diamond geezer

 Sunday, May 01, 2016

Seaside postcard: Sandbanks
There's wealth, and then there's Sandbanks. The settlement that's grown up on the sandy spit across the entrance to Poole Harbour was rated a few years ago as the fourth most expensive place to live in the world. In terms of cost per square foot it was beaten only by the richest parts of London, Hong Kong and Tokyo, which isn't bad for a square kilometre surrounded by sea where nobody lived until the end of the 19th century. An inn grew up to serve travellers using the Studland ferry - still the quickest way of nipping between Bournemouth and Swanage. The first houses were built in the 1890s, specifically to help fund coastal defences, and in the 1920s the very-sandy beaches encouraged the development of a holiday resort. By the 1990s estate agents had whipped up interest to fever pitch and a ring of modern luxury homes began to encircle the waterfront, and today owning a property at Sandbanks has become the ultimate badge of self-made success.



I was expecting to be more wowed. I mean, it's nice, and the personalised numberplate count is high, but the overall feeling of peak exclusivity was somehow lacking. A lot of this is down to the traffic, which is much busier than you might expect on a spit thanks to the ferry at its tip, which sends pulses of traffic around the one-way perimeter road. Some of the properties are gleaming architecturally-sharp edifices with copious balconies at the end of gated drives, but many are simply big houses, and others look like flats. The only restaurant on Sandbanks is a Rick Stein, but otherwise the handful of shops isn't nearly exclusive enough, with the southern parade clearly targeted more at tourists and passing traffic. And the whole place feels a little densely-packed, but then it would, given that such a tiny area has such great value.

The Haven Hotel by the ferry is famous as the home for several years of radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi, and hosted one of the world's very first wireless broadcasting stations. These days a gate keeps out non four-star guests, and retired couples park outside and read the Times, Mail or Express in sheltered leatherette whilst watching the yachts and speedboats shuttling in and out of the harbour. Punters at the prestige car showroom on Panorama Road block the bike lane with their BMWs, causing passing cyclists to curse, and scottie dogs trot back from the promenade with their clutch-bagged owners in train. And the massed ranks of Poole and Bournemouth flood in to enjoy the east-facing beach, which is gorgeously sandy, filling up a car park which could otherwise be given over to umpteen million pounds worth of homes.



It didn't take long to spot that Sandbanks is really two communities, one inside the perimeter road and one without. The premier location is on the outside with a house backing down onto the water, indeed it's the whopping ratio of properties with seafront access that delivered Sandbanks its residential kudos in the first place. Harry Redknapp's £4m hideaway has a harbour-top lawn and private jetty, while other peripheral mansions have their own berth, and an often idiosyncratic design. Inside the perimeter road the houses are relatively smaller, and relatively more squashed - here you're paying for the address rather than the view. And at only two points is there a public footpath down to the water's edge, one a brief alley down the side of the Royal Motor Yacht Club, the other a quick link to the beach. A clear message is being sent that this millionaire's playground is not for you. A five metre rise in sea level will destroy the lot.

» Ten Sandbanks photos
» Lots about the history and geography of the Sandbanks spit


<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>


click to return to the main page


...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
life viewed from london e3

email    twitter    G+

my flickr photostream