Some of the biggest names in architecture have been rolled out to redesign and regenerate one of north London's most notorious no-go zones — the South Kilburn Estate.
© Barry Phillips
It is an estate that made citizens of Brent shudder and yet its concrete high-rise towers overlook some of the most desirable real estate in London; two of its nearest neighbours are Maida Vale and Queen's Park.
The estate sits on "almost-prime" location land on the southernmost border of Brent. It is an area with huge potential. With encouraging foresight, Brent council has enlisted Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands and Alison Brooks to draw up its masterplan.
And Rick Mather, the architect redesigning Centre Point and the Southbank Centre, has also been at work on the estate. The first flats at his 134-home development, Bourne Place, go on sale later this month.
Some 29 of the units will be sold on a shared-ownership basis and the pricing is keen. Residents of the South Kilburn Estate are being rehoused, in stages, during the regeneration. They are being moved to other properties in the borough but will be given the opportunity to return to live in new, rented homes as they are built.
A 25 per cent share of a one-bedroom flat (measuring 55 square metres) starts from £72,500 while a share of a two-bedroom flat (measuring 80 square metres) starts at £93,750. The properties, each one with its own balcony, will be finished in January. Some overlook a grassy square at the centre of the scheme, while others have views of the Victorian homes on Kilburn Park Road.
Liz Talbot, marketing co-ordinator for housing association L&Q (lqgroup.org.uk), which is selling the flats, said: "You are really close to Kilburn Park Tube station, which is only 500 metres away, and you are on the edge of Westminster. Queen's Park is very nearby and you are also close to Paddington Rec."
Bakerloo line trains from Kilburn Park, in Zone 2, to Oxford Circus take about 25 minutes, which makes the area a great option for those who work in the West End. Alternatively, overground trains from Kilburn High Road to Euston take 11 minutes.
In terms of local facilities Kilburn High Road is a little too full of pound stores but the Tricycle Theatre is one of London's best off-West End venues and there is also a cinema, gallery and bar. Local pubs tend to be of the authentic — as opposed to themed — Irish variety.
Meet the neighbours: Maida Vale and Queen's Park
Maida Vale, in easy walking distance, is a different beast altogether, full of smart gastropubs such as The Waterway, and jolly neighbourhood restaurants such as The Red Pepper. Queen's Park — home to actors Daniel Craig, Thandie Newton and Jason Isaacs, and also an easy walk away — has more organic delicatessens than you could possibly want, plus some interesting independent boutiques and an award-winning farmers' market.
The downside — as with all regeneration zones — is, of course, that West Kilburn is still very much a work in progress. The regeneration, which will eventually include about 2,400 new homes, will take until about 2024. But for those with patience, an investment in a property in the area could pay dividends. "It is a case of buy now and wait for the prices to go up," predicted Talbot.