as ever - Many Thanks Baywatcher!!
It wouldn't suprise me if they tried to get retrospective planning to turn the 1 beds into 2 beds. I dug out m brochure and for over £30k more you get a smaller floor area (no room for a kitchen table) and much smaller balcony, but a full sea view. You can get 2 beds with sea views for the price of the one beds. But then again I really think all are poorly designed, the best ones having to trapse through the bedroom to use the balcony. But that's personal opinion.
Also to add I've heard the sales team are telling people they're staying on site for 3 years, so after this there shall be another 2 blocks and then eventually the site will be complete!
I have been in one of the existing flats that look over the sea views and I can honestly say they are appallingly badly designed.
The architects owned by Bellway do not seem to care about the people who are likely to buy the flats. I cannot understand why they make each property incredibly unattractive. I look at the plans and say to myself - who on earth would buy such badly designed rubbish. This building is a perfect example of bad design. There is so little that makes me want to think of buying any part of it. Just look at the balconies: The only nice ones are those that look straight at Watermark and Morrisons. The ideal views are stupid little mouseholes.
This is yet another case of terrible designs by incompetent architects.
Watermark may have been badly built but it has lovely flats and large balconies. Why cant Bellway make nice places to live in.
It's all a matter of personal opinion really. My friend lives at Prospect Place, has a well-designed apartment with a large balcony. He looked at Watermark and, apart from the top apartments described them as 'pokey'. Many of them do not have a parking place hence the cars parked all over the place at the roundabout there! What was that about design??
Actually the parking is not too bad at Watermark: every bedroom has a parking spot. My flat is a two bedroom one so I Have a parking spot which includes a car lift so I have two spaces. Also each car spot has a security bar for locking bikes on to it.
We get annoyed as many of the cars you see on our frontage are people from Prospect Place. I gather that Prospect Place has one car parking space per flat and that's all. There is no room for visitors.
I should add that the balcony I have is 15 feet long and 6 feet wide. That's a lot bigger than nearly all of them at Prospect Place.
We also have gas boilers on the roof which mean we can get commercial rates for heating - my energy bills are amazingly low.
I'm afraid I cannot agree re parking. I am told there are currently some 50 Visitor Parking Bays at Prospect Place. I have seen people from Watermark park their cars in Visitor Bays there and walk round to Watermark. I regularly see cars drive over the footpath outside Watermark and the drivers get out and enter the Watermark building. I understood from speaking to a guy who lives at Watermark that those apartments that front onto Ferry Road do not have a parking bay The situation regarding parking at both places is down to the Planners really. I always believed that all properties had to provide for the parking of two vehicles. It seems that Cardiff Planners have ignored this!?
On another point in your last post, I am curious regarding the vehicle lift you mention which, when I first saw them, thought, "What a brilliant idea!" . I heard a 'rumour' that these need servicing ever other year at a cost of some £2000. Is that correct?
In terms of parking, in this area, the council specificy a minimum of zero and a maximum of one per unit. At the end of the day, people know its only 1 space per unit but the problem is mainly renters with estate agents telling them they're allowed two cars. All our visitor spaces are full of second cars. We have tried a number of methods with no luck to sort out this problem so far. We have over 30 visitor spaces I believe, which is alot for the Bay (Celestia has about 5). I hate the cars parked on the pavement outside watermark and Ferry Court, but the only way to stop it is for a) bollards to be erected or b) the parking attendants to patrol. I have the attitude of its one space, so if you want 2 cars, tough luck. Unfortunately you can't do much about people's ignorance. And this problem will merely get worse with the development opposite which only has 50% of units with a space.
In terms of design, I've gone in pretty much an apartment in each block and the design is completly different in each. There are some really well designed ones. And the not so well designed ones.
P20 and P25 for the central parking area -
In Watermark each flat has enough parking for one car per bedroom. If you have a one bedroom flat you have one parking spot - if you have two bedrooms you have a parking spot with a lift for two cars. Some people choose not to use these parking spots. The cost of the parking is £250 per year.
The cost of maintenance of the car lifts is £250 per year. Every five years it is a major maintenance which can cost £2500 or perhaps even more. every ten years the lifts will need a complete rebuilding which will cost anything up to £10,000 - difficult to estimate as salty sea winds can affect that.
From the planning position there are more than enough parking spots. You have to remember that half the flats here are rented. So I guess that a lot of people dont choose to rent the parking spots allocated.
I have checked the car park at Watermark and there are 80 parking spots. As I said before each flat has parking spots - the singles have one each, the two bedrooms have two and the three bedrooms have three.
Watermark owns the land behind the pavement and in front of the building which is for the exclusive use of residents and their guests. I would estimate we have another 20 spaces if you include those.
I have always assumed that the 'Marked Space' behind the pavement outside Watermark was privately owned. The footpath, however, is not. Cars reaching the 'Private Space' more often than not drive over the footpath. Indeed, I have often seen cars drive down to the roundabout outside Watermark from the direction of the Swimming Pool, turn left then immediately right driving over the lowered footpath section of the central island then onto the footpath outside Watermark before coming to rest in the privately-owned section.
Personally, I see nothing wrong with Watermark's residents using their own private space. It is getting there which is the problem - and the danger!
Friday Update! The men have been working on the final roof of the bottom set of flats and it seems to be taking a long time. Much of this floor is to be a large terrace for the west facing flat of the next section which will be 8 floors high I believe.
The main difference is the installation of the mast mounted moving platforms which are the modern form of scaffolding. The whole building will be accessible from these platforms.
Time for another Friday update time seems to fly faster! This time I thought I'd wander around and take some other pictures. As you can see from the first picture it doesn't look as if a lot has happened but this is the roof of the first part really. They have laid the concrete already and they are now putting shuttering for the terrace wall which will surround part of the roof.
They have been busy at the back of the building too - much of the basic cladding has been fixed.
They have a good lift for the builders. I bet it's more reliable that the one in Watermark!
Finally I thought a pretty picture of the building might be appreciated!
cracking photos baywatcher. i think the second is the best, I always think you get a better sense of scale when viewing a tower from a ground shot.
Yes I was on hols in turkey last week (oh were you Paul, did you have a nice time yes it was very nice - how kind of you to ask!!!)
Anyway - it was great to see the weekly update whilst so far away!!
I guess my post makes 3 points...
first and foremost - cheers to baywatcher for weekly updates
secondly - me having a pop at everyone for not asking about my hols when I ended up spending money to keep this forum going whilst over there!! - and I thought we were a friendly lot
thirdly - a hint about todays update!!
Sorry for any delay - I know you rushed back from Turkey just to catch the latest instalment.
Here is the Friday update. They have now spent a long time preparing the roof of the lower level but now have started doing the shuttering of the final 6 floors which is quite a bit smaller as you can see. They are also doing good work on the cladding.
I've heard a few rumours that now Bellway are back on site, once the tower has been completed they will move on to complete the remaining 2 blocks, as it would be too costly for them to shut down and re start the site again. Fingers crossed, but I believe it'd be at least 2 years until everything is built if this is the case.
Friday update: The scaffolding has been removed from the top of the main part of the building and the next floor is ready for concreting. The Cladding is going up apace.
Yet another Friday has arrived and the smaller floors are really going up fast. Only another three I think. I hear that all the flats except a couple of one bedroom have been sold and that they will be completing the building of the final block.
Yes there are 2 blocks remaining. They will mirror 2 of the larger blocks around the courtyard and this design appears to make them look like one large L shape block. Most will face into the courtyard or gardens and will be cheaper than t block / horizon.
Thanks for that Gail. The link doesn't work btw. It says not currently available (and i did log in)
That's interesting that the remaining building is called two blocks as it looks like one single building to me.
If you look at F and G Blocks on the plan Gail posted, it looks like one Block because they are joined but there is no way you can go from one Block to the other whilst still inside. On the other hand, my friend tells me that D3 and D4 on Gail's posted plan each can be reached internally from the other but they have different names and different postcodes.
This is not meant in a sniffy way - but what sort of people live in this sort of development? I'm genuinely curious.
Are they mainly tenants? Young couples? Retirees? I'm presuming there aren't many familes with school-age children but I could be wrong.
Is the mix different in the blocks with water views?
Gail could probably give you a better answer but from my experience, it is a mix of all those - just like on any housing development. I have certainly seen young kiddies there when visiting my friend and his wife. It seems to be a mix too of owners and renters but, with the current financial/housing situation, I'd hazard a guess there are more renters!?
From my experience the top floors and balconied apartments are more likely to be owners (especially the top floors and penthouses), everything else is more likely to be renters. As for the type of people then its a mixture of professionals between 25-35 renting and then owners over that age. In my development most people on the top floors are in their 60's and over. There are a few families but you rarely see children over the age of about 4-5 as they need more room. Also its quite surprising the number of house pets people have (mostly cats!).
I don't live there so cannot give as definitive an account as yourself. I assume you live there? I will say that my friend lives on a top floor which is mostly young families renting but I suppose 'exceptions prove rules'?
All I can say is it is much better than Gruesomeville sorry - Celestia. I have a friend there and he describes it as 'Hell on Earth'!...but I suppose we all look for different things?
The link for the plan is to a PDF on the Council website and the links seem to be temperamental at best.
Yes the blocks are two separate blocks, similarly to F and G (which can't be accessed from one another) and D3 and D4 (which have an interlinking central staircase). Also, E is a totally separate stand alone block yet has an architectural "feature" of a "wing" running to D3 and quite a few people think this too is the same block as D3:
(L in the background furthest left; E on the left and D3 on the right, taken from the courtyard).
(E on the right and D3 starting at the white render)
D1 and D2 will follow a similar sort of design I imagine.
In terms of who lives here, it really is the same mix as you would expect anywhere. With 734 units at present and rising to 1000 it is large enough for a bit of everything really. I believe there are approx. 180 ish of the 734 which are owner occupied, but even so, those that are rented have a mix of people too. They range from singles; young couples to young families (you'd be surprised how many children there are here, I can see a playhouse on a balcony as I type this); students (mainly the PHD kind and students from oversees); quite a few "empty nesters" and also quite a few retired residents. I also know of some residents with holiday homes here i.e. for the rugby and I imagine there may be some more as we're just down the road from the Cardiff City Stadium. You also have the occasional resident whose family home is elsewhere but stays here in the working week, again you can just lock up and go and in the long run is cheaper than a hotel. There really is a very large mix.
There isn't a significant mix between the blocks, although I know E has the highest amount of owner occupiers, although this is much smaller than the others. And also D3 and D4 were bulk bought by 2 landlords and rented out for no deposit and attracted some not so attractive tenants, but this seems to be less so the case now, but was more so at the height of the recession. There's also quite a few "accidental" landlords i.e. moved on but are renting out as selling would result in a large loss.
I wouldn't say there was actually a huge difference between the floors, apart from the penthouse style ones. Personally I live on a lower floor. This was basically as the apartment type I am in was identical on each floor, except the price increased by £1k a floor from new (£2k at t block). And basically I thought it was a waste of money.
I'd also say re balconies, most of the apartments here have them. Except for the ones facing onto the road which have Juliet balconies. I looked at quite alot in the Bay area and most didn't have balconies and it was something that may seem small but does make a difference!
Thanks Gail, that's really interesting. I've always been interested in the British aversion to apartment living which is in stark contrast to countries like France, Germany etc. There seems to be very little logical basis for it unless you're an avid gardener or have young children.
I'm wondering it we are seeing a long term change of attitude or whether apartments are still seen by many as "second best" to houses.
Whether there is a change in attitude or not - British people will have to start getting more used to living in apartments like our continental cousins. We have less land than a lot of those countries and there just isn't space to keep building houses for everybody - even if new build houses these days are pretty small.
I think this could be good for our cities as the denser the population centred in the cities core the more lively and interesting they become.
Personally for me it was the ease of it all and that it suits the way I live.
I'm not sure whether apartments could be seen as second best, as they seem more expensive for the space. For example, there's a 3 bed semi for sale just around the corner from Ferry Court going for £167.5k and a 2 bed flat without water views and no outside space in Ferry Court for £160k.
http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-37588102.html and http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-27537690.html
I suspect some of the preference for houses over appartments might be down to how people regard the possible return on investment.
Logically supply should more less match demand for appartments in Cardiff over the next couple of decades wheras there's likely to be very little new housing developed in areas close to the city centre. That could lead to some interesting shifts. I wonder for instance whether there might be a shift away from student lets in Cathays and Roath as a growing number of buyers chase a stagnant supply of inner-city houses.
Sorry if I'm wandering to far off-topic!
I wandered over to the barrage today and took a (not very good) photo of Horizon.
Being a landlord of a student house in Roath and a flat in ISV, I can confirm from my experience the student house is much easier to let out every year. While both have roughly the same return on investment, the ISV flat required much more initial investment. At the moment there is a glut of flats around the Bay as many owners who bought in the 2007 era are facing large losses if they actually sell. When I was looking for a flat, I saw a number rented out to dubious tenants here on "student visas" with 3 or 4 children and extended families living onsite. Quite an eye opener I must say.
I've heard a rumour that Bellway are redoing the layout of the top floor to make it a proper penthouse, albeit without a balcony.
But I think the more interesting news is that if your thinking of buying an apartment in horizon they will take you up to have a look.
Friday update. I didn't bother last week as there was little visual to report. They are now starting on the 16th floor and they have been doing some work installing the framework in individual flats as well as more work on the external cladding. I'm glad to see the Tardis is still there - I wonder if the new Dr Who will appear from it.
Per the Bellway site plan. Floor 14 has the terraced flats. I count floors 15 and 16 done with floor 17 being commenced. That is 2 more to go!
I'm actually quite dissapointed in the height of the building, I thought it would be much more impressive.
Ghetto in the making. Why haven't they fixed the building facing the fly over where the siding blew down years ago!
The rendering of horizon and the damaged block will be done together. The original contractor is ignoring the developer from what I've heard and the problem was due to them and therefore quotes etc were required from others able to do the work and so on. This is a different situation to if it were to happen to your house, as there's the freeholder, insurers, loss adjusters, developers and original rendering company involved, making it a more drawn out process.
In terms of a building update, they've been very busy on the land for d1 and d2, digging parts up and removing the casings around the foundations they started before the site shut down.
Hey everybody. Red Lyndon's here! Gather round and hear his wise words! If he says it, it must be true!
Now don't be a silly goose LOL.
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