Homes& Property Wednesday 8 April 2015 Geometrics New spring trend Page 20 COMMUTING: TOP TOWNS P6 BROADBAND: HOW FAST IS YOURS? P18 GROW YOUR OWN P26 SPOTLIGHT ON KENNINGTON P30 Projects launch across the capital to create new parklands Page 4 DANIEL LYNCH London gets landscaped 2 WEDNESDAY 8 APRIL 2015 EVENING STANDARD Homes & Property Online homesandproperty.co.uk with This week: homesandproperty.co.uk 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. Property search 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. O homesandproperty.co.uk/trophybayswater 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 homesandproperty.co.uk hot homes: Zone 3 areas buyers should explore £300,000: 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 homesandproperty.co.uk/waldegrave 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. O homesandproperty.co.uk/buynine 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 homesandproperty.co.uk/lifechangergoon By Faye Greenslade O Visit homesandproperty.co.uk/zone3 Facebook: ESHomesAndProperty • Twitter: @HomesProperty • Pinterest: Editor: Janice Morley VISIT homesandproperty.co. uk/rules for details of our usual promotion rules. When you respond to promotions, offers or competitions, the London Evening Standard and its sister companies may contact you with relevant offers and services that may be of interest. Please give your mobile number and/or email address if you would like to receive such offers by text or email. Editorial: 020 3615 2524 Advertisement manager: Jamie McCabe Advertising: 020 3615 0527 Homes & Property, Northcliffe House, 2 Derry Street, Kensington, London W8 5TT. @HomesProperty 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 homesandproperty.co.uk/offers and quote ESFTIX15 before April 30. Free tickets not valid on May 9 or 10. Usual rules apply, visit homesandproperty.co.uk/rules for details 3 EVENING STANDARD WEDNESDAY 8 APRIL 2015 News Homes & Property homesandproperty.co.uk with £1.75m buys Wilford’s forest retreat 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 homesandproperty.co.uk/wilford 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 homesandproperty.co.uk/zayn REX 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 touches. 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 homesandproperty.co.uk/dusty REX 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 REX Zayn heading for ‘a normal life’ 4 WEDNESDAY 8 APRIL 2015 EVENING STANDARD Homes & Property New homes homesandproperty.co.uk with W 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. THE THAMES AT RIGHT ANGLES 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.” FLOATING GARDENS IN DOCKLANDS 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. LINEAR PARK AT NINE ELMS 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 swimmable commuter route from Little Venice in west London to Limehouse 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. LOST RIVER PARK AT EARLS COURT 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. WETLANDS IN WALTHAMSTOW 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. UNVEILING WANDSWORTH’S CLEAN WANDLE 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 5 EVENING STANDARD WEDNESDAY 8 APRIL 2015 New homes Homes & Property homesandproperty.co.uk 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 6 WEDNESDAY 8 APRIL 2015 EVENING STANDARD Homes & Property Commuting homesandproperty.co.uk 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 W 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 commute. BROOKWOOD’S GROWING 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 Canal. 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. CHARMING WINCHESTER 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 menu. 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 (homesandproperty.co.uk/mulberry) Lots of appeal: Winchester is a good option for Londoners, with its stunning architecture 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, Winchester (Strutt & Parker; 01962 869999) £895,000: 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 £700,000. 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 £650,000. TOP FOR AFFLUENCE 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 2007. 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. +%++) .,. *.$, '$ ++"+ * (##** #' ('& # $%%&%!#-%-% #-% %-%%%(%+#%")-% #%%%% #- %#% - +%&% % ##(+% % &)% %"%&"#+ +%% " +%%%& %-% % #%% "%)#" %!%%- +%(--% # %% % #& %%-% "%) %%%( %"-# ( $$.. , "$! 7 EVENING STANDARD WEDNESDAY 8 APRIL 2015 First-time buyers Homes & Property homesandproperty.co.uk 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 ALAMY W 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 borough. 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 communal garden, below 25 per cent share of a home valued at £614,500. 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. Visit affinitysutton.com. 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. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW LADBROKE GROVE W10-W11 SELLING FAST. 0844 406 9288 www.theschoolyardsw18.com Millionaires’ 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 millions 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 homesandproperty.co.uk/lad. “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 rooms. Buy: fantastic homewares at Tom Dixon, Portobello Dock, if you can afford it. 8 WEDNESDAY 8 APRIL 2015 EVENING STANDARD Homes & Property Planning S 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 matter. 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 homesandproperty.co.uk with Remember: the planning amnesty ends next spring 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 ! ! ., !%. %#%# +% %)",& #&&%#% %)"& " "$ "! %! !. &%#% % + %#% %#",&! " " *%+%%%#+%%# %#% -+%( % % %)++%( 9 EVENING STANDARD WEDNESDAY 8 APRIL 2015 Planning Homes & Property homesandproperty.co.uk 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. SHADED CANOPY 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 airier.” #-%% -%)%!%( %( % $%))%%%++ -%-%)'%% &%#% #,%#%% %)"!& "!#! %#%( ( 10 WEDNESDAY 8 APRIL 2015 EVENING STANDARD Homes & Property Homes abroad C 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 renovation. GREAT-VALUE PROJECTS PERFECT TIME TO BUY 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 home-hunts.com — 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 REX “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. 11 EVENING STANDARD WEDNESDAY 8 APRIL 2015 Homes abroad Homes & Property Trendsetters: ex-England soccer star David Beckham and his fashion designer wife Victoria launched the A-list love affair with the Var, buying a sprawling mansion in the medieval hill village of Bargemon, above, in 2003 From £14,250 a week: La Bergerie, a luxurious, staffed stone house with six bedrooms and spacious gardens LONDONERS’ GETAWAY 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 helipad. “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 Rich-Jones created a colonnaded barbecue dining room for guests — welcome shelter on scorching Provençal 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 airport. “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 REX ALAMY homesandproperty.co.uk with = = 2 , = @ ) * + &% ) & ( * + & , =? ; , =?<?< = , @ = @ 9 2 <, ") -*"3-&+$!60!133":+"7/4&1&3" -))" 3&-+-#-+"3-#&5""!0--*%-*"1 %--1" #0-* .03*"+31 &+ 3%" "43))8 0"13-0"! 0!" &13"! %"0&3$" 4&)!&+$1 -0 +"6)8 4&)3: )4740&-41 #*&)8 %-*"1: )) .0"1"+3"! 6&3%&+ =>@ 0"1 -# -4313+!&+$ 6--!)+! 6&3% .)+1 #-0 )"&140" # &)&3&"1 +! #1%-. &+$ !60! 133" &1 1&343"!-+3%"400" 8 411"7-0!"0:'4131&7*&)"1#0-*1)"*"0"+!)&"16&3%&+3%" -43%-6+13&-+)0( ) * ' ) * ( * ( $ $ $#% !!" : : 2 < , 14 Homes & Property Interiors WEDNESDAY 8 APRIL 2015 EVENING STANDARD homesandproperty.co.uk with Beauty of bricks: boss Hannah Coleman of wallcoverings ﬁrm Dreamwall developed 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 dreamwall.co.uk. Find a wide choice of brick and slate papers, about £10 a roll, at ilovewallpaper. co.uk Metal magic: Cast Iron White Lace Wallpaper, right, by Young & Battaglia is £70 for a 2.5m x 500mm panel. Available at rockettstgeorge. co.uk Design Desig ign trends ig tre re end nds s 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 turnelland gigon.com 15 EVENING STANDARD WEDNESDAY 8 APRIL 2015 Interiors Homes & Property homesandproperty.co.uk with Step it up: add a sense of space with a “turning staircase” wallpaper 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. co.uk Wood’s good: Library Panel, from Cole & Son’s Historic Royal Palaces 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 cole-and-son. com Wild thing: for outrageous faux skins, Brian Yates’s Sauvage collection wallpaper for Giardini gleams in vivid shades. This mock croc is £114 a metre, 137cm wide. At brian-yates.co. uk (01524 35035). Showroom at Design Centre Chelsea Harbour, SW10 Looking bookish: award-winning designer Tracy Kendall, of Margate, bases digitally printed, realistic book and magazine wallpapers on detailed photos. Bookshelves, left, is £200 for a 10m roll, or £25 a metre at modernwallpaper.com (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 photographic mural is about £50 a square metre at surfaceview. co.uk PUTNEY SW15 NOW OVER 70% SOLD COSMOPOLITAN LIVING IN VIBRANT PUTNEY 1, 2 & 3 BEDROOM APARTMENTS AND PENTHOUSES 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 www.londonsquare.co.uk 18 WEDNESDAY 8 APRIL 2015 EVENING STANDARD Homes & Property Wi-fi homesandproperty.co.uk with Super-SLOW Don’t despair: there are steps you can take if your broadband speed isn’t as fast as you’d like broadband? ALAMY Some London postcodes get broadband that’s twice the speed of neighbouring districts. Caramel Quin finds out how to beef up your digital connection G New Stonebridge Park, Hillside, Stonebridge NW10 SPRING -(%$#, $%(%$##, -0 % %-0%&0)$$ -)$%$0%$! ##$,)&$%($"#$ 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 uSwitch.com, 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. )1$$'(--$%0.$)-$,+%,$-(-'%- )$0. 20.33 GET A FASTER ROUTER Average download speed (Mbps) Postcode WC SW SE NW N W E EC London average: Source: uSwitch.com Broadband Speed Tracker FIRST CHECK YOUR SPEED Most internet service providers offer an online speed test, or you can use uswitch.com/broadband/speedtest to compare yours. Ideally test twice — once wirelessly using wi-fi and once by plugging your laptop into the broadband socket with an Ethernet cable. If the second speed is faster, then you can improve your speeds by upgrading your home wi-fi. Yo u c a n o f t e n i m p r o v e w i - f i speeds by updating the firmware in your wi-fi router — download the latest version for free from the manufacturer’s website. BUY A FASTER PACKAGE -)($%(&)$$&)(1$$ )+%)($-$*-(+)$*)))!$ %,)$()!$+%$,&$%($)%'$$ /$$&$&'-- (-$ -%0$($)$)1$$ #$)%$$%%$ 28.27 20.58 20.07 19.91 19.28 18.97 18.74 16.89 Several broadband providers use BT’s Openreach network, so you can expect similar maximum speeds from Sky, at sky.com/fibre, EE, at ee.co.uk/broadband, 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 virginmedia.com/cablemystreet. AVERAGE SPEED BY POSTCODE 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 bt.com. Get up to speed: the Asus RT-AC68U offers wireless broadband twice as fast as an “n” router — the letter denotes wi-ﬁ speed — and 20 times as fast as a “g” router FASTEST VS SLOWEST 10 FASTEST LONDON STREETS 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 asus.com — 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. 10 SLOWEST LONDON STREETS 39.49Mbps 38.88Mbps 31.84Mbps 31.84Mbps 28.38Mbps 27.2Mbps 26.05Mbps 23.54Mbps 18.83Mbps 18.08Mbps 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 1.41Mbps 1.81Mbps 2.46Mbps 2.98Mbps 3.26Mbps 3.86Mbps 3.89Mbps 4.33Mbps 4.41Mbps 4.49Mbps Source: uSwitch.com Broadband Speed Tracker 20 WEDNESDAY 8 APRIL 2015 EVENING STANDARD Homes & Property Interiors Geometrics 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 ﬂorrieandbill. com. Visit ﬂock.org.uk (07756 59409) Shape up: these printed hexagonal paper plates are perfect for parties and come in packs of 12 for £3.99 from candleandcake.co.uk (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 bisque.co.uk (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 andnew.co.uk (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 andnew.co.uk EVENING STANDARD WEDNESDAY 8 APRIL 2015 21 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 kirathghundoo. 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. co.uk (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 shopfolklore.com (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 from www.chocolatecreative.co.uk (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 kirkbydesign.com (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 louisebody.com (07889 465552) 22 WEDNESDAY 8 APRIL 2015 EVENING STANDARD Homes & Property My home homesandproperty What a great buy: Rupert Wheeler, with Maltese terriers Pasha and Tinkerbell, in the 18th-century house he and wife Pat lovingly repaired and restored 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 W 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 collapsed 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. T 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, 23 EVENING STANDARD WEDNESDAY 8 APRIL 2015 My home Homes & Property y.co.uk 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’S TIPS Rupert Wheeler has two key tips for conserving historic buildings: O Don’t do things just for the sake of tidiness and neatness. O Apply the philosophy of essentialism — if it isn’t essential, don’t do it. WHAT IT COST House in 1997: £205,000 Money spent (1997-2000): £210,000 Value now: £3.5 million GET THE LOOK Photographs:: Charles Hosea Architecture and interior design by Rupert Wheeler at mackenziewheeler.co.uk Leadwork and roofing by Richard Page at londonleadroofing.com Windows by North Kent Joinery at nkj.co.uk Mouth-blown glass from T&W Ide on 020 7790 2333 Decorative artist John Brinklow at johnbrinklow.co.uk Wooden floors repaired and replaced by specialist Vinda Saax on 07986 292867 O Electrician: Alan Andrews at northlondonsparks.co.uk O Kitchen and front door case by Peter Davies at The Dovetail Joint, thedovetailjoint.co.uk O Planting by Paul Gazerwitz at del Buono Gazerwitz — delbuonogazerwitz.co.uk O Paints by Farrow & Ball — Lime White, French Grey and Pigeon — from farrow-ball.com O Furniture from Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair at Battersea Park —decorativefair.com; Alfies Antiques Market — alfiesantiques.com — and other markets. Original feature: the master bathroom, once a kitchen, still has its Regency hob grate 26 WEDNESDAY 8 APRIL 2015 EVENING STANDARD Homes & Property Outdoors homesandproperty.co.uk with CLIVE NICHOLS GARDEN PICTURE/DESIGN: ARALIA 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 strawberry 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 ) " # (( $& "&$!&$(% &-%+ ,&%, *& $'$ #%+ Pattie Barron Productive pots: even several small containers can produce a bounty of berries that taste better than shop-bought GAP PHOTOS/JOHN GLOVER GAP PHOTOS/FRIEDRICH STRAUSS S 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 mid-summer. 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 pineapple. 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. STRAWBERRY SOURCES O Suttons, suttons.co.uk: wall tower as well as all varieties mentioned above. O Thompson & Morgan, thompsonmorgan.com: strawberry pouches, Stackapot system and many varieties, including a full-season strawberry collection from June to November. O Lubera, lubera.co.uk: many new cultivars, including long-fruiting Parfum Fraisonette for balconies and climbing strawberry Elan. O For outdoor events this month, visit homesandproperty.co.uk/events O Gardening queries? Email our RHS expert at [email protected] 28 WEDNESDAY 8 APRIL 2015 EVENING STANDARD Homes & Property Ask the expert homesandproperty.co.uk with Can I turn my mortgaged house into flats? Fiona McNulty WHAT’S YOUR PROBLEM? IF YOU have a question for Fiona McNulty, please email [email protected] standard.co.uk 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 (footanstey.com) OUR LAWYER ANSWERS YOUR QUESTIONS Q 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? A 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 Q&As Visit: homesand property.co.uk Q 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? A 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 martinco.com/askmartin 30 WEDNESDAY 8 APRIL 2015 EVENING STANDARD Homes & Property Property searching WHAT’S ON OFFER homesandproperty.co.uk with Spotlight Kennington £530,000 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. O homesandproperty.co.uk/kbrook 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 £1.2 MILLION 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. O homesandproperty.co.uk/hayles £1 MILLION A THREE-BEDROOM warehouse duplex flat with a 35ft reception room in Dolland Street SE11, a quiet cul-de-sac between Vauxhall and Kennington. Through Dexters. O homesandproperty.co.uk/kendoll S 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. WHAT THERE IS TO BUY 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]ages4you.co.uk or visit www.cottages4you.co.uk What a treat: young customers sample some of the goodies at Sally White To find a home in Kennington, visit homesandproperty.co.uk/kennington For more about Kennington, visit homesandproperty.co.uk/spotlightkennington F 31 EVENING STANDARD WEDNESDAY 8 APRIL 2015 Property searching Homes & Property homesandproperty.co.uk with CHECK THE STATS ■WHAT HOMES COST BUYING IN KENNINGTON (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 RENTING IN KENNINGTON (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 GO ONLINE FOR MORE Time out: a variety of shops, fast-food chains and restaurants tempt shoppers in Kennington Road, with Tesco nearby SHOPPING AND EATING 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 bathrooms. 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 Kennington 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 HAVE YOUR SAY KENNINGTON @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 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE Who kissed for the first and last time in this pub? Find the answer at homesandproperty.co.uk/spotlightkennington 36 WEDNESDAY 8 APRIL 2015 EVENING STANDARD Homes & Property Inside story homesandproperty.co.uk with Upstaged by a man in bright white trainers Diary of an estate agent MONDAY 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 better. 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 new-builds. 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. THURSDAY 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. TUESDAY 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 Harrods. 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. FRIDAY 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. WEDNESDAY 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) PROFIT FROM PROPERTY EXCEL LONDON 17–18 APRIL 2015 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. REGISTER ONLINE FOR FREE ENTRY & FREE SEMINARS For beginners and seasoned pros… it’s all under one roof 120+ exhibitors 70+ free seminars & debates 38 WEDNESDAY 8 APRIL 2015 EVENING STANDARD Homes & Property New homes homesandproperty.co.uk 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 Smart moves Big bonus of City living T 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. 39 EVENING STANDARD WEDNESDAY 8 APRIL 2015 New homes Homes & Property homesandproperty.co.uk with Kennington offers Georgian appeal Read more: visit our new online luxury section HomesAndProperty.co.uk/luxury 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. GREEN LIGHT WEST GROVE SET FOR LAUNCH 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. !% (!(% !'! ! ! #!! " !!" )&# &!! $ 40 WEDNESDAY 8 APRIL 2015 EVENING STANDARD Homes & Property Letting on C 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? The accidental landlord 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 RE NE LE W A SE 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 wardrobes. 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 exterminated. 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 homesandproperty.co.uk with £395 per week: at Palm House, Sancroft Street, Kennington, London Residences has a smart one-bedroom ﬂat available to rent (homesandproperty.co.uk/alrent) 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 fault. 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 homesandproperty.co.uk/lettings RED LION LANE | WOOLWICH COMMON | LONDON | SE18 4AS LANDMARK ADDRESS WITH A U N I Q U E H I S TO RY 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) www.theacademywoolwich.co.uk 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.
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