More For Your Money: West Kilburn W10

An ideal home for first-timers
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The Independent Online

West, as its name indicates, of Kilburn and also of Maida Vale, this chunk of W10 is nowadays a province of its trendy neighbours to the south.

"West Kilburn attracts first-timers who are priced out of Notting Hill and North Kensington but want to be relatively central," says estate agent Russell Hunt of Bective Leslie Marsh. "It is popular with young professionals in their early 30s who like the fact that they are just round the corner from the bars and restaurants of Notting Hill. The many cottages here also attract couples who want more space and a garden. However, the terraced cottages are quite small, so they tend to move out once they start a family."

West Kilburn has some modern buildings, including council tower blocks, but its core is the massive Queen's Park Estate, consisting of 2,000 Victorian terraced houses built after 1874. Now a conservation area, the estate is often confused with the similarly named and nearby Queen's Park Conservation Area, which also contains period homes but is posher and pricier. Both conservation areas contain a park named Queen's Park, which compounds the confusion.

Proximity to Notting Hill certainly played a role in luring the Fraccari family to the Queen's Park Estate from the house in Isleworth where they had been living for 20 years. Pietro Fraccari owns Assaggi, a restaurant on Chepstow Place in Notting Hill, and his daughter Raquel attends Sion-Manning Roman Catholic school in West Kilburn.

"I wanted all of us to be in the same area so that we could be near one another during the day," he notes. "We wanted a house with a garden instead of a flat, and it took us nearly a year to find. We looked in Hammersmith, Shepherd's Bush, Chiswick, Uxbridge Road and Acton. Some were too expensive, and the more affordable areas were too far away. Areas like Fulham had horrendous traffic."

Working in Notting Hill but living in an area with a more diverse population has appeal for a family that is itself multi-ethnic.

"Westbourne Grove and Notting Hill are fashionable but many people are not really living there," says Pietro. "They are parading. West Kilburn is very ethnic with renters and working class people. My daughter, whom we adopted, is Chinese. I am Italian and my wife is Spanish."

What are the prices like?

"West Kilburn is still about 20 per cent cheaper than neighbouring Ladbroke Grove but the gap between the two is narrowing," notes Hunt. One-bed flats cost about £200,000; two-beds are £250,000, and a two- or three-bed terraced cottage complete with small rear garden will start at around £330,000 or £360,000.

What properties are available?

Although terraces differ from one another, overall the Queen's Park Estate houses are similar in style, scale and materials. The cottages boast gothic details such as gabled porches, classical columns, turreted roofs and gables and decorative brickwork. Most of the larger houses were converted into flats before the estate was designated a conservation area (1978), and many homes still need modernisation.

What do flats cost?

A raised ground-floor studio flat in a period conversion with communal garden on Shirland Road is £124,995; a two-bed split-level conversion on the second floor in a semi-detached building on Ashmore Road is £219,950; agent for both is Westways.

What about houses?

A three-double-bed 900 square foot house with patio on Droop Street is £390,000 at Bective Leslie Marsh. A three-bed corner Victorian cottage with two dual-aspect bedrooms, conservatory and landscaped 25ft patio garden is £392,500 at Richard Bruce. A four-bed house with large garden on Harvist Road is £675,000 at Faron Sutaria.

What about transport?

Train stations serving this area are Queen's Park (Bakerloo and Silverlink North London Line), Westbourne Park (Hammersmith & City Line), and Warwick Avenue and Maida Vale (Bakerloo).

Isn't the Queen's Park Estate a local authority development?

For a time it was run by the City of Westminster. However, it was built by the Artisans' Labourers' and General Dwellings Company, who acquired the 80-acre site for housing for industrial workers. Fifty-three properties have Grade II listings. The Second World War cost the estate its iron railings (requisitioned for the war effort) and several roads were damaged by bombing. Some refurbished properties are run by housing associations, which acquired them from the council.

Shopping

Ladbroke Grove has a Sainsbury, and Salusbury Road has a range of shops and trendy bars and cafés. Local shopping is available in Harrow Road and in Notting Hill and Kensal Rise.

What about other amenities generally?

W10's small Queen's Park extends from Third to Fourth Avenue. The much larger (30 acres) Queen's Park to the north has tennis courts, a bandstand, a children's farm and other facilities. The large Paddington recreational facilities are to the east. The congestion charge area may be extended to Harrow Road, which "would be the main route for diverting traffic," says Transport for London.

And one for the pub quiz

What is the name of another large estate built by the Artisans' Labourers' and General Dwellings Company, and where is it?

Answer: The Shaftesbury Park Estate is in Wandsworth.

Bective Leslie Marsh 020 7221 0330; Faron Sutaria 020 7229 2404; Richard Bruce 020 8969 6696; Westways 020 7286 5757

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