New Homes Awards 2012: the best of the best

David Spittles showcases the winners of this year's New Homes Awards - London’s property Oscars
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NEO Bankside, 50-70 Holland Street, SE1
By Native Land and Grosvenor

NEO Bankside
Grand prix 2012 winner and best new development by a large developer: NEO Bankside, SE1

NEO Bankside
NEO Bankside has five 24-storey towers with glass façades
Regeneration of Southwark’s waterfront has been one of London’s development highlights in recent years. Tate Modern, the Millennium Bridge, Globe Theatre, Borough Market, City Hall and the gleaming office complex alongside it — and now the Shard of Glass — all have helped shift London’s centre of gravity, propelling the SE1 postcode into property’s premier league.

Tellingly, even the Duke of Westminster’s property company, Grosvenor, has ventured south of the river for the first time to invest in this phoenix-like new neighbourhood.

NEO Bankside, close to completion right alongside Tate Modern, has raised the bar: five glass-facade towers — or “pavilions” — rising to 24 storeys and containing 217 apartments, including spectacular duplex penthouses, with up to four bedrooms.

The design incorporates glass lifts, while flats have winter gardens (enclosed balconies) suspended from the main structure, offering breathtaking views of the river and City skyline. Upper-floor premium flats start at £3.5 million. Call 020 7998 1888.

Winner: 37 Loom Lane, Radlett, Hertfordshire. By Octagon

37 Loom Lane
Best New Luxury Home: 37 Loom Lane By Octagon

37 Loom Lane, Radlett, Herts
37 Loom Lane is a large mansion in Hertfordshire's affluent commuter belt
This large mansion in the affluent commuter belt north of London packs a real design punch, with an interior set to impress within 10,000 sq ft (five times the size of a typical London terrace home) of formal and informal space thoughtfully laid out to accommodate a modern lifestyle.

A dramatic circular entrance hall has a sweeping marble and walnut staircase that wraps around a two-storey Swarovski crystal chandelier, a “curve” design theme that is reprised in other areas of the house — an imaginative departure from the customary rectangular rooms found in most modern homes.

The ground floor includes an open-plan, part-glazed “super-room”, combining kitchen, day-room and family room opening on to a terrace and rear garden. Below this level is a lavish subterranean spa complex with a swimming pool and bar, wine cellar, cinema room and garaging. A lift serves all four levels, including seven luxurious bedroom suites on the top two floors.
“A tasteful and sophisticated family home of unbeatable quality,” was the judges’ verdict. For sale at £7.5 million, including furniture, furnishings and artworks. Call 020 8445 6387.

Highly commended: Walpole Mayfair, 4-5 Arlington Street, SW1. By Oliver Burns.

Winner: Lower Mill Estate, Somerford Keynes, Cirencester, Gloucestershire. By Lower Mill Estate

Lower Mill Estate
Best Waterside Home: Lower Mill Estate

The gently rolling hills and picture-postcard villages of the golden sandstone Cotswolds (England’s Provence) seem a million miles away from London. In fact, it’s an easy journey down the M4 and, as such, the region is a perfect place for people who want a reachable country weekend getaway and holiday home.

Lower Mill Estate is a 550-acre nature reserve and architectural showpiece that has emerged into a celebrity setting from an unlikely source: former gravel pits transformed into lakes and wildlife habitats.

Today this “Swallows and Amazons” haven offers a host of low-key outdoor pursuits — fishing, biking, riding, canoeing and the like. The River Thames passes through the estate and there are miles of exploration trails and tracks where the only vehicles permitted are those driven by game-wardens.

Being a lowland area, there are big, dramatic skies allowing light and colour to reflect off the water. Add aesthetically-pleasing homes with American and Scandinavian design influences, and it is a winning formula. Apartments and penthouses are also for sale, and 22 leading architects have been commissioned to design one-off “landmark” properties. Prices start at £295,000. 
Grange Garden, SE1
Best large development by a smaller developer: Grange Garden, SE1

Winner (by a smaller developer): Grange Garden, 1 Haven Way, SE1. By Union Developments

Bermondsey has joined the ranks of London’s “smart set”, attracting City boys and creative types.

Though in a slightly off-pitch location, away from the more expensive riverfront, Grange Garden has struck a chord with young buyers.

There are 90 flats, plus a Japanese garden courtyard, a club room, screening room, sommeliers’ wine room, free bicycles, 24-hour concierge and even refrigerated delivery docks for internet deliveries. All are sold but the developer has another scheme in Kentish Town.

79 Fermoy Road, W9
Best first-time buy (smaller developer): 79 Fermoy Road, W9

Winner (by a smaller developer): 79 Fermoy Road, W9. By Pocket and Darling Associates

Pocket, a new private affordable housing provider set up by a former City financier, has devised a well-thought-out business model requiring no public subsidy that aims to deliver hundreds of new first-time buyer homes across London during the next decade.

The Pocket “brand” is aptly named: small homes on small sites at small prices (typically 20 per cent below local market values).

Fermoy Road (pictured) is a 32-apartment eco-project squeezed on to a site in the north-western corner of the borough of Westminster.

Compact but creatively designed, the one-bedroom flats have underfloor heating, built-in wardrobes and floor-to-ceiling windows. All are sold.

Winner (by a larger developer): Kidbrooke Village, SE9. By Berkeley Urban Renaissance

Kidbrooke Village, SE9
Best first-time buy (larger developer): Kidbrooke Village, SE9

Bordering prosperous Blackheath, Kidbrooke Village is one of Europe’s biggest and most ambitious housing regeneration programmes. Demolition of a sprawling, troubled council estate is bringing new life to a depressed area.

Berkeley Homes is spearheading the 2,475 new homes project and bringing its customary good styling. City Point, the first phase, has apartments and mews houses. Prices start at £220,000. Call 020 8331 7130.

Highly commended: Olympus Apartments, 69 Fairfield Road, Bow E3. By Swan Housing Group, Stock Woolstencroft and Galliford Try

Highly commended: The Mews, Gilbert Street, Enfield. By Origin Housing

Winner (more than £1 million): West Wing 1, Balls Park, Hertford. By City & Country Group

West Wing 1, Balls Park
Best apartment: West Wing 1, Balls Park, Hertford

A truly grand home created within a prized Jacobean mansion, set in the gated 63-acre Balls Park estate, a regular film location for television dramas.

Because of the mansion’s Grade-I listed status, most of the living spaces have been kept at their original size rather than sub-divided, with apartments ranging up to 3,000sq ft. Historical architectural features include intricately-carved oak-panelled walls, parquet flooring, magnificent fireplaces and ornate plaster mouldings. A superb galleried, marble-floored atrium has been exquisitely-restored as a reception lobby for residents.

A stable block has also been converted into luxury apartments and courtyard houses (40 homes in total). Prices start at £210,000 and rise to more than £1.35 million. Call 01992 551777.

Winner (less than £1 million): Ludus, South Road, Saffron Walden, Essex. By Higgins Homes

This pretty Victorian school conversion in the medieval market town of Saffron Walden entailed reconfiguring 34 classrooms and numerous corridors into intelligently-designed apartments.

Restoration of the school’s original main entrance, warm red-brick façade and impressive arched double-height windows facing on to a central courtyard was equally challenging.

The result is 22 bright and well-finished apartments in the former school — plus 15 new-build houses in the grounds. Prices from £249,950. Call 01799 520470.

Highly commended: Grange Garden, 1 Haven Way, Bermondsey, SE1 — by Union Developments.

Highly commended: Apartment 49, Central St Giles, WC2. By United House Developments.

Winner: Walpole Mayfair, 4-5 Arlington Street, SW1

Walpole Mayfair
Best penthouse: Walpole Mayfair, SW1

London is bristling with new penthouses — a reflection of the high-end money pouring into posh postcodes and the feel-good factor in inner-city zones where jazzy new skyscrapers are popping up.

A glamorous penthouse with oceans of outside space and commanding views of the capital’s iconic buildings is the ultimate London lair. Families do not buy penthouses and rarely do investors. Purchasers are normally single — bachelors, single professional working women or couples. And seldom are penthouses bought “off-plan”. Buyers want fully “dressed” rather than naked penthouses, with bespoke interior design and, at the top end, commissioned artworks.

The one at Walpole Mayfair ticks all these boxes. The magnificent triplex is perched at the top of a listed Georgian house next to the Ritz Hotel and has two roof terraces and a stunning, highly-individual, contemporary-design interior of the finest quality with a private lift direct into the principal open-plan living space.

It was snapped up by a British buyer, who is thought to have paid over £20 million (or £4,542 per sq ft), a record price for Mayfair.

Highly commended: Grange Garden, 1 Haven Way, Bermondsey, SE1. By Union Developments.

BEST FAMILY HOME: up to three bedrooms
Winner: Parsons Gate Mews, Fulham, SW6. By Taylor Wimpey

The enduring charm of the traditional mews house (with integral garage), updated with modern design elements and finishes, unites harmoniously at this niche scheme of eight homes on the sought-after Peterborough Estate in Fulham.

Highly commended: The Bartley, Wye Dene, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. By St James.

The Villa, Sherfield Park
Best family home (more than three bedrooms - less than £1 million): The Villa, Sherfield Park, Basingstoke, Hampshire

BEST FAMILY HOME: more than three bedrooms
Winner (less than £1 million): The Villa, Sherfield Park, Basingstoke, Hampshire. By Croudace Homes

This thoughtfully-designed 1,982 sq ft Victorian-style townhouse has a self-contained 304 sq ft studio above the double garage in the rear garden, a useful and flexible addition to a home priced under £500,000.

BEST FAMILY HOME: more than three bedrooms
Winner (more than £1 million): Beech House, Boars Hill, Oxfordshire. By Millgate Homes

This solidly traditional six-bedroom house sits in a 2.5-acre plot bordering ancient woodland and has views across Oxford’s historic Old Golf Course. The house is designed for a large family wanting to put down roots. Flexible floor layouts provide space for entertaining and there is an outdoor pool and pool house plus use of a private tennis court. The price is £3.95 million.

Highly commended: Edgbaston, Brooklands, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire. By Places for People.

Highly commended: 2 Langham House, Esher, Surrey. By Hyatt Group.

Dunedin Mews, SW2
Best small development (by a smaller developer): Dunedin Mews, SW2

Winner (by a smaller developer): Dunedin Mews, SW2. By Leathwaite Development

Resourcefully squeezed on to an unpromising site of former backstreet garages in south-west London, this scheme of two duplex apartments and a penthouse punches above its weight.

The bold contemporary architecture conceals an advanced construction system of polystyrene and concrete giving low-energy homes dramatically reduced running costs.

Winner (by a larger developer): Churchway, Euston Road, NW1. By Origin Housing

Traditionally, Euston has been a place to pass through rather than a place to live. But redevelopment of listed Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Women’s Hospital has greatly improved a formerly scruffy patch moments from the station. The scheme comprises 47 homes, a new headquarters for Unison, a gallery and exhibition space.

Despite these disparate elements, the buildings integrate seamlessly by virtue of a “village square” concept — an open atrium, surrounded by the public spaces, with glazed cafés and restaurants allowing clear views in and out to the street.
The new residential buildings include Churchway, a gated, low-rise mews-style group of 17 affordable (shared ownership) homes connected to the restored red-brick hospital by an open courtyard, a continuation of the atrium space, with natural stone paving, planters, seating and feature lighting.

Highly commended: Aylwins, Mayfield, East Sussex. By Newcourt Residential Ltd.

Highly commended: The Woodcrofts, Buntingford, Hertfordshire. By Weston Homes.

Winner: (by a smaller developer) Hays Mews, Mayfair, W1, By The Malins Group

Hays Mews, Mayfair, W1
Best conversion (by a smaller developer): Hays Mews, Mayfair, W1

Tucked away behind Berkeley Square, this transformation of a dilapidated narrow six-storey building has created 3,325 sq ft of highly usable space, including a basement media room, a street-level garage and a roof terrace.

Winner: (by a larger developer) Ludus, South Road, Saffron Walden, Essex. By Higgins Homes (as before)

Highly commended: Balls Park, Hertford. By City & Country Group.

Highly commended: Allen Gardens, 40-46 Manor Road, Stoke Newington, N16. By One Housing Group.

Winner: Packington Square, Prebend Street, N1. By Hyde Group

After the system-built systems of the Sixties, today, the emphasis is on clusters of low-rise buildings and more varied design — houses with roof gardens, family flats and flexible “lifetime homes” that can be adapted to suit occupiers’ changing needs.
Packington Square, near Angel, Islington, is a redevelopment of a former council estate bordering Regent’s Canal and gentrified Georgian terraces. Hyde is creating a complete new neighbourhood, with 798 mixed-tenure properties fronting the canal and grouped around public squares and a park. A second phase of private apartments will be released for sale in 2013. Visit

Highly commended: Kidbrooke Village, SE9. By Berkeley Urban Renaissance.

Highbury Gardens, N7
Best development in the affordable homes sector (larger developer): Highbury Gardens, N7

BEST DEVELOPMENT: in the affordable homes sector
Winner: (larger developer) Highbury Gardens, 52 Holloway Road, N7. By First Base

This affordable homes development (right) was judged “best place to live” in the Mayor’s London Planning Awards and praised for its elegant and green design.

Self-styled as a “neo-classical development that brings a contemporary twist to the traditional mansion block”, it also claims to be the only scheme in London with a croquet lawn. Apartments (119 in total, a mix of private sale, shared ownership and rented) overlook a large and tranquil inner courtyard garden, which resembles a secluded private square.

Winner (smaller developer): 79 Fermoy Road, W9. By Pocket (as before).

Highly commended: Peel House, Regency Street, SW1. By Darling Associates and Project Grande.

Highly commended: Putney Hill, Putney, SW15. By A2 Dominion.

Winner: Lower Mill Estate (as before).

Highly commended: Fabrik, 116 Coldharbour Lane, SE5 By Notting Hill Housing Group.

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