Prop­erty mar­ket

From his­toric houses to mod­ern mas­ter­pieces, the county still leads the pack

Country Life Every Week - - Contents -

Penny Churchill, Eleanor Doughty and An­nun­ci­ata Wal­ton pick Sur­rey’s best prop­er­ties

IN what es­tate agents fondly call ‘a flight to qual­ity’, the elite prop­erty mar­ket in Sur­rey is see­ing a surge in de­mand for ‘spe­cial’ houses, be they clas­sic coun­try houses, top-of-the-range new-builds or sleek, eco-friendly, one-off con­fec­tions of glass and steel. On the other hand, houses that fail to tick the right boxes are un­likely to war­rant a sec­ond look.

Philip Har­vey of buy­ing agents Prop­erty Vi­sion sums up the mood in the mar­ket­place: ‘There is good—if not huge—de­mand for houses of real qual­ity, both in north Sur­rey where the great­est ap­petite is still for top-of-the-range new-builds, and in the Sur­rey Hills, where the mar­ket is ham­pered by a short­age of good coun­try houses for sale, largely be­cause many would-be ven­dors don’t be­lieve the de­mand is there and are still sit­ting tight. How­ever, the buy­ers are out there—many of them Lon­don fam­i­lies who fear they may have missed the boat by not mov­ing out of town be­fore house prices stalled or in­ter­na­tional buy­ers from the Mid­dle East or the USA, who can take ad­van­tage of the post-brexit drop in the value of sterling.’

Nowhere, says Mr Har­vey, has the gulf be­tween ‘the best’ and ‘the rest’ been more starkly il­lus­trated than in St Ge­orge’s Hill, Wey­bridge, where a sud­den in­flux of new de­vel­op­ers re­sulted in ‘a mas­sive over-sup­ply’ of rel­a­tively low-grade houses. Not sur­pris­ingly, these ‘also-rans’ soon fell by the way­side and were ei­ther sold off cheaply or left un­fin­ished as de­vel­op­ers aban­doned ship. Now, fi­nally, the high stan­dards of de­sign and ex­e­cu­tion tra­di­tion­ally as­so­ci­ated with houses on ‘the Hill’ are once more the order of the day.

Knight Frank (01372 464496) and Sav­ills (01932 838000) are joint agents in the sale of pris­tine Edge­worth in Camp End Road, St Ge­orge’s Hill, at a guide price of £8.95 mil­lion. The im­mac­u­late 7,479sq ft house was built in 1927 by master builder W. G. Tar­rant, who, in 1911, bought the sur­round­ing 964 acres with a view to cre­at­ing an es­tate of ‘large coun­try re­treats for the wealthy gen­tle­men of Lon­don’. For Tim Gar­bett of Knight Frank, Edge­worth is ‘a re­ally spe­cial house’, which has been mod­i­fied and ex­tended over the years, while re­main­ing sym­pa­thetic to Tar­rant’s orig­i­nal de­sign. The beau­ti­fully pro­por­tioned, Tu­dor-style house stands on the site of a for­mer Bronze Age hill fort at the

high­est point of the es­tate, a lo­ca­tion de­signed to make the most of the far-reach­ing views, which are as spec­tac­u­lar now as they were 90 years ago.

Set in 2.8 acres of mag­nif­i­cent gar­dens and grounds in which the ram­parts of a Ro­man en­camp­ment can still be seen, Edge­worth is ‘prob­a­bly one of only about a dozen houses in St Ge­orge’s Hill that has more than 2½ acres of gar­dens,’ Mr Gar­bett points out.

The most re­cent re­vamp of the in­te­rior has been car­ried out by the present own­ers— the show­stop­per be­ing the grand vaulted re­cep­tion hall by Bor­der Oak, de­signed to host clas­si­cal music events. Over­all, the in­ter­nal lay­out has been re­con­fig­ured to suit grand fam­ily liv­ing, with el­e­gant ac­com­mo­da­tion that in­cludes five re­cep­tion rooms, a large Small­bone kitchen/break­fast room, a sump­tu­ous master suite, seven fur­ther bed­rooms and two fur­ther bath­rooms.

For Nigel Mitchell of Knight Frank in Guild­ford (01483 565171), at £3.85m, im­mac­u­late, Grade Ii-listed Old Pick­hurst at Chid- ding­fold, near Go­dalm­ing, is ‘the best of the best’. One of south Sur­rey’s most pop­u­lar vil­lages, Chid­ding­fold en­joyed a pe­riod of great pros­per­ity in me­dieval times, when it was a cen­tre of glass-mak­ing, sup­ply­ing glass for St Ge­orge’s Chapel, Wind­sor, and other im­por­tant build­ings. Sev­eral houses around the vil­lage date from the Tu­dor pe­riod, among them Old Pick­hurst, which, ac­cord­ing to its list­ing, dates from the 17th cen­tury, when it was built of the lo­cal sand­stone with dec­o­ra­tive brick dress­ings un­der a plain tile roof.

Ex­tended in the early 20th cen­tury, the 1930s, and again by the cur­rent own­ers, Old Pick­hurst abuts the 130-acre Pick­hurst es­tate, of which it was once a part. The in­te­rior of­fers the clas­sic com­fort of fine pan­elled Tu­dor re­cep­tion rooms, which con­trast with the unashamedly Min­i­mal­ist kitchen and bath­rooms. In all, the house boasts 5,623sq ft of liv­ing space, in­clud­ing four re­cep­tion rooms, five bed­rooms and five bath/shower rooms.

For­mal gar­dens and grounds of just over 5½ acres pro­vide a splen­did back­drop and in­clude a swim­ming pool, a two-room pool house, a gym, a Wendy house, a log cabin, stores, garag­ing and out­build­ings.

With 21 houses sold by Sav­ills for more than £2m in Sur­rey this year, re­gional di­rec­tor Richard Win­ter is char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally up­beat about the county’s prospects. Tra­di­tion­al­ists

Penny Churchill

Above and be­low: Edge­worth, in Camp End Road, St Ge­orge’s Hill, was built in 1927 by W. G. Tar­rant and has been ex­tended. £8.95m

Above and be­low: ‘The best of the best’: Old Pick­hurst at Chid­ding­fold mixes historical fea­tures with con­tem­po­rary com­fort. £3.85m

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