Johannesburg, Rio, Lechlade? Gated living comes to the Cotswolds

London property mogul opens secure estate aimed at A-listers in rural Gloucestershire

With their 24-hour security and liveried guards, gated communities have long appealed to safety-conscious urbanites with big wallets. Now it seems the allure of expensive housing protected by fencing and a manned gatehouse has spread to a less edgy corner of Britain – the rural Cotswolds.

With the sort of stylish discretion to be expected of a development at which properties start at £800,000 and boast a choice of interiors designed by Jade Jagger or Philippe Starck, the Lakes By Yoo has quietly opened for business in 650 acres of prime Gloucestershire countryside. The honey-coloured stone cottages, manicured villages and convenience of a 90-minute drive from deepest Notting Hill have already attracted the likes of Kate Winslet, Liz Hurley and Kate Moss. But the latest building project represents a new front in what some complain is the creeping colonisation of the picturesque area by monied second-homers.

The scheme, built around six lakes on a former farm and quarry close to the town of Fairford, is the brainchild of property mogul Anton Bilton and his business partner John Hitchcox, once described as "the Prada of the property industry", and features 30 ultra-modern timber-and-glass lodges built as holiday or weekend boltholes with price tags ranging from £800,000 to £3m. Recent visitors include the actor Kevin Spacey and DJ Pete Tong.

Planners have granted permission for up to 160 houses on the site, described as "a gated community with 24-hour security and the highest level of concierge service". Add to this a tantalising thread of innocence in a carefully conserved rural idyll and the developers believe they have hit on an intoxicating formula. Complete with a stretch of river stocked with fish and a teepee village, the development is marketed as a place for children to live "the Swallows and Amazons adventure" and for clients, from stockbrokers to celebrities, to "enjoy Saturday night barbecues of freshly caught crayfish at the fishing hut".

In an interview this month, Mr Bilton, who is married to the American-born actress Lisa B and is the grandson of Percy Bilton, founder of one of Britain's largest construction and property empires, said: "The idea was to create a wonderful environment where kids can be outside playing with sticks or swimming, but where there's no fear of crime; where it's relaxed and very, very nature driven."

While the developers have been at pains to reach out beyond their gatehouse to the surrounding community, employing about 60 people, the path to success has not been entirely smooth. In January, residents and councillors raised objections to the number of solariums being added to the lodges. Teresa Griffin, from Kempsford Parish Council, said: "They look more at home in an urban environment rather than the rural Cotswolds."

The arrival of additional holiday homes has also fuelled the debate about a shortage of affordable housing in the area. Paul Hodgkinson, leader of the Liberal Democrat group on Cotswold District Council, failed last year to obtain a moratorium on the granting of consents for new second homes. He said: "What has been allowed to happen in this area in recent years is a tragedy for young people who want to remain close to where they were born and is storing up a major demographic crisis for the Cotswolds. The housing market locally is now hopelessly out of balance."

Perhaps aware of the perils of being perceived as a ghetto for a privileged few, Lakes For Yoo has donated £10,000 awarded to it in a planning dispute back to the local community and sponsored events including a new music festival.

Mr Hitchcox said: "We believe passionately in supporting the local community, whether it be through using local businesses and services or supporting the arts."

News
The Banksy image in Folkestone before it was vandalised
people
Life and Style
tech

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts

Sport
Louis van Gaal at the Hawthorns prior to Manchester United's game against West Brom
football

Follow the latest updates from the Monday night Premier League fixture

News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
Brian Harvey turned up at Downing Street today demanding to speak to the Prime Minister
news

Met Police confirm there was a 'minor disturbance' and no-one was arrested

Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010
films

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Voices
Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'
voices

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

News
Blackpool is expected to become one of the first places to introduce the Government’s controversial new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)
news

Concerns raised phenomenon is threatening resort's image as a family destination

Life and Style
gaming

I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Year 5 Teacher

£80 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Year 5 Teacher KS2 teaching job...

Software Developer

£35000 - £45000 Per Annum Pensions Scheme After 6 Months: Clearwater People So...

Systems Analyst / Business Analyst - Central London

£35000 - £37000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Analyst / Busines...

Senior Change Engineer (Network, Cisco, Juniper) £30k

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Senior Change ...

Day In a Page

Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

Terry Venables column

Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

Michael Calvin's Inside Word

Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past