More For Your Money: Spring Grove, TW7

It's cheaper than Chiswick - but has just as much green, open space. Robert Leibman discovers the charms of Spring Grove

Wednesday 22 November 2006 01:00 GMT

In contrast to Brentford's glorious and expensive 18th-century oasis, the Butts, and new luxury canalside flats, the Spring Grove conservation area is well hidden between the busy London Road and the even busier A4.

It harbours a clutch of period and Arts and Crafts style homes on wide tree-lined roads in an area with swathes of green open space.

The spire of St Mary's Church (1856) dominates the skyline, and there are two historic buildings. West Thames College now occupies the listed Spring Grove House, erstwhile home of the Pears soap family and botanist and explorer Sir Joseph Banks. And, although for now boarded up, the Jesuit training facility Campion House, which closed in 2004, is tipped for residential conversion.

Spring Grove enjoys National Rail and Tube services, and Heathrow is nearby, although some homes are under the flight path.

"Many of our buyers are young professional couples disillusioned by the higher prices in Chiswick and Ealing," says Justin Stevenson of Townends. "Here they can get a cottage instead of a flat, or a large house instead of a small one. Many of them trade up after they start having children."

One resident who stayed and raised and educated his children here is David Pavett: "I moved here 20 years ago purely to be near work. I used to teach physics and maths at West Thames College. Initially I wasn't keen but we have attractive houses, the area is safe and I grew to like it."

Now, though, he is worried. More than 350 units, many of them flats and social housing, are being built on the former Brunel University site, and Try Homes has submitted proposals for 273 homes at Campion House.

David lives in an Edwardian house opposite Campion House, and he has formed a residents' group to try to prevent the developer from building too high, or too much.

"We are not Nimbys and we don't oppose new flats," he explains. "But this is a low-density family area with mostly three-storey buildings. We want the area's character to be preserved."

What is the property mix?

Mostly period houses and low-rise apartment blocks. The period homes were developed by Henry Davies in the early 1850s, primarily to house retired army officers in substantial villas. Davies himself lived in Thornbury (now Campion) House, but his scheme was only partially successful in attracting military retirees.

What do flats cost?

A raised ground-floor studio in a large four-storey Victorian conversion near West Thames College has ornate cornicing, communal gardens and a shower but, alas, no bath; £159,950 at Churchills. An additional £10,000 buys a one-bed ground-floor flat in a modern block with communal gardens and allocated parking in the conservation area near Isleworth station; agent is Anthony James Manser.

What about houses?

If you don't mind having the builders in to spruce up a tired property, Quilliam has a three-bed, two-reception Thirties house with a garden and garage near Isleworth station; £265,000.

A three-bed detached house on Worton Way has three receptions, integral garage, off-street parking and a large (for this area - 60 foot) landscaped garden. It is near Hounslow town centre and Hounslow East Piccadilly Line; £435,000 at Townends.

How convenient are the transport links?

Spring Grove's southern section is convenient for Isleworth National Rail, and the north and east for Osterley and Hounslow East Piccadilly Line stations. Syon Lane National Rail is on the eastern edge. A good bus service links Spring Grove with Chiswick and Hounslow.

What about outdoor life?

In a word, excellent. Located between Syon Park and Osterley House, Spring Grove has numerous recreation grounds and a neighbour in Wyke Green Golf Course. It is near the Grand Union Canal, with its rustic footpath, and the Thames and Brent Rivers. Syon Park has a butterfly house, and steam and music museums are near Kew Bridge.

Shops and restaurants

A Tesco supermarket is located on Syon Lane, on the eastern edge of Spring Grove. Hounslow's large shopping parade is just to the west of the area , and more upmarket shops and restaurants are in nearby Chiswick, Kew and Richmond.

How do the local schools perform?

Spring Grove Primary on Star Road and Alexandra Junior School on Denbigh Road score well above average for English, maths and science, whereas Isleworth and Syon Secondary on Ridgeway Road scores below average.

And one for the pub quiz...

Who did Sir Joseph Banks travel with - Darwin on the Beagle; Cook on the Endeavour or Edwards on Maiden? Answer below.

Anthony James Manser, 020-8847 0488; Quilliam, 020-8847 4737; Townends, 020-8568 2929.

Cook on the Endeavour

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