Covent Garden has hidden gems among its boutiques, eateries and theatres. Its brick-built former council estates are tucked discreetly behind the shopping streets and have become genuinely coveted places to live — if you can afford them.
Odhams Walk, close to Neal’s Yard and Seven Dials, dates from the Seventies. It was the last estate built by the now-defunct Greater London Council, and in its day won architectural design awards. The vision was for a high-density oasis of 102 intimate “patio garden homes”, accessed by open walkways and set at different heights above a perimeter of street-level shops and an underground car park.
The top floor — once a commercial area — has been converted into swish two-bedroom apartments for sale.
The resourceful redevelopment by architects FCH has created a new in-keeping wall of glass that throws light into a dark corner of the estate, right above the entrance ramp to the car park. Terraces allow glimpses of Covent Garden rooftops, while a dead communal area has been requisitioned to create an airy entrance lobby for one of the apartments.
It is an amazing example of how value can be created out of a seemingly unpromising space. These new apartments, pictured, are probably more luxurious, certainly more expensive, than any others on the estate, which is gated after 8pm.
Most of the original flats have been snapped up under right-to-buy and some are sub-let, but it remains a mixed, rooted community of residents. “It’s not scary and has evolved like an established garden,” says one long-time resident.
And what will a home on this council estate cost you? Prices range from £1.85 million to £2.25 million. Call CBRE on 020 7420 3050.
One-bedroom resales on the estate cost from £785,000, according to Foxtons.