Local homes for local people — now that’s a good idea
Camden is seizing its chance to build new homes as power returns to London’s councils, discovers David Spittles
initiative comes as the Camden Town area is regaining its cachet as a top address, with a radical makeover of its canalside market, many new homes, a boutique hotel, a primary school, plus new shops and market stalls being built by private developers.
FROM PUNK ROCK TO POSH
Several of the new council projects are reincarnations of “iconic” housing schemes from Camden’s Seventies heyday. Part of the Maiden Lane Estate on the northern boundary of the vast King’s Cross railway complex — then a joyless spot and now part of a swish new business-cultural quarter — has made way for a new scheme of 273 homes called XY Apartments.
Architect PRP sought to recapture the avant-garde aesthetic of the original Seventies estate, with sleek, white, linear blocks of varying heights, wide, recessed balconies and big windows. Crisp, modern interiors have underfloor heating and there’s a concierge. Prices from £545,000 to £830,000. Call 020 7299 3091.
Savills is selling the homes, part of a portfolio of schemes bundled as The Camden Collection and including Plender Street, by Mornington Crescent Tube station, with 31 flats priced from £537,500. Call 020 3320 8220.
Holly Lodge Mansions bordering leafy Highgate and Hampstead is a local landmark. Built in Tudor style in the Twenties, the original layout was designed by Sir Ebenezer Howard, creator of the “garden city” concept that captured town planners’ imaginations in the early 20th century. Camden council took over the estate, now a conservation area, in the Sixties. A rolling refurbishment is freeing up apartments for private sale. Prices from£705,000.
Many of Camden’s best council homes, including at the Brunswick Centre, have been snapped up under Right to Buy. But affordable resales do come up. A 1,200sq ft flat at architecturally prized Whittington Estate in Highgate is for sale at £795,000 through The Modern House. Call 020 3795 5920.
With an average house price of £799,803, according to Rightmove, Camden is the third most expensive London borough after Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster. The new council-built homes are being sold for market value but are pitched at “ordinary” middle-income Londoners.
Other private-sale projects in the pipeline include Bourne Estate in Clerkenwell, Tybalds Estate in Holborn, Abbey Road, just north of St John’s Wood, Bacton Estate at Gospel Oak and Agar Grove, Camden Town.
Camden Courtyards, a former optical works, is now 164 homes, half “affordable”. Clad in patterned brick and with a Corten steel two-storey roof extension, the S-shaped building allows for two internal courtyards and roof terraces. Prices from £755,000. Call 020 7428 4455. Barratt, the developer, and supermarket chain Morrisons also plan a big flats scheme near the Roundhouse music venue, while Centre Point, the landmark Sixties West End office tower, is being redeveloped with homes.
KING’S CROSS CACHET
Camden Town used to suffer from the industry linked to Regent’s Canal, and proximity to King’s Cross railway wasteland. Today, canalside regeneration is transforming the area, while 67-acre King’s Cross Central is a gleaming new neighbourhood and business district.
Spectacular wedge-shaped flats are being built at The Gasholders London, within the restored framework of three listed King’s Cross gas holders. Circular walkways will overlook an open-air internal courtyard. One gas holder will have a communal roof garden, while the roofs of the other two blocks will be private terraces for
Regeneration: Camden council’s Community Investment Programme includes a revamp and new building at Maiden Lane Estate, with homes for rent and sale
From £545,000: XY Apartments, right, part of The Camden Collection portfolio of homes built by the council for private sale. Call 020 7299 3091
Landmark: Centre Point, the Sixties former office tower being redeveloped as flats in a prized West End location