Hot Spot: Sunninghill, Berks

Are there any good-value locations left in London's oversubscribed commuter belt? Robert Liebman thinks he may have found one
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The Independent Online

Good genes can get you impressively onto, and then up, the property ladder. When Prince Andrew married Sarah Ferguson, his mum gave him the plot of land and the wherewithal to build the 16-bedroom Sunninghill Park. More recently, the divorced Duke of York, who shares the house with his former wife and their two daughters, inherited the 30-room pink-hued Royal Lodge from his nan. The lodge clearly needs a lick of paint as well as other refurbishments, and Andrew needs to milk the sale of his current house for all it is worth to fund the renovations. There is little wiggle room in the £10m asking price.

Good genes can get you impressively onto, and then up, the property ladder. When Prince Andrew married Sarah Ferguson, his mum gave him the plot of land and the wherewithal to build the 16-bedroom Sunninghill Park. More recently, the divorced Duke of York, who shares the house with his former wife and their two daughters, inherited the 30-room pink-hued Royal Lodge from his nan. The lodge clearly needs a lick of paint as well as other refurbishments, and Andrew needs to milk the sale of his current house for all it is worth to fund the renovations. There is little wiggle room in the £10m asking price.

Princess Beatrice attends St George's in Ascot, and her younger sister Princess Eugenie will follow in her scholastic footsteps. In the Sunningdale area, Charters is the school that matters. "Charters School is the local comprehensive in Sunningdale, and it is seriously oversubscribed every year since gaining sports-college status, which means that the school received extra funding," says Colin Keating of Sapphire Estates. House prices in the Charters catchment area enjoy a premium of at least 20 per cent, with an average starting price of £300,000.

"I still consider Sunningdale underrated and good value, and it should maintain high value," Keating believes. "It is untroubled and unspoiled, has character and is very commutable. Lettings are starting to recover, and investment buyers are interested in the mostly lower-value two-bed flats and houses costing between £200,000 and £300,000. Nearby Windsor is blighted by airplane noise and is expensive, but Sunningdale does not have those shortcomings."

THE LOW-DOWN

Getting there

Sunningdale and Ascot to Waterloo are about 45 and 50 minutes respectively. Sunninghill has easy access to junctions 2 and 3 on the M3, and junctions 12 and 13 on the M25.

Attractions

Royal Ascot began yesterday and ends Saturday. Next year the glittery action shifts temporarily to York while Ascot gets a makeover. Nearby is Windsor racecourse on the Thames. Area golf courses include Sunningdale, Wentworth, and Berkshire, and polo enthusiasts congregate at Coworth Park, Guards Polo Club and The Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club. The younger set are entertained at Legoland.

Prices

A two-bed ground-floor flat in a modern block with patio area, allocated parking and communal gardens in a gated development near the train station, £225,000 at Sapphire. A two-bed third-floor flat with drawing room and garage in a three-storey mock-Tudor modern block is £395,000 at Edwards & Elliott.

Houses

A three-bed house in Sunninghill with courtyard garden is £269,950, at Sapphire. One Farm Close in Sunningdale is a two-double-bed Victorian semi with a 31ft open-plan reception room with large garden divided into a paved patio and lawn area, £299,950 at Edwards. A modern five-bed stone bungalow near Sunninghill High Street with detached double garage, £635,000 at Edwards.

Smart move

In the Charters catchment area, a three-bed detached Edwardian house with a rear garden is £342,950, and a new four-bed three-reception house with garage and galleried landing with balcony, £595,000 at Sapphire. A five-bed three-reception house with integral double garage in a cul de sac is £820,000 at Edwards.

Conversion

Dell Park consists of two period properties on nearly three acres. The property, which is on the edge of Windsor Great Park and was originally part of a larger estate acquired from the Crown, has a four-bed main house and two-bed lodge. The main house, a converted and extended Victorian apple store, has a heated swimming pool and three-car barn-conversion garage. Together they are selling for c.£2.5m, or as separate lots for £1.75 and £750,000; Harrods Estates (020-7225 6506).

New

Developer Heronsbrook's Charter's Gate has 19 units, comprising 13 four-bed townhouses, two-bed flats and two penthouses a short walk from Sunningdale station, from c.£425,000 (agents are FPDSavills, 01344 295355). Oriental Road between Sunningdale and Ascot is a development of three contemporary detached houses, on three levels, with very large game rooms, by Aggmore and Kenmore. Two are available; £845,000 and £855,000, at FPDSavills.

New one-off

Millgate's Asbury House is a five-bed two-reception detached house (smallest bedroom is 15ft by 12ft) with study, conservatory and double garage; £1.45m. Agents are Chancellors, 01344 620163.

Estate agents

Edwards & Elliott, 01344 876363; Sapphire, 01344 870100.

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