‘Playing fields grab’ scheme’s go-ahead

One of London’s most eagerly anticipated — and controversial — new luxury housing developments, on land bought from Holland Park School, has been approved
New luxury homes development on land bought from Holland Park School
One of London’s most eagerly anticipated — and controversial — new luxury housing developments (right), on land bought from Holland Park School, has been approved.

It will consist of 69 flats with an on-site spa, 24-hour security and penthouses with spectacular views, all built on land which once belonged to Kensington and Chelsea’s only state secondary school.

The £100m “playing field grab” outraged objectors, including the veteran Labour politician Tony Benn whose children were educated there.

The two acres on Campden Hill was sold off to help finance a new school building. Now it will be used to create 69 apartments in a “u” shaped brick and limestone block ranged around a courtyard with a central water feature.

Planning permission for the scheme was granted by Kensington and Chelsea Council earlier this month, and developers Native Land and Grosvenor say work on the three year build will begin in 2013.

The scheme has been tipped by Nick Candy as the most exciting prime development in central London since his own One Hyde Park scheme was launched earlier this year with one-bedroom flats selling for £6 million.

Alasdair Nicholls, Chief Executive of Native Land predicted: “The scheme will become the leading super prime development of the future.”

And Craig McWilliam, executive director of Grosvenor Developments, said the firm was prioritising top end schemes in London because of the “huge demand for luxury properties”, mainly from overseas buyers.

“Campden Hill is a world-class apartment scheme that will have international, as well as domestic, appeal,” he said.

London-wide the boom in demand for high end homes, fuelled by an influx of wealthy international buyers, has seen the number of £1m+ homes sold in the capital almost double in a year – despite the recession.

Research by Investec Specialist Private Bank found that while the lower and middle end of the market is floundering, some 4,530 seven figure properties exchanged hands in London last year, compared to 2,874 in 2009.

And locations like Camden Hill are especially popular. One in five of the seven-figure sales were within Kensington and Chelsea.

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