Hot Spot: Weybridge, Surrey

Money can't buy you love, but it'll get you a posh house in glitzy St George's Hill. And if the budget's tight, there are alternatives for Weybridge's new wannabes, says Robert Liebman
Click to follow
The Independent Online

Blame The Beatles if you can't afford Weybridge: "St George's Hill has added to Weybridge's fame and fortune," explains Andrew Dewar of Curchods, the estate agents. "It has about 500 houses and the area truly became famous when a lot of 1960s pop stars such as John Lennon, Tom Jones and Cliff Richard bought properties there. It is a price magnet that keeps prices relatively high in Weybridge." Cheaper than Esher, Weybridge is more expensive than its alliterative next-door neighbour Walton, which was last week's Hot Spot.

Blame The Beatles if you can't afford Weybridge: "St George's Hill has added to Weybridge's fame and fortune," explains Andrew Dewar of Curchods, the estate agents. "It has about 500 houses and the area truly became famous when a lot of 1960s pop stars such as John Lennon, Tom Jones and Cliff Richard bought properties there. It is a price magnet that keeps prices relatively high in Weybridge." Cheaper than Esher, Weybridge is more expensive than its alliterative next-door neighbour Walton, which was last week's Hot Spot.

High prices send some property buyers scampering from Esher to Weybridge, but Mr Dewar believes money is one of several factors: "Esher has mostly large houses on large plots, so if you are looking for a flat or smaller house, it might not exist in Esher. So these buyers come to Weybridge." They are spoilt for choice. "Weybridge is a very diverse community," says Simon Ashwell of Hampton's International. "Properties range from flats, Victorian villas and townhouses to larger detached Edwardian and Victorian houses plus the glitzy multi-million pound properties at St George's Hill.

"This diversity attracts a cosmopolitan range of buyers, many of whom cannot afford Esher, where it is difficult to find a house for under £500,000." Mr Dewar notes that "people are attracted to Weybridge primarily because of the schools or the transport links, and if they don't find a suitable property in Weybridge itself, their priority determines where they look next. Houses in nearby New Haw and Woodham tend to be cheaper because they are smaller, and the comprehensive school has an excellent reputation." Greenfield sites are virtually non-existent, but many new developments are planned. Octagon is converting two bungalows and a house into luxury flats, and Try Homes is doing the same with a primary school. Runnymede is transforming a hotel, and Charles Church is recycling a Victorian house. Bewley, Fairclough, Swan Hill, and Wilcon are also having a go.

Although Weybridge is on the Thames, riverside properties are scarce and, despite the recent deluges, highly prized. "When they come onto the market, add a premium of 20 to 25 per cent," says Mr Dewar. The floods are expected to effect riverside property generally, but so far in Weybridge they are perceived as safe - values here may even prosper compared with flooded areas.

The Low-Down

Transport

It takes abouthalf an hour to get to Waterloo, Heathrow or Gatwick. The A3, M3, M4 and M25 are nearby. For shopping, Kingston is nine miles away.

Prices

"£150,000 buys you a 1960s or 1970s 2-bed flat, probably in poor condition, up to £700,000 or more for a new-build penthouse," says Mr Dewar.

Properties

Small flats and starter homes sell for between £75,000 and £125,000, and standard suburban three- and four-bed homes are available for between £200,000 and £400,000. But the route to the million-pounders is paved with large detached homes selling for between £500,000 and £1m. With five or more bedrooms and several reception rooms, these houses also boast family rooms, large garages and other amenities in period properties with original features.

H2O

Forget the Thames. Byland Cottage in St George's Hill has only two bedrooms but comes with an S-shaped swimming pool outdoors and a whirlpool bath and Aqualisa power shower indoors; £750,000 at Hamptons International. In Weybridge and nearby villages such as Woodham, properties are available on smaller rivers (Mole and Wey) and a canal.

New houses

Developer Michael Shanly's three-storey town houses in Oatlands Village are priced from £380,000 to £444,950. Selling agents are Helas Wolf, 01932 820222. Bewley's Wentworth Dene is a gated development of large detached homes within walking distance of the village and train station; £600,000 (01932 858377).

New flats

Try Homes is replacing school-rooms with 24 luxury flats in Belvedere House on Churchfields Avenue; approximately £450,000. Three-bed and a sprinkling of two-bed flats are available in Octagon's Ormonde Place; from £450,000 to £575,000. Wilcon has two developments: Oakwood Grange, 18 flats and two penthouses (01489 585578) and Tudor Grange, 18 two-beds; £335,000 to £725,000 (01932 267309).

A Beatle wooed here

St George's Hill was shaking, rattling and rolling as early as the 17th century when the Diggers chose it for a commune. John Lennon clinched it with Yoko Ono at his home, Kenwood, where they recorded The Two Virgins album and were photographed in their birthday suits. Neighbours included Ringo Starr, Englebert Humperdinck and Gilbert O'Sullivan. There are now more bankers than boppers.

Brooklands museum

The former motor-racing course is a museum of cars and aircraft, including a Wellington bomber recovered from Loch Ness. The Elmbridge Borough Museum is also in Weybridge.

Contacts

Curchods and Runnymede, 01932 843322; Hamptons International, 01932 859933; John D Wood, 01932 842323; Mark Richmond and Octagon, 01932 353066; Townends, 01932 849323; Try, 01895 855001.

Comments