Spotlight on Bayswater
This Zone 1 spot’s time has come, with new flats behind classical façades, a £1bn retail overhaul and Crossrail on the way, says
THE fine garden squares and terraces of Bayswater are at last being recognised as some of the best places in the capital to live. This is where wealthy buyers, often from overseas, find spacious flats, some spread over adjoining buildings.
More fashionable Notting Hill and Hyde Park for many years cast a long shadow over Bayswater, which suffered from an oversupply of shabby hotels and a tatty main shopping street along Queensway.
However, perceptions began to change in 2012, when upmarket developers Minerva and Northacre developed The Lancasters on a prime site overlooking Hyde Park.
For this game-changing residential scheme, the developers gutted 15 large stucco houses and built 77 luxury flats behind the 400ft-long classical façade. Today, a three-bedroom first-floor flat with nearly 2,700sq ft of space is on sale for £9.8 million, making it the most expensive flat in Bayswater.
Change is also afoot in Queensway with bold but still controversial plans to give the unloved street a £1 billion overhaul. Developer Meyer Bergman and the Warrior Group, the property company run by Warren Todd, who owns much of Portobello Road, have joined forces with architects Foster + Partners to redevelop the northern end of the street. Local Westminster City Council is chipping in with plans for wider pavements and more trees.
The famous listed Whiteleys department store building is to be developed behind its façade with flats and townhouses, a boutique hotel and a cinema. There will be a new shopping arcade and a public courtyard. The magnificent La Scala staircase which stretches over four storeys will form the centrepiece of the new hotel.
Local campaigners fought the development, claiming it would lead to a loss of light to nearby homes and the loss of public access to the famous stair- case. Changes to the original Whiteley’s planning permission, granted in May last year, propose an increase in parking spaces and hotel bedrooms and fewer flats, and are currently before the council with a decision expected by the summer. If everything goes to plan the developer says building work will start early next year.
On the other side of the street opposite Whiteleys, the same developer has submitted plans for Queensway Parade, a new-build project of 94 flats and 12 shops which it hopes will be approved towards the end of this year.
Estate agent Paul Hyman from the local branch of Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward believes Bayswater has a bright future. He says the Whiteleys development and the imminent arrival of the Elizabeth line at Paddington, which will cut the journey time to Liverpool Street to 10 minutes and to Canary Wharf to 17 minutes, are attracting investors who can take a long-term view.
However, with a predominance of one- and two-bedroom flats, he says Bayswater also continues to attract homegrown first-time buyers who like the Zone 1 location and being close to Hyde Park with its vast acres of fabulous green space.
Can you make me a mini-me? Leandros Apostolou is the manager at TwinMe in Queensway, the UK’s only 3D printing shop specialising in 3D “selfies”