Changing skins - Living in a converted home

Posted 2 September 2016 by Ben Salisbury

Many new residential homes now available have an amazing history and were used for another purpose before being given a new lease of life...

The history of the property you live in can be very interesting and the changing use of buildings is a vital part of the nation’s housing stock, particularly with the shortage of new residential housebuilding.

Properties that were formerly used for another purpose provide a fascinating history, whether it be former mills or oast houses or whole developments sited on former hospitals or even churches!

Redefining former buildings is a key element of urban regeneration and is used extensively in the UK. For instance, the Docklands area of London was changed beyond all recognition in the late 1980’s and 1990’s as the area was redeveloped to provide new living space and office space that has helped establish London as one of the biggest financial centres in the world.

Living in a home that had an unusual past or played a key role in the community gives the property a talking point and can often mean that original features have been maintained to provide a link back to the past.

We have picked five examples of new homes that are situated on land that was used for another purpose and has been redeveloped. All of these developments have been nominated for the WhatHouse? Awards 2016


St Agnes Place, Lambeth (L&Q)

St Agnes Place (L&Q)This development is housed on the site of an old squat that took up residence in Georgian-inspired buildings in the heart of Kennington.

Continuing the theme of multi-occupancy established by the squat, St Agnes Place offers eight Shared Ownership homes, including six three-bedroom townhouses, designed for families and extremely rare in London.

Historically, the site contained 21 Victorian houses which were built to house families of servants working at Buckingham Palace but were taken over by squatters in 1969 after Lambeth Council bought up the properties as part of a scheme to redevelop Kennington Park. When this project ran into difficulties, squatters moved in and established what was to become London’s longest running squat until the Council successfully applied for a demolition order for the street.

The new development’s homes are fitted to a high standard for contemporary living with three-bedroom townhouses set across three floors with large sash windows and high ceilings to give a sense of space and with parking and a courtyard garden.

Prices: From £125,000 for a 25% share of an apartment

Find out more www.stagnesplace.co.uk ; 03330 033660


Park Hill, Sheffield (Urban Splash)

Park Hill (Urban Splash)The development has transformed what was a notorious housing estate in the 1980’s into a new high quality urban living space.

The community, local government and English Heritage worked together to decide on its future and after receiving Grade II listed status in 1998, Urban Splash stepped in to take this iconic building and turn it into a new residential and commercial space for a range of occupiers.

So far, 260 one- and two-bedroom apartments have been launched with some available through the Government’s Help to Buy scheme.

Because it is a culturally important building the design had to be of a high standard and sympathetic by preserving as much of the original structure while also signalling transformational change.

Prices: From £100,000

Find out more: www.urbansplash.co.uk ; 0114 3030375


Brackenbury Grove, London (One Housing)

Brackenbury Grove (One Housing)This high-end conversion is in West London and is a secluded gated development offering a range of 65 houses, apartments and commercial units.

Brackenbury Grove was built on the site of a disused industrial workshop and has low building heights as before so that it remains tucked away between a primary school and historic townhouses.

The new homes have high specifications and the rooms combine luxury with practicality and each private property has a detached parking space in a secure underground car park, rare for a development in such a congested area. All but three homes have a private outdoor space, either a courtyard, balcony or terrace.

Prices: TBC

Find out more: www.onehousing.co.uk ; 0300 1239966


Liberton Grange, Edinburgh (CALA Homes East)

Liberton Grange (CALA Homes East)This regeneration of the disused water treatment works at Alnwickhill which was a major facility serving large parts of the city’s population for many years.

It became available to developers CALA after Scottish Water created a new water treatment works in Glencorse, Midlothian. The site is of historical importance and had three listed structures including a ‘serviced reservoir’, a huge underground water tank that held millions of gallons of clean drinking water for the population.

Two B-listed pump house pavilions have also been retained and serve as a reminder of the site’s rich industrial heritage.

The development provides a range of four and five bedroom detached properties, three bedroom terraced homes and a range of bespoke apartments with spacious layouts and light-filled interiors.

Prices: From £565,000

Find out more about Liberton Grange from CALA Homes


Royal Arsenal Riverside, London (Berkeley Homes East Thames)

Royal Arsenal Riverside (Berkeley Homes)​Last year saw the halfway point reached in a huge 30-year, £1.2b regeneration of a disused and derelict munitions site in South East London.

The Ministry of Defence’s (MOD) former Royal Arsenal site in Woolwich contains beautiful listed buildings dating from the 17th century and is now being transformed into a new leisure, retail and cultural destination on the banks of the River Thames.

The new development aims to foster a strong community spirit which is evident in the fact that many of the more than 5,000 people who live there also work there too and there are many community events.

In an area where social housing needs are dominant, the site has delivered 467 new homes in the 18 months to 30 June 2016 for a mix of tenures, including affordable and extra care units and homes for the over-55’s.

Prices: From £440,000

Find out more about Royal Arsenal Riverside from Berkeley Homes


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