Commuter homes less than 60 minutes from Waterloo:military buildings make way for thousands of new homes from £235k in new-look Aldershot

Aldershot's new 4,000-home district is attracting London commuters thanks to 50-minute train links and good-value prices. 

Aldershot, the Hampshire garrison town that has been the “Home of the British Army” since 1854, has a new mission: to attract London commuters seeking an accessible, affordable family home in green and pleasant surroundings.

Leading the charge is the old barracks itself, a collection of fine listed buildings, part of the Aldershot Military Town conservation area. Set in 270 leafy acres, it’s on elevated land 10 minutes’ walk from the train station.

A break-up of the garrison has paved the way for a 3,850-home new district called Wellesley. The 20-year project is spearheaded by property company Grainger, which is putting in superfast broadband, converting older buildings and selling land to other developers to build homes to a design code. Grainger will remain as “estate manager” long after the homes are sold and rented.

The masterplan envisages a new community where houses have “cohesive architectural variety” and a mix of tenures. Maida, the first phase of 228 homes, focuses on value for money for growing families. Three-bedroom houses with front and back gardens and garage cost from £364,995. Call 0333 577 3135.

A splendid 19th-century educational institute, now a marketing suite, will become a neighbourhood centre for residents. Wellesley will also have two new primary schools, shops and offices, 800 allotments, parks, playing fields and 10 miles of woodland nature trails and cycle paths.

The original Aldershot parade ground will become a central square holding together the various zones of the new neighbourhood, defined by wide, tree-lined roads that are the legacy of having to accommodate tanks.

HERITAGE BUILDINGS

Sixties-built dormitories have been bulldozed, but heritage buildings are being converted into characterful new homes.

Cambridge Military Hospital, dating back to 1879 and with a design influenced by Florence Nightingale, is the jewel in the crown. It closed 20 years ago and had fallen into dereliction, but it had an awesome quarter mile-long ground-floor corridor, and the spacious wards off it had south-facing balconies to catch sunlight and allow soldiers to convalesce in fresh air.

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Homes with character:the five-bedroom Arnhem at Maida, by Bellway. Three-bedroom homes with front and back gardens start at £364,995 ()

Grainger is creating 134 homes, including a spectacular dwelling within the hospital clock tower. Elsewhere on the site, it is building new homes for private rent.

Listed Union Building on Hospital Hill is being turned into 17 apartments. The building pre-dates the barracks, hailing from the early 17th century. It survived the skirmishes of the English Civil War and was ravaged by fire in 1907, before being restored and taken over by the War Office in 1954. Prices from £235,000. Call 01252 361550.

With a 50-minute commute to Waterloo, Aldershot is part of a regional commercial hub that includes Farnborough’s hi-tech and aviation zone. The town centre is earmarked for an upgrade, with a heritage trail linking significant monuments and memorials.

A commuting bonus is the new 1.2-mile Hindhead Tunnel, which has solved the dire traffic snarl-ups on the A3 while preserving the Devil’s Punch Bowl, a dramatic natural amphitheatre.


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