield art gallery in Newport
Street, close to Hirst’s new gallery. The
Lobster Pot is a long-standing French
seafood restaurant on Kennington
Lane. Tucked away in Black Prince
Road is Zeitgeist at the Jolly Gardeners,
a pub specialising in German food and
beer and, on Kennington Park Road,
the Brown Derby is a welcome new
addition to the local pub scene. There
is a popular farmers’ market outside
St Mark’s church every Saturday from
10am to 3pm. C.P. Hart, off Hercules
Road, has one of London’s largest
displays of designer kitchens and
Open space: Kennington Park has a
history of dissent. It was where the
Chartists gathered in 1848 and, more
recently, in 1990 one of the marches of
the demonstration against the Poll Tax
set out from here. The park has a children’s playground, ball courts, a café,
nature trail, beehives and a flower garden currently being repaved and
replanted at a cost of £500,000.
Leisure and the arts: White Bear in
Kennington Park Road has a fringe
theatre upstairs. There are two modern
art galleries — the Beaconsfield, in a
former Victorian ragged school in
Newport Street, and Gasworks, in Oval
Way. The Cinema Museum in Dugard
Way is a quirky celebration of all things
cinematic. The nearest council-owned
s w i m m i n g p o o l i s t h e B r i xt o n
Recreation Centre.
Travel: Kennington and Oval stations
are on the Northern line, Lambeth
Nor th i s on the Bakerloo line.
Kennington and Oval are in Zone 2 and
Lambeth North is in Zone 1. An annual
travel card for Zones 1 and 2 is £1,284.
Council: Most of Kennington is in
Lambeth, although the roads east of
Ke n n i n g t o n P a r k Ro a d a r e i n
Southwark. Both districts are Labour
controlled. Band D council tax in
Lambeth is £1,238.70 and in Southwark
it is £1,207.14.
O The best schools in and around
O The best streets — which are not
always the most expensive
O The latest housing developments
O A breakdown of the rental scene
in Kennington
O How this area compares with the
rest of the UK on house prices
O Smart maps to plot your
property search
Photographs Daniel Lynch
@jbjenniball Kennington Tandoori —
it has a signed endorsement from
Eric Pickles in the window. There’s
no greater accolade...
@KenningtonPOB #Kennington has
roads that are welcoming for child
cyclists so they all ride independently
to school, friends’ houses, etc.
@kenningtonkitty Lovely flowers
from @TPcharity flower stall outside
St Anselm’s church #Kennington
the meeting point and interiors shop
@TheBouleIn is the exciting new arrival.
@zebedee371 @HomesProperty the
café in the park is fab and Cleaver
Square with the Prince of Wales in the
corner is great in the sunshine.
@geeta_nanda Cable Bar & Café by
The Oval on Brixton Road. Great coffee.
Eclectic music.
@KenningtonRUN @CinemaMuseum
is the most unique, @WHITECAFEsally
NEXT WEEK: Maidenhead. Do
you live there? Tell us what
you think @HomesProperty
Who kissed for the first and last time
in this pub? Find the answer at
Homes & Property Inside story with
Upstaged by a man in bright white trainers
Diary of
an estate
Strange as it may seem, I always look
forward to Mondays and start the day
with a three-mile run to get the energy
levels up before heading to our head
office in Mayfair for 8am.
I’ve got a unique role at Strutt &
Parker, which provides a link between
two of our busiest departments in
London — lettings and London residential development and investment.
My position involves liaising with all
of the purchasers who have bought
apartments in the portfolio of new
developments we are marketing
across prime central London land.
I speak to about 40 landlords
throughout the morning from across
the UK and overseas. Some of our buyers are based, or work, overseas in
Hong Kong or Singapore, so the morning is the best time to reach them.
Conversations are often highly entertaining as my Mandarin isn’t great and
their English is sometimes not much
completion. We need to be in regular
contact with companies who may wish
to rent them for their top staff, and
any prospective tenants looking for
Part of my job is to offer advice to
investors on rental properties. Many
are looking to invest in London chiefly
for capital growth, but if you buy in
the right spot, it is possible to achieve
a good four per cent rental yield on
top of this. Our clients did this at
Ladbroke Grove in W10 and The
Landau, Fulham.
I head to Victoria today, which has seen
huge redevelopment and investment
in recent years. We have been working
on a number of projects in the area
which are completing over the next
year — including Great Minster House
and Kings Gate. I’m there to take
photographs, which I can send to our
investors. Many of our clients have
purchased off-plan and some may not
have even seen the development for
some time.
I’m in back-to-back meetings with
various furniture suppliers to discuss
packages they can offer our landlords.
Many buy-to-let investors like the
convenience of buying a ready-made
furniture pack, including a sofa, beds,
table, chairs and even kitchen utensils,
to fully furnish for tenants. One of my
clients recently spent £36,000 on a
luxurious pack for a two-bedroom
apartment, with furniture from
The interior design crowd tend to be
a bit more adventurous with their dress
sense than us “blue-suit brigade” estate
agents — one chap turned up wearing
a suit with bright white trainers. He
looked as though he had come off the
set of an MTV music video.
It’s an exciting afternoon ahead as I’m
meeting a potential client for a late
lunch at Fino’s on Mount Street to discuss his portfolio of 20 properties in
Knightsbridge. He wants to discuss
Strutt & Parker taking over the letting
and management of his units. My
details were passed on by a colleague
of his that used our services to rent out
a family home in Holland Park. Nice to
get a recommendation.
Just had a near-death ride on the
scooter through rush-hour traffic to
meet our west Chelsea lettings manager, to discuss some of the new
projects under way in the SW10 area
and check everything is in place for
when these apartments come up for
O Henry Kruczko is an associate in
London residential development
and investment at Strutt & Parker
(020 7938 3866)
If you’re buying, selling or letting for profit – at home or abroad – here’s your one stop shop
for education, advice, finance and a huge choice of UK and overseas property investments.
For beginners and
seasoned pros…
it’s all under one roof
120+ exhibitors
70+ free seminars
& debates
Homes & Property New homes with
By David Spittles
Ring the changes with a
move to Westminster
YET another new housing scheme is
sprouting in the “division bell” zone
around Parliament. Westminster
Quarter, tucked away on Great Peter
Street, has 91 flats grouped around a
landscaped courtyard.
Crisp architecture features floor-toceiling windows and incorporates
communal roof gardens. Some of the
flats have a view of Big Ben, plus
there is underground parking, a gym
and concierge services. Prices start at
£935,000. Call JLL on 020 3053 0743.
Nearby Great Minster House, on
the corner of Horseferry Road
and Marsham Street, is an office
conversion rather than a new-build
block, mimicking the area’s older
mansion flats, with parquet floors
and high ceilings. There is porterage,
too. Prices from £885,000. Call
Barratt on 0844 811 4321.
Boutique conversion: the luxurious reception room inside
a penthouse flat at St Mary at Hill in the heart of the City
Big bonus of City living
HE CITY of London, the
so-called Square Mile that
surrounds the Bank of
England, is different to
the rest of the capital.
While residents in other boroughs
agonise over the performance
of local schools or the impact of
new train lines, in the City other
things matter.
Bonuses are always a talking point,
and in a confined district where
there are relatively few property
transactions, fat pay cheques can
keep the property market alive,
even when the general economy is
lacklustre. And with longer working
hours and more high-pressure
jobs, it seems more City employees
than ever want to live within
close walking distance of the
office rather than commute to
and from the suburbs — at least
during the week.
A tight supply means City homes
make sound investments, especially
those in the core banking zone
around Threadneedle Street.
Due to land and planning
constraints, most new homes are
niche projects, usually conversions,
and they do not come much more
niche than a boutique scheme at
St Mary at Hill in the Eastcheap
Conservation Area.
The lane, pictured right, named
after the nearby church designed
by Sir Christopher Wren, is one of
the oldest in the City.
Here a handsome Victorian
building, formerly offices for a
maritime insurance company, is
being split into 10 one- and twobedroom apartments priced from
£850,000 with up to a spacious
1,440sq ft with luxury master
bedroom suites and outside space.
Call Galliard on 020 3770 6274.
New homes Homes & Property with
Kennington offers
Georgian appeal
Read more: visit
our new online
luxury section
THIS week Transport for London
starts work on a new traffic system at
Elephant & Castle.
The reconfiguration will make the
busy roundabout more pedestrian
and cycle-friendly, and create
green space in the middle. It’s all
part of the master plan for this
fast-changing area.
Coinciding with this is the launch of
593-home West Grove, pictured, the
latest phase of Elephant Park, a new
neighbourhood being built on the site
of bulldozed Heygate Estate.
It includes the biggest park to be
created in London for 70 years. A
mix of towers, mid-rise and low-rise
KENNINGTON is a place where
iconic landmarks such as the London
Eye and The Shard break the skyline,
reminding locals that they live in the
very heart of London. Yet remarkably
the area is still gentrifying.
St Agnes Place, pictured, is a
luxurious new addition to the area’s
network of Georgian terraces. The
43-home development sits opposite
Kennington Park and comprises flats
and townhouses built in period style.
Four-storey houses are priced from
£1.3 million. Flats, some shared
ownership, will be launched later this
year. Call L&Q on 0844 406 9000.
blocks will be separated by landscaped
courtyards, orchards and woodland,
plus allotments for residents. Prices
start at £415,000. Call Lend Lease on
020 3675 9955.
Southwark council has also reached
agreement with the owner of the
famous pink-coloured shopping centre
for its complete redevelopment,
which is a crucial step forward for
this Zone 1 district.
! #!!
!!" )&#
Homes & Property Letting on
Scratching my
head over
carpet bugs
Victoria Whitlock is puzzled when a
tenant reports some new arrivals running
amok. But who picks up the bill?
about £200. Alternatively, I said she
could call a private fumigation firm,
such as Rentokil, for advice.
There was an awkward silence for
several seconds before I realised that
of course, she hadn’t called me for
advice, she had called because she
was expecting me to arrange the
fumigation and to pick up the bill.
Blooming typical. Tenants always
expect the landlord to sort out any
problems, regardless of whether they
are at fault.
I admit that insect infestations
are a grey area when it comes to
who is responsible — often it isn’t
100 per cent obvious who should
deal with them. However, in this
case, it seemed pretty clear to me
that it was the tenant’s responsibility,
not mine.
From what I can work out from my
online research, looking at sites such
as Citizens Advice, if a property is let
furnished, like mine, the landlord is
responsible for making sure it is free
of any pests when the tenant moves
in, but when an infestation arises
ARPET beetles — I have
been feeling horribly itchy
since getting a phone call
from one of my tenants
complaining that the flat
she rents from me is crawling with
the creatures.
In the past I have had to deal with
infestations of mice, moths and — by
far the worst — bed bugs in rental
properties, but I’d never even heard
of carpet beetles until her call.
I Googled them while she was on
the phone to find out what they were
and how to get rid of them and it
seems that it’s not unusual to find
these tiny, hairy insects in centrally
heated homes, where they like to
breed. They are most usually found
under carpets — hence the name —
around skirting boards and in
They’re not a health hazard exactly,
although exposure to a large number
of carpet beetles can apparently
irritate the skin. But their larvae eat
holes in carpets, upholstery and
clothes, so obviously they need to be
I suggested my tenant bought a can
of Super Flea & Fly Bomb, which I
found online for £8.99, as it promises
to annihilate carpet beetles, but she
claimed to have already tried a DIY
spray and said it hadn’t worked.
In that case, I said, she and the
other three tenants ought to arrange
for a professional fumigation of the
property. I recommended she
contact the local council’s pest
control department, which charges with
£395 per week: at Palm House, Sancroft Street, Kennington, London Residences
has a smart one-bedroom flat available to rent (
during the tenancy, it is the tenant’s
responsibility to deal with it.
The only exception would be if the
infestation was caused by disrepair.
For example, if mice had got into the
property through holes in the wall,
then it would be the landlord’s
As my tenants moved in last
summer, I don’t think it’s harsh of me
to insist that the recent arrival of
carpet beetles is something they
ought to deal with. However, I don’t
want my carpet eaten away so I have
offered to split the bill. To avoid such
confusion in future, I intend to insert
a clause into my tenancy agreements
making it clear that an infestation
arising during the lease is the
tenants’ problem, unless there is a
fault with the property, in which
case, it’s mine.
I’ve probably made you itchy now.
O Victoria Whitlock lets three
properties in south London.
To contact Victoria with your ideas
and views, tweet @vicwhitlock
Find many more homes to rent at
East Cadets’ Quarters
East Lecture House
Sergeant Majors’ Quarters
Last remaining 3 bedroom/2 bathroom
(en suite to master) first floor apartment
extending to 1200 sq.ft. Private parking
space included.
East Lecture House comprises ten
new build and refurbished houses
and apartments, centred around
a communal courtyard.
A selection of eight 1, 2 & 3 bedroom
apartments and houses, expertly
designed and refurbished within
the existing listed buildings.
2 and 3 bedroom apartments available from £360,000 - £495,000
2 bedroom houses available from £425,000
Marketing Suite and Showhomes open Thursday - Monday 10.00am - 5.00pm (Sunday 4.00pm) or call: 020 3689 7812
Computer generated image is indicative of East Cadets’ Quarters, East Lecture House and Sergent Majors’ Quarters. Prices correct at time of publication.