More For Your Money: Barons Court W14

Anyone for tennis at Queen's?
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The Independent Online

Known to many people only as an Underground station as they whizz to or from Heathrow, Barons Court is a curate's egg as a residential district. Good in parts, its best roads have well-maintained houses and conversion flats on pleasant, leafy roads. Closer to North End Road, the going gets dismal.

"Barons Court is surrounded by much pricier areas," says Joe Shrimpton, the manager of estate agent Faron Sutaria. "Fulham to the south, Brook Green to the north, and Kensington and Earls Court to the east are also more expensive. But Barons Court has the same late-Victorian stucco-fronted houses with high ceilings and lots of style that you find in those areas."

The EU Commissioner for Trade, Peter Mandelson, lived on Archel Road after he decamped from Notting Hill.

For one week every year, the Tube station earns its keep as tennis fans flock to Queen's Club for a pre-Wimbledon grass-court tournament. When the Lawn Tennis Association put the club on the market, it was coveted by its members and property developers alike, and the former prevailed. "People in the area were very interested in what happened at Queen's and did not want it developed," Shrimpton says. "They feel that it brings glamour and kudos to the area."

"Queen's Club is my garden," says John Dawson, a City broadcast journalist who found his one-bed conversion flat on Comeragh Road by pure fluke. "I'd looked at about 25 flats in Hammersmith, Shepherd's Bush and other areas. One day I went to Barons Court to watch a football match in a pub and had an hour to kill. I walked into Shaw's estate agents, saw three flats in an hour, and bought one. My flat appealed immediately because it overlooks the tennis courts."

Eager to get on to the property ladder, Dawson bought a wreck, and he spent another 20 per cent of the purchase price on refurbishment. "You see a lot of skips where people are doing up their properties. Many owners are also repairing and repointing the brickwork and smartening up the front entrances. Flat owners in conversion blocks are chipping in."

Dawson's road is quiet, pleasant and safe, but nearby roads tell a different story. "A friend of mine was going to buy the flat he was renting on Margravine Road but he was burgled three time in one year," says Dawson. "He's a burly guy but he moved to a gated community."

What is the basic property scene in Barons Court?

On the bottom rung of the property ladder is a purpose-built one-bed flat for £160,000 being sold by Foxtons, and one-bed conversions from £212,000. Large ex-council flats start in the low £200,000s, and on the other extreme, period terraces sell for between £600,000 and £900,000. The large resident-owned Queen's Club Gardens is a series of mansion blocks surrounding a communal green with tennis courts. Faron Sutaria is selling a two-bed for £270,000, and Foxtons is selling two- and three-bed flats between £360,000 and £450,000.

What about flats?

A large three-bed split-level flat that has two allocated parking spaces and a terrace that, at 19ft by 12ft, is as large as many house gardens in west London, is for sale in a council block on Cheesemans Terrace, not far from Archel Road, for £330,000. On Comeragh Road, a double-bed flat with stripped wood floors and generally in excellent nick with a dining-area bay and a decked roof terrace is for sale at £245,000; both at Faron Sutaria.

What about houses?

On Perham Road, which is on a small and very popular grid of period roads immediately east of Queen's Club, a five-bedroom period house in excellent condition that has no garden but is compensated by having a large roof terrace, is for sale at £665,000. Another period stunner on Chesson Road is for sale at £695,000; both at Faron.

What about Archel Road?

When Peter Mandelson lived here, he was Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, and this road enjoyed constant police surveillance. Today, a well-maintained two-bedroom basement conversion flat with a partly decked south-facing garden is for sale at £395,000. A three-bed 1,100sq ft conversion on three storeys with no garden is £465,000, both at Faron Sutaria.

What about transport?

Barons Court Tube on the Piccadilly and District Lines is in Zone 2. The busy A4 Talgarth Road (Cromwell Road further east) becomes the M4 en route to Heathrow and the M25.

How's the shopping?

John Dawson raves about his local butcher, French pastry shop, pub, off licence and dry cleaner. Nearby are 24-hour and large superstores, and North End Road has stalls as well as a large shopping parade.

Tell me more about Queen's Club...

Founded in 1886, the club has 45 courts, including 12 grass courts and real tennis, rackets and squash courts. Pending final court approval, club members will buy its lease for £45m.

And one for the pub quiz...

A Victorian studio house on Talgarth Road has what important link with British ballet?

Estate agents: Faron Sutaria, 020-7348 0016; Foxtons, 020-7565 4000; Shaw, 0845 337 0769