AF­FORD­ABLE HOUN­SLOW

New homes for less than £300,000 and a ma­jor re­vamp will at­tract young Lon­don­ers to Houn­slow — de­spite the air­craft noise, says Ruth Bloom­field

Evening Standard - West End Final Extra - ES Homes and Property - - Front Page -

NOW that first-time buy­ers don’t have to pay stamp duty on homes val­ued up to £300,000, an un­ex­pected spot­light has fallen on Houn­slow, one of the few places left in Lon­don with homes that qualify for stamp duty ex­emp­tion. It’s an ideal place to find a starter home — if you can tol­er­ate air­craft noise. It’s un­der a Heathrow flight­path and the air­port is four miles away.

Thanks to all those planes, Houn­slow, on the Pic­cadilly line, has been a Cin­derella neigh­bour­hood for years. Now its for­tunes are set to change thanks to a ma­jor re­gen­er­a­tion pro­gramme.

At the mo­ment, if you love Pound­land and TK Maxx you’ll eas­ily feel at home in Houn­slow. You have to head for Rich­mond, three miles east, to find de­cent shop­ping, café cul­ture and nightlife, though even there you won’t es­cape planes.

To com­pen­sate for Houn­slow’s lack of glam­our you can find a two-bed­room flat for just un­der £300,000, a mod­est house for about £330,000, while between now and 2025 some 3,900 new homes will be built, 40 per cent of which will be aimed at first-time buy­ers and young renters.

HOMES, SHOPS, CINEMA AND SPORT

Along­side these homes will be some care­ful place­mak­ing with new shops, bars and restau­rants, a mul­ti­screen cinema and even space to play beach volleyball as those air­craft roar over­head.

One of the largest projects is the £410 mil­lion re­vamp of the for­mer Houn­slow Civic Cen­tre site in Lamp­ton Road. Not­ting Hill Hous­ing is build­ing 919 new homes across 10 build­ings de­signed by ar­chi­tects Shep­pard Rob­son. Half of the homes will be af­ford­able, ring-fenced for those priced out of Lon­don’s prop­erty mar­ket. Mean­while, a new civic build­ing in­clud­ing a li­brary and café is be­ing built nearby by de­vel­oper Linkc­ity. Work started on 88 Lamp­ton Road last year and the first 160 homes will be ready this au­tumn. This first phase of homes will all be af­ford­able, with rental prop­er­ties be­ing of­fered to peo­ple on Houn­slow coun­cil’s hous­ing wait­ing list. Shared-own­er­ship homes will be on the mar­ket next year.

De­spite cre­at­ing al­most 1,000 homes the only new amenity this de­vel­op­ment will have is a café. How­ever, Akin Ade­nubi, of Not­ting Hill Hous­ing, be­lieves the cen­tral lo­ca­tion and de­sign will suc­cess­fully knit the scheme into the lo­cal com­mu­nity. “We back on to 40-acre Lamp­ton Park and there will be roads to the park — this is not some sort of gated com­mu­nity.” Res­i­dents will be less than half a mile from Houn­slow Cen­tral Tube sta­tion, on the Pic­cadilly line in Zone 4, and equally close to the high street and shops.

RENTAL HOMES NEAR THE TUBE

Meyer Homes plans to build 293 rental homes at

Lon­don Road close to Houn­slow East Tube sta­tion, with 38 af­ford­able for those who can’t af­ford mar­ket rents. The homes will be ready to move into late next year. There will also be com­mer­cial space on the site, although it hasn’t been de­cided whether this will be of­fices, shops, restau­rants, or a mix­ture of all three.

Houn­slow East sta­tion — also Pic­cadilly line, Zone 4 — is a five-minute walk away. There is lit­tle that can be done about the con­stant roar of air­craft but it re­minds you how close Heathrow is when you want to catch a plane.

The shops and eater­ies of Lon­don Road are on the doorstep, in­clud­ing In­dian restau­rants that are ex­cel­lent and good value. But there are too many char­ity shops and pawn­bro­kers.

A NEW ‘QUAR­TER’

Bar­ratt Lon­don is build­ing 311 pri­vate flats and 216 af­ford­able homes in four build­ings at High

Street Quar­ter, Houn­slow. They will be launch­ing in spring. No prices are given as yet but Bar­ratt has con­firmed that all will be el­i­gi­ble for Help to Buy Lon­don, which means a price cap of £600,000. The first res­i­dents will be able to move in dur­ing au­tumn next year, and the three-acre site, close to Houn­slow Cen­tral sta­tion, will be com­pleted by 2021.

This site will be far from sim­ply a com­muter dor­mi­tory. As well as homes there will be a new 10-screen cinema plus shops, cafés, restau­rants and a new square with space for sports in­clud­ing beach volleyball and kabaddi, a high-oc­tane game of tag that’s the na­tional sport of Bangladesh. This is the de­vel­op­ment that will make or break re­gen­er­ated Houn­slow.

When a mul­ti­tude of dif­fer­ent de­vel­op­ers moves in, there must be some se­ri­ous joined-up think­ing on how to re­ju­ve­nate the wider area for all the new res­i­dents. De­spite re­peated prompt­ing, how­ever, Houn­slow bor­ough coun­cil ap­peared un­able to say how sev­eral mil­lion pounds from its own cof­fers and from the Mayor’s Outer Lon­don Fund is be­ing spent on im­prov­ing the town cen­tre — which suf­fers, in the au­thor­ity’s own words, from “run-down streets and a lack of wellde­fined pub­lic space”.

TAR­GET­ING YOUNG LON­DON BUY­ERS WITH AS­PI­RA­TIONS

Nathan Smith, Bar­ratt’s se­nior project man­ager, sees an ex­cit­ing fu­ture for the area. A not-for­profit arm of Bar­ratts will con­tinue to man­age the site once the work­men have moved out, and Smith is cur­rently dis­cussing with lo­cal peo­ple what ameni­ties they feel they need, from crèches to Christ­mas mar­kets. Some sort of gym fa­cil­ity will be pro­vided, and Smith prom­ises the let­ting of new shops to cater for the af­flu­ent young buy­ers of new flats.

New homes with ben­e­fits: above and right, Bar­ratt’s High Street Quar­ter, Houn­slow, will have hun­dreds of new homes with Help to Buy avail­able, plus sport­ing fa­cil­i­ties, new shops, eater­ies and a cinema

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