A calm oasis in the city centre
Developers are searching for lakeside sites in urban settings to offer home buyers the best of both worlds, reports Laura Latham
She bought the 18th-century house, which is in the hilltop village of Sintra, near Lisbon, for €7.5 million (£6.76 million). The mini-palace, which is set across more than five acres, needs completely overhauling.
‘Living near or overlooking the water sits well with the psyche’
One such brownfield site is being redeveloped on the eastern outskirts of Chichester, Hampshire, by Cala Homes. The master plan of the scheme, called Shopwyke Lakes, shows a mixed-use project on around 80acres with up to 500 homes, plus business units and community leisure facilities. There will be a 30-acre public park designed to incorporate three existing lakes and some smaller ponds, and the estate is next to a 40-acre lake used by a local watersports club. A mix of one and two-bedroom flats and two to five-bedroom houses will be for sale, priced from £285,000.
Barratt is turning a former quarry in the Kent village of Hythe, which is being redeveloped alongside an established but privately owned lake, into a scheme called Martello Lakes. The 190-home site has had a lot of buyer interest, as some properties also offer coastal views. Prices start from £199,000 for a two-bedroom flat and from £350,000 for a three to fourbedroom house.
“Hythe is a nice village, and the lake and coastal location of our site is a big draw,” says Harvey Sallows, the sales manager for Barratt. “We’ve had buyers asking specifically for the lakefront plots.” He says there is a definite premium on a waterside living. “Apartments facing the water cost between £5,000 and £10,000 more than those that don’t. A house with a water view will have maybe a £20,000 to £30,000 premium.”
This added value is one of the reasons lakes have been specifically included in the master plan for a huge development in north Lincolnshire. The aptly named Lincolnshire Lakes scheme will create five new villages with around 6,000 homes just west of Scunthorpe. Scheduled for completion by 2028, alongside new transport infrastructure, employment and commercial opportunities, there will be five artificially created lakes and other waterways as part of the leisure and lifestyle offering of the 5,000-acre site.
“Across the UK, water features in and around housing increases values by 15 to 20 per cent, which is attractive to developers,” says Simon Green, North Lincolnshire Council’s executive director of commercial. “We want to reposition towns in this region to be more 21st century – to create an urban renaissance here. North Lincolnshire already has an active outdoor and watersports-led environment, and we wanted to use that to our advantage.”
Concerns about flooding have been raised and are taken seriously enough for the landowners to begin the erection of flood defences. “These will control and mitigate any risk of flooding, to safeguard and enable development,” says Green. “Land is also set aside between the river and the housing for agriculture and as a flood plain, which also forms a natural barrier to urban sprawl.” Green says the new development will aim to bring a higher standard of services and accommodation to locals, as well as attracting people from hubs such as Sheffield and Leeds, an hour to 90 minutes away. “People appreciate the good quality of life, the tranquillity and the activities associated with living near water.”
It was these factors that attracted Ellie Streeter, a sales adviser at Crest Nicholson’s Arborfield Green scheme near Reading, to buy a lakeside home where she worked. Using Help to Buy, she and her partner Jonathan Hayward purchased a two-bedroom flat in Waterman’s View, where prices start from £299,000.
“The sense of community here is amazing,” she says. “When I saw there was a top-floor apartment with views on to Waterman’s Lake, it sealed the deal for me.”
Work-life balance: Ellie Streeter and Jonathan Hayward, right, bought at Waterman’s View, below right, where Ellie works as a sales adviser
Best of both worlds: homes at Martello Lakes offer coastal as well as lakeside views