Is St Albans the new Shoreditch? The Sunday Times thinks it might be
PUBLISHED: 14:49 08 May 2017 | UPDATED: 14:49 08 May 2017
St Albans has been compared to London hipster hotspots Shoreditch and Peckham by the Sunday Times.
As part of a feature profiling the new Gabriel Square development on London Road, the broadsheet announced that “top designers are eyeing up dormitory towns, and the hipsters are flocking”.
The article said that the presence of Gabriel Square is “yet another sign that style is creeping into the suburbs”.
The development of 28 one and two-bed flats and duplexes and 52 three and four-bed townhouses arranged around a garden square launches this week.
The flats and duplexes are priced from £475,000 and the townhouses are selling for upwards of £1,195,000.
The Sunday Times said: “St Albans has long been a refuge for middle-class families priced out of London. They flock to the Hertfordshire dormitory town for its good schools, period homes and 17-minute train ride to St Pancras.
“But Gabriel Square, a new development that is a modern-day answer to the Barbican, is aimed at a hipper buyer: it’s a sleek square with design-mag interiors, only five minutes from the station.”
Simon Kincaid, director of Conran and Partners, who designed the development’s interiors, said the firm made up some characters that they imagined would be interested in buying property at the development.
They include thirty-something Helen and Arne, an Anglo-Swedish couple with young children.
“They’re looking for a larger home for a growing family, with an outdoor area and close to good schools,” Simon said. “They want a home that suits a modern lifestyle, with quick access to London and Eurostar. They also want to be near good casual restaurants and a craft beer shop — they care about the provenance of their food.”
Referring to popular local amenities such as Charlie’s coffee shop and Kimaya sushi bar, Simon concludes that the area “could easily be Shoreditch or Peckham”.
The article adds that the presence of Gail’s, Bill’s and Carluccio’s means St Albans “already feels like a London outpost” and “Gabriel Square will surely hasten this process and set a wider trend.”
It concludes: “Just as politicians are doorstepping the suburbs, designer developers will surely find fertile ground in commuterland: as Londoners are priced out of the capital by Chinese buy-to-leavers, they’re going to have to learn to live stylishly in dormitory towns and seek their Shoreditch fantasies beyond the green belt.”