Our experience of living here has been mixed. We had a number of quite serious issues in the build quality – lights that kept flickering, a leak in the ceiling around a window and door, a balcony door that doesn’t fit properly so we cannot use it otherwise it doesn’t close, an oven that broke immediately and wasn’t replaced for about 3 weeks, a pencil (!) left under the floorboards which was only resolved after about 6 months of us chasing – they did this by taking up the floor, cracking some of the interlocking parts and therefore needing to use glue to secure it again. Some of our issues are still not resolved after having lived here since May 2019 (17 months). The customer services team for the developer is pretty dire – extremely poorly staffed and slow.
By contrast, despite the issues we had with the build, our particular building (one of the lower-density ones) has had seemingly fewer issues than others, so we are luckier in that regard, and in general, we do like living in our flat. There seems to be pretty good sound-proofing so we don’t hear upstairs neighbours walking around very frequently, and the fittings are nicer than other new-builds we have seen (we wonder if this was an error on Redrow’s part, not being as experienced in the so-called ‘luxury’ market so spending a bit more than would be ideal for them!). The insulation is good, although that means it gets incredibly hot during the summer. The greenery on the estate is quite nice, and places like the play area, and the podium gardens in my block, are positive features. We don’t use the gym, but it is a good addition to have – would be better if it were open longer hours and we didn’t have to pay an initial charge to be ‘trained’ to use it…
Back to the negatives, we get cigarette smoke coming in from a neighbour’s flat (through both their and our front doors!) and there are ongoing issues with security – car park gates repeatedly breaking and taking weeks to fix, several incidents recently of parcel theft, car damage, anti-social behaviour and drug dealing around the estate. The estate management team (agents – Rendall & Rittner) do very little about it. In fact, while the management are not active on some issues, they are extremely heavy handed on others – they interpret the lease clauses in very odd and extreme ways and communicate with residents through the online portal with belligerent messages. They have implemented a dog ban with no legal backing (plus the estate manager brings his dog into work…!). They are also extremely dismissive of the hard water issues – we have lived in other areas in north London and this is by far the worst for water hardness – at 400ppm, it is well over the ‘very hard’ threshold and is practically corrosive! Just using a descaler from time to time, as the estate manager suggests, really is not an appropriate remedy.
The developer has also been horrifically slow in transferring control of the management companies to residents. We were unable to purchase the freehold for our block but we should still have some element of control over our building and services through these companies. Instead, long-term decisions about energy suppliers etc. are being made by the developer, which residents now won’t be able to change when they are given control. Covid-19 is not an excuse – AGMs can be held virtually.
To sum up, it is a reasonably attractive development in a decent location. Our specific flat is generally a good place to live, despite the on-going problems (some serious); we think we were quite lucky in terms of layout and spec of our unit – others look less ideal from what we saw when buying. The developer’s teams and the estate management are not great (concierge is OK) and there are worrisome security issues.
Please tell us what you like and dislike about this area:
The area is reasonably good – we know that as the development is finished there will be more local amenities in the development itself, but generally speaking there is a good range of food shops nearby. Nice also to have the RAF museum as a place of interest.
Since the developer opened up a side path through the estate the walk to the tube station from our flat is 10 minutes rather than 20, which is far better!
However, the combination of one tube station and poor bus routes to other stations means that if the tube is down it is impossible to get anywhere quickly.
Please share one thing (or more) which you wish you had known before you moved in:
Make sure to have everything you speak about with Redrow’s teams in writing (and follow up calls with an email summarising what was discussed).
There are quite a few social groups popping up now (e.g. yoga, meditation. running, etc) – it seems that many residents are actively trying to build a community, which is definitely a positive aspect of living here, even if we are yet to take part in these activities.
What is the best feature of your home:
The layout of our flat is great and it is deceptively large – we were lucky that this unit was available as it seems to be pretty unique in the development.