STEPPING off the end of a Tube line seems like entering a vacuum to most Londoners. One imagines a tangle of motorways, perhaps. Some cows. A few car parks.
Visitors to Stanmore might be surprised. Stanmore is a place whose name anyone who regularly rides the Jubilee line will have heard, but the town is much more than a train depot. The town itself dates back to Anglo Saxon times and its centre still holds the ruins of a fifteenth century brick church standing in the yard of the sixteenth century church that replaced it. The high street is full of personality, dotted with local pubs and restaurants rather than the encroaching chains that characterise many other satellite towns or urban areas, and their patrons are drawn from the town’s numerous thriving religious communities, giving it a rural feel alongside a cosmopolitan populace.
As a result, Stanmore has been popular with commuting populations for a long time, but recently the scale and convenience of the homes available has received a boost. A brand new development on Honeypot Lane, built by St Edward Homes – a joint enterprise between Berkeley Homes and the Prudential – will offer nearly 800 high-spec apartments to buyers interested in enjoying a little more space and greenery than is available in central London, but still within 45 minutes of the City and 50 minutes of Canary Wharf.
The 15-acre complex has been in the works for five years, with the developer’s first move being the creation of a large manmade lake at the entrance. Homes run from £235,000 to £380,000 with everything fully fitted – from patio furniture to kitchen sink – and buyers can choose from a range of interiors. Many are already built, which means that you aren’t just putting down a deposit on a building site, and the development is likely to be popular with parents: the local area boasts top quality schools like Haberdasher’s, Mill Hill, Alenham School and Immanuel College.
Years after the lake was first excavated and as St Edward Homes prepares its first homes for move-in in the autumn, the lake is now home to wild ducks and bordered by reeds and grassy banks. Berkley Homes’ Paul Vellone says the green space is central to the idea that building a development is no longer a matter of churning out decent interiors: “People don’t just buy an apartment any more. They buy the environment in which it sits.”
For Stanmore residents, that means not just comfortable living rooms and waterside balconies, but a locale with character and charm.
Satisfied buyer: heather wallington
HEATHER Wallington doesn’t seem like your typical development resident. As a professional viola player, she has just taken a job with the London Symphony Orchestra. The job requires her to spend at least half her time within easy distance of the Barbican and Abbey Road recording studios, so she and her husband have invested in a one-bedroom lakeside apartment on Honeypot Lane.
“I knew I needed to buy a home within a commutable distance to central London that also had convenient links to the rest of the UK,” she says. “I will be spending two weeks in Liverpool and two in London so Stanmore Place is perfectly situated for me. I can hop onto the M1 and be in Liverpool in 3.5 hours.” The offer of 24-hour concierge service and security in an affordable and pleasant setting was also an attraction: “It will have very low maintenance and it is a lovely environment to live in.”
Wallington is one of 85 residents who have already reserved their homes for move-in in the autumn, having walked around a fully made-up show home.