>I’ve been living in Uncle Wembley for almost a year now. I’ll start with the good and move onto the bad.
The apartment is very well constructed, mostly good quality fittings (the kitchen fittings are a little on the cheap side compared to the rest of the finish of the apartment, for example). The appliances are all good quality and modern, and it’s well insulated for the most part. The bathroom is well fitted and functional. The integrated heating system the building has is a good idea (although the supplier themselves and the lock-in that provides is questionable – it has worked consistently). The internet is fast, infrastructure is sound and well engineered. The front desk staff are all friendly and excellent people. There’s plenty of small good intentions, the package delivery/management system they have going on works well, the lobby is a nice place to be/wait for people.
But there’s little things like the sink/cooker hob not being sealed in, under sink bin being fragile and breaking, exterior windows being not quite fitted correctly etc. – all minor maintenance issues which have for the most part been corrected. The building was brand new when we moved in and there were plenty of snagging/commissioning issues. However the ongoing trend seems to be toward a lack of maintenance which is concerning.
The location is okay – Wembley is a cosmopolitan place and has excellent transport connections (except on event days when it’s chaos – be aware!) Access to NHS services in this area is very poor (beware). The building also sits at a confluence of two roads which have a lot of emergency traffic – expect to hear sirens fairly consistently. With the windows closed the sound insulation is not bad, but see later points around solar mitigation and comfort in summer.
The layout of the apartment (this is a 1-bed, open plan style). Means there is no separation between the kitchen space, living space and hallway. Combining this with the way the ventilation system has been designed, and the spec of the fridge leads to a combo of compressor/fan noise which may not suit those sensitive to such noises. There is little in the way of solar mitigation built into the building design (e.g. external shuttering), which combined with a lack of air conditioning makes for very hot summer days. The blinds – while intended to be ‘blackout’ style – do not completely black out the windows and the building’s policies prohibit using your own window coverings in addition to them.
The main downside that has emerged through the pandemic (we moved in just before the second lockdown) is that building security is fairly lax. The foyer is monitored only during business hours (9am-5pm Mon-Sat). There is an out of hours emergency line, but this is fairly unresponsive to anything but actual emergencies. Aside from intervention from residents themselves, there isn’t much stopping anyone from following you inside and riding the lifts up to the common areas like the roof terrace (a seemingly increasingly common occurrence as we move out of lockdown). My partner and I have had a few incidents of encountering people who don’t live here – which has led to a feeling of insecurity in the building. The really bad thing is that these concerns haven’t been addressed by Uncle (who have been increasingly unresponsive to emails over our time living here).
There is a small gym in the basement – when this has been open it’s been a useful space. There hasn’t been a great response by Uncle to the pandemic in terms of providing access to this and other common spaces however – which speaks to a general lack of community engagement by management here.
We rent a parking space, this is a relative luxury in this part of London but I’m including this info because you may want to know. The parking is split between two areas, our space is on the ‘outside’ and relatively unsecured. There’s little management of the spaces/parking which leads to issues of being blocked in semi-frequently. This seems to be a general problem with the way the building has been designed since there isn’t really enough space for deliveries/pick-ups/waiting etc.
Overall this feels like a high-end product that has failed to find a market, and a combination of the pandemic and other economic factors have left Uncle to need to fill the apartments however they can. There’s been no effort put into building community (despite suggestions to do this via online circles during the pandemic, for example). This combined with the lack of commitment to security in the building, lack of engagement with residents, the ongoing building site next door (5-6 days a week of building noise, closed facilities due to Covid etc. makes this a very poor value proposition given its’ premium pricing and location.