Leisure communities slow to gather pace

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 18 September, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 18 September, 1996, 12:00am

Leisure communities are making slow progress establishing themselves in Britain.

The villages are springing up throughout the United States, where they were founded, and in Southeast Asia. But, in Britain, only a handful exist.

Leisure communities are combined sporting-residential estates.

The most common examples are golfing and yachting communities. Golf courses or marinas are built on these estates for the exclusive enjoyment of their residents.

Harleywood in Berkshire is a rare example of a golfing community establishing itself in Britain.

Single and two-bedroom timber lodges are on offer to golfing enthusiasts as holiday homes. In addition to playing on an 18-hole golf course, residents can enjoy the facilities of Harleywood's clubhouse.

Sandwiched between two golf courses, Cuddington Park, in Surrey, is a residential estate which could appeal to golfers looking for a permanent home in Britain.

British house builders Linden are erecting 17 family houses there.

Although the development does not have its own golf course, Linden is negotiating membership of the neighbouring Cuddington Park golf club for buyers.

The first of the individually designed five-bedroom houses will be ready for occupation by Christmas. Prices start at GBP350,000 (HK$4.22 million).

There are unlikely to be many other Harleywood or Cuddington Park-style developments in Britain.

Colin Mackenzie, head of the country homes department at estate agents Hamptons, said planning controls aimed at protecting the countryside from residential over-development would stifle the growth of more golfing communities.

Yachting communities are establishing themselves better, although only a handful have been built.

In Portsmouth, Hampshire, house builder Higgs & Hill Homes is offering the last phase of its Port Solent mixed marina-residential retail development.

A total of 90 houses with private moorings are on offer in The Island phase located on a man-made island in the middle of the marina. It can be reached by car across a short causeway.

It forms part of a development of 414 houses and 100 flats which is built around the marina as well as on the island.

There is also a pub, an eight-screen cinema, shops and restaurants on the mainland side of the development. Most buyers so far have been British.

According to David Truslove, managing director of Higgs & Hill Homes, Port Solent is one of only a handful of yachting communities in Britain.

The others are in Southampton, Chichester and the London Docklands.

Maintenance at Port Solent is carried out by a company run jointly by the developer and residents.

Prices reach GBP235,000 for a three-bedroom house.

Asian businessmen are keen to develop the leisure community concept further in Britain.

Mr Mackenzie has acted on behalf of four Asian clients looking for properties to develop into leisure communities since September last year.

These buyers were looking for large country homes in southern England where a variety of leisure facilities, including golf, would be provided for time-share users.