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.
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.
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.