The vil­lage high street

Lon­don­ers love high streets with a warm and friendly feel. Ara­bella Youens dis­cov­ers it is wise to in­vest in a home near a pop­u­lar pa­rade

London Evening Standard (West End Final B) - ES Homes and Property - - Homes Near High Streets -

FRIENDLY and ac­ces­si­ble high streets, with in­de­pen­dent shops and help­ful shop­keep­ers, are a ma­jor attraction for Lon­don buy­ers who value their con­tri­bu­tion to com­mu­nity. As chain stores with­draw into on­line sell­ing, the high street is mak­ing a come­back, es­pe­cially in Lon­don “vil­lages”. To­day we start a new se­ries in search of homes near the cap­i­tal’s most char­ac­ter­ful shop­ping streets.

LAMB’S CON­DUIT STREET BLOOMS­BURY

Semi-pedes­tri­anised, with el­e­gant shopfronts and tra­di­tional, wrought-iron over­hang­ing signs, Lamb’s Con­duit Street was re­cently de­scribed as “an edgier, more cre­ative Jermyn Street”. Perse­phone Books founder Ni­cola Beau­man took over her lease in 2001 and says the street was far shab­bier then.

Its de­vel­op­ment since has been “a bit of a mir­a­cle”, she says. “Desti­na­tion shop­pers come for the mix of lovely, in­ter­est­ing shops. It’s not Maryle­bone High Street chic — it’s more in­di­vid­ual than that.” Shop own­ers band to­gether with those in neigh­bour­ing Rugby Street — in­clud­ing in­te­ri­ors em­po­rium Pen­treath & Hall — for a Christ­mas shop­ping event in early De­cem­ber.

Lamb’s Con­duit Street’s com­mu­ni­tyspir­ited vibe is fur­ther ev­i­denced by The Peo­ple’s Su­per­mar­ket, a co-op sell­ing af­ford­able and fair trade food where res­i­dents vol­un­teer a few hours’ ser­vice per week, while spe­cial­ist cheese shop La Fro­magerie opened last week, and the nearby Brunswick Cen­tre is home to a re­vamped art house cinema. Best nearby home buys: Ge­or­gian town­houses in neigh­bour­ing streets are be­ing con­verted back from of­fices into houses, says Rus­sell Ball of Dex­ters. But for value, he rec­om­mends look­ing at post-war ex-coun­cil blocks, in­clud­ing in Orde Hall Street and Mill­man Street. “One ap­proach is to buy a onebed­room ex-lo­cal author­ity flat in one of these streets and re­con­fig­ure the space to cre­ate a spare room. At a stroke you add value and get all the ben­e­fits of liv­ing near a re­ally trendy street.” Dex­ters has a one-bed­room flat with sep­a­rate kitchen in Lamb’s Con­duit Pas­sage at £550,000 (020 8012 3870).

NEW QUE­BEC STREET MARYLE­BONE

The Port­man Es­tate, land­lord of 110 acres of west Maryle­bone, has cot­toned on to the place mak­ing con­cept. The cen­tre of the “Port­man Vil­lage” is New Que­bec Street, with its fish­mon­ger, pub, bou­tiques, spe­cial­ist wine shop and Box­car Butcher & Grill. The es­tate also or­gan­ises a pop­u­lar sum­mer party. David Rud­dock of Marsh & Par­sons says Port­man has turned “a back­wa­ter

a one-bed­room flat in Lamb’s Con­duit Pas­sage, Blooms­bury, off Lamb’s Con­duit Street. Dex­ters (020 8012 3870)

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