Comment: The St Albans and Harpenden developments we can’t stop talking about

Inside the two-bed, two-bath show apartment at Welcombe Mews, Harpendenden - yours for £950,000. Pic

Inside the two-bed, two-bath show apartment at Welcombe Mews, Harpendenden - yours for £950,000. Picture: Fairview New homes - Credit: Archant

Property is a hot topic in this part of Herts, but certain developments are especially likely to get people talking.

Last week’s news story about an open day at St Albans’ Gabriel Square development prompted the usual slew of comments from Facebook posters who aren’t keen on its appearance and feel it’s overpriced. Others couldn’t believe that only 13 of the 80 homes were still available for sale, commenting that many more than that appear vacant. It’s not easy pleasing everyone, and when your prices are towards the higher end of the scale then the haters do tend to be quite vocal.

Last week I visited another smart new residential development that also attracts a lot of very vocal interest locally.

The Welcombe House collection is home to 37 high end houses and flats on the site of what was once Harpenden House Hotel.

This place is unashamedly luxurious, with all the dressing rooms and immaculately kitted out en suites you could dream of. Naturally, the prices are to match – the most expensive new build flat (three beds, three bathrooms) has a price tag of £1,425,000. £1,787 sq ft of luxury living definitely doesn’t come cheap.

It’s not all about the money of course, and a large part of the Welcombe House collection’s appeal is down to the former hotel building at its heart, which is currently being converted into five fancy apartments. The interest here is so high that two have already been sold off plan.

Apparently this scheme is proving especially popular with older Harpenden residents who are keen to downsize. If their kids were counting on a hefty sum coming their way when the big family home was traded in they’re going to be seriously disappointed.

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While the Grade II listed building is still shrouded in tarpaulin, it’s definitely taking shape inside, with many period features still in tact. This final part of the development is expected to be finished by June, and we can’t wait to see what it looks like once the transformation’s complete. But, however lovely it may be, one thing’s for sure: someone won’t like it, and they’ll be sure to let us know exactly why.