Work has finally begun on a development of 36 affordable luxury apartments at a former mental hospital that will be sold exclusively to foreign investors, reports local correspondent Allie Bourne.
It was revealed back in July that a Saudi-based private equity firm had successfully negotiated for the apartments with the London Borough of Bluelands in a deal rumoured to be worth an undisclosed sum. The apartments will fulfil the growing need for affordable housing in Bluelands specifically for foreign investors. Prices start at just over 1.5 million pounds.
Architects Mansfield and Mansfield impressed the planners with their bold yet culturally sensitive proposal. Partner in the local firm, Nathaniel Mansfield, said yesterday, “We are delighted to be working on such an important project for Bluelands. There simply aren’t enough luxury residences in London, and one cannot help but feel sympathy for those who contribute practically nothing to the British economy, yet still wish to expand their bulging property portfolios. It is hoped that the lucky buyers will enjoy not living in Laudanum House for at least 10 months of the year, secure in the knowledge that their little investment is growing exponentially and keeping the lower classes out of the neighbourhood.”
The deal does, however, include an agreement by the developers to fund a publicly accessible terraced garden that will be created in the old grounds of Laudanum House.
Award winning garden designer Crispin Harbinger, whose ambitious design includes a covered summer-only champagne bar with teak benches decorated in Shantung silk cushions, an aromatherapy arbour, and a Koi carp lagoon, says “Visitors to the garden can enjoy my centrepiece fountain, constructed in an Early Rococo aesthetic from Carrara marble with cast bronze figures. There is a beautiful view over Darke Park and beyond, but residents won’t need to worry that the council estate tower block at Night Heights will be visible, as I’m planting a weeping willow spinney to block the view.”
The gardens will be for the general public to enjoy, not just the residents, who will each have keys for when the gardens are closed to the public. Public access to the gardens will be between the hours of 7am and 9am Monday to Thursday during the summer, and 8am to 10am Monday to Thursday in winter. Closed on Bank Holidays.
Entry is free, but visitors must register online so that they can book their allotted time slot of 20 minutes. CCTV will line walkways to prevent the inevitable vandalism that results from opening nice places to common people, and littering will be punishable with fixed penalty notices.