Went flat-hunting at the weekend. Took a train all the way down to Orpington, which turns out to be very nice indeed, with good transport links, loads of buses, shops, etc. Sarah had spotted an ad in the Metro for the alto apartments from Fairview: two bedroom flats to buy for £156k - not too bad for London.
Suffice it to say, you get what you pay for. There were two things in the ad that should have warned us in advance. “This exciting restyled development…” and “many of the apartments on the upper levels enjoying panoramic views across open fields…”
What the ad actually meant was “former council tower block, stuck in the middle of an estate with the remnants of burned out cars nearby, given a patchy paint job and tarted up with some nice furniture but not much else”. It was indeed a spacious flat with a lovely view of some trees - in fact, all you could see was road and trees, not sky or fields or anything else – but you know some expenses have been spared when the show home's doors have been propped open with bits of cardboard.
Plus what was it with councils in the 70s? Separate toilets without their own basins? What's going on there? Would this not have been a good opportunity to fix this oversight?
Anyway, Orpington looks good. And more to the point, it looks like there are better, cheaper flats around than the alto apartments, so if you're tempted, spread your net and you should see something more interesting.