I have an oasis, it’s up in the clouds’ wrote Children’s poet and illustrator, Colin McNaughton, in ‘I Have An Oasis’, his charming poem about the pleasures of high-rise living. ‘It’s up in the clouds. Away from the rush, and the roar of the crowds.’ It’s a lovely sentiment that ends with the words ‘what more could I need? I grow my geraniums, and lettuce that’s curled, in my little garden, On top of the world.’
For anyone who has ever lived on the upper levels of a high-rise complex, it will be a sentiment they quite understand - that feeling of being above it all and away from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
And if recent figures are anything to go buy, it looks like a lot more people, especially in London, are going to be living in a room with a view. The Telegraph recently wrote that a report carried out on behalf New London Architecture by property consultancy, GL Hearn, states that there are currently 236 buildings of 20-storeys or more currently in various stages – planning, approved or being built – around the city. Even more interestingly, nearly 200 of these buildings are going to be residential apartment blocks.→
But what are the benefits of living in these properties, as opposed to the (literally) lowly houses that sit on London’s ground floor.
Well there’s location, for starters. It’s pretty unlikely (read: impossible) that any new streets will be built within zones one to three in the near future, but with the demolition of derelict or dangerous buildings in prime locations such as Battersea, Vauxhall, City Road between Angle and Old Street, Canary Wharf and along to Stratford, as well as developments in Earls Court, Greenwich and up to Old Oak Common, which will see a huge amount of development as the Crossrail project expands, you only need a relatively small plot of land to build a very tall building on.
Then there are the services that come with living in a high-rise apartment complex. Sure you have to forgo a bit of space at the front of the house for the bins, but you gain concierges, subsidized or inclusive gyms and swimming pools, guaranteed parking and probably a really satisfying rubbish shoot.
‘It’s up in the clouds. Away from the rush, and the roar of the crowds.’
There’s the security, too. High tech entry systems and 24-hour guards make for a peaceful nights sleep and a worry-free holiday. Construction costs, however, mean that modern apartment buildings are often more expensive with many new towers at the higher end offering one-bed apartments starting at £750,000.
But that isn’t stopping people. The Telegraph also reports that 355 apartments at the ideally located One Tower Bridge have been sold (that’s 90% of the building’s capacity), even though prices start at a shade under £1.5 million, and going up (to the top floor) £15 million for that most luscious of statement symbols, the penthouse suite. So with ground level property in London now at premium, maybe it’s time to start asking yourself if you have a head for heights.
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