Monday, 28 August 2017

Havona House

Havona House at the foot of Portobello Road has been a building site for years. Keen scholars of planning disputes can look it up on the council's website. The interludes when there are actual builders present are characterised by temporary traffic lights, reversing lorries and slippery mud. It has the obligatory ballroom and a two-storey basement - the last of these monstrosities to be permitted by the council. 


Visitors to the front door such as Mr Fox (pictured here) will enjoy not a red carpet, but a zebra crossing. Unlike the pastiche architectural flourishes all over the unfortunate frontage, the Belisha beacon is at least useful.



The ho-hum list of plants (all shade-tolerant, natch) planned for its poky, east-facing, overlooked back garden includes viburnum. Most viburnums in Notting Hill get blighted. That tree outside - is it a robinia or a gleditsia? Don't know, but it's got roots, just a few feet from the walls. There are reminders nearby of what tree roots do to walls.


 


Would anyone who could afford £14.5m (Zoopla's estimate) really want to live on top of a pedestrian crossing which can barely cope with the tourist tide at weekends? An absentee owner, perhaps? Or someone who likes looking into the top decks of buses?

I benefitted from the post-war boom in social housing even though some people - including my geography teacher, Miss Newell - were rude to me about it when I was growing up on the estate. Now it's collapsing while homes in this borough stand empty. If Havona House ever gets finished, someone who likes having balls had better move in quickly.

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