Firstly, the concierge here are absolutely fantastic – the friendliest and most helpful people I’ve ever had working in a concierge service, I would give them six stars out of five!
There’s an on-site gym which is better than any on-site or paid gym I’ve ever been to. It’s absolutely huge for an on-site gym, with all the latest equipment – even some stuff you don’t get in some paid gyms. There’s a “sky lounge” and several communal areas in the building which are just a brilliant addition and very convenient to have.
The flat in general looks amazing and is wonderful to live in. There are a lot of fantastic things about it. Unfortunately, I’m not impressed by Berkeley Homes’ quality control. Within weeks of being the first to move into the flat we’ve had fixtures and fittings falling apart or failing with barely any use, snagging issues that weren’t fixed, one of the shower heads leaking and some of the light sensors are badly placed/calibrated. We’ve also had issues with the design of the balcony which I personally think has been badly thought through. We have internal walls and ceilings making creaking noises when there are very high speed winds outside which is something I’ve only ever experienced in extremely old buildings before, and it’s loud enough to keep you awake sometimes. Berkeley Homes don’t seem bothered about fixing anything quickly, if at all.
Another thing that makes me question Berkeley’s ability to properly think through their design is that they obviously had a deal in place with Hyperoptic as the flat has it built-in. However, Berkeley have put the Hyperoptic socket in a utility cupboard in the middle of the hallway and installed the router in there too – right next to the installed piping for where you put your dishwasher and more piping that leads to the ventilation system and the water/electricity/heat meters. And guess what routers hate – (a) being stuck in small spaces immediately surrounded by piping and walls that weaken signal strength and (b) they really hate being next to dishwashers because it interferes with their signal. So that just shows a lack of practical thinking on Berkeley’s part.
The flat and development also feel safe although as with everywhere you do get a few dodgy people around the area later at night and unfortunately some idiots in the parks doing drugs and leaving litter everywhere (but the majority of people are great). It is a very nice area and has a nice community feel to it but it’s definitely not a part of the country that you could take your safety for granted in.
The overall building has had several issues with it’s doors unfortunately although the building is always secure overall. The lifts are something else – one seems to break down every week and they’re constantly having to get someone to fix them (they’ve recently been saying it’s because the doors are held open and that breaks the lift, but if it was a well-built system that was intelligently thought out and integrated then it shouldn’t need a contractor call-out to be able to reset the door electronics just from being held open).
Property management (our private letting agent, not building management) are ok. Communication is bad sometimes and they haven’t seemed too bothered out the problems we’ve had or getting them fixed. Sometimes they arrange things without telling us.
For amenities within the development, there’s a decent-sized Sainsbury’s which is really great and convenient to have on your doorstep, the concierge also have a dry-cleaning service and there’s a really nice pub. I think I’ve seen a café and a couple of other restaurants on site elsewhere too but haven’t had a chance to check them out yet. The parks on our doorsteps are just fantastic and are home to some local infamous ducks and swans!
Lastly, I seriously question anyone who says bills are ok here – they’re simply not “ok”. You’re locked into a communal contract for the heating system with E.ON Heat and we literally pay more than double what we used to in both (a) individual flats or (b) communal systems we’ve lived in before. Our electricity bills are also 25-50% higher than one bed flats we’ve lived in before, which could be partly down to some of the badly calibrated light sensors in the flat wasting money, but also I suspect the extensive ventilation system (which, admittedly, is nice to have).
Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot to love about this property but for the prices you’ll pay to live here you don’t expect to have to put up with the little details being missed or messed up – you pay a premium so you expect not to get headaches from poor quality control, but with Berkeley Homes you’ll be rolling the dice as to whether you get a “good” flat or an excellent one even though both outcomes cost the same high London prices. For example, yeah the nice shiny kitchen cupboards are nice but when Berkeley scratch them whilst installing them and don’t do anything about it, what’s the point in paying for expensive materials? Hopefully long-term the people that live here along with the amazing concierge will help to build a fantastic friendly community that overcomes Berkeley’s lack of finesse.
Lastly, I wouldn’t recommend moving in here if you’re close to the on-going construction work until it’s finished – they’ve even taken to working noisily on the construction site on both Saturdays and Sundays recently, from 7am/8am.
Please tell us what you like and dislike about this area:
The development is pretty much in the middle of several village/town areas (Kidbrooke Parade, Lee, Eltham, Blackheath) which are all either a short walk or five minute road journey away, so you’ve got plenty of local shops to go to and Greenwich, Lewisham and the O2 are all within very easy commutes for better shops and busier places to go. The best part of the location though is the parks right on your doorstep and the rail station being a few minutes walk away. From the station you can quickly get to Blackheath, Lewisham and central London. There are also plenty of good bus routes around as well. I’ve heard rumours of more retail units or services coming within the development too, which are still being built at the moment.
My biggest concern about the area is that it’s going to become too overdeveloped (especially if Berkeley keep building more and more like they want to).
Please share one thing (or more) which you wish you had known before you moved in:
I wish I’d known Berkeley would decide to extend their construction working hours regardless of what local residents say or feel – if we’d known they’d start working from 7am some days including Saturdays and Sundays, we probably wouldn’t have moved in.
A heads up about Berkeley’s poor quality control and the high bills would have been nice too, so that at least we could have been prepared rather than facing a shock.
And I really recommend anyone thinking of buying a flat here scours all available resources to find out future building plans in the area because they’ve been applying to keep building up more areas here recently, which could affect your view from your potential new home.
How has the building management responded to any problems or issues you have raised:
Building management through the concierge have been fantastic so far. The property agent for the landlord on the other hand – well the jury is still out!