Admirable backstory to imposing villa

Estate agent Colin Shairp is expecting a tidal wave of interest in a Drayton property that has just come onto the market through his Fine and Country branch.

It’s a property he knows well – it was among the first he took on and then sold when he opened his Fine and Country office in April, 2009, achieving a price of £590,000. But even before that sale a decade ago, while he was director in another Portsmouth agency in 2002 he had already found a new owner with £347,495 paid by a couple who installed the pool for their daughter, a synchronised swimmer.

The property in question, Highbank, at 183, Havant Road, was built in 1902 for the First Sea Lord at Portsmouth Naval Base but since then it has seen various uses, including as a doctor’s surgery, thanks to its location close to all of Drayton’s many facilities.

Now Colin is inviting potential buyers to give the house a check-up and he’s sure that the sympathetically updated property will pass the most detailed examination.

“This house may have a history stretching back almost 120 years but it’s still thoroughly contemporary when it comes to meeting the needs of buyers,” explains Colin.

“There has been careful attention given to preserving a number of original features but the modern touches – a pool carefully controlled to minimise environmental impact, a hot tub, and a remote controlled video entry system among them, ensure Highbank now meets modern demands.

“Highbank’s name is obvious when you see its position set back from the road in an elevated position. The plot is well suited to the house, which has a long paved driveway to the side leading to the garage block and then a 200 ft garden stretching back from a lower patio area that’s accessible from the pool and a loggia.

“The garden is enclosed on all sides and has many mature shrubs, evergreens and bushes to give a good degree of privacy. Steps lead up to the lawn and there are stepping stones and a paved path leading to a circular paved feature. There’s also a decked area with pergola.

“Naturally, the new occupants can’t spend their whole life in the garden so the house is ready to cosset them, too. A house of this size is expected to have generous reception space and Highbank does not disappoint with its three well-proportioned rooms in addition to the superb kitchen / breakfast room.

“A useful feature is a shower room adjacent to the pool and separate from the cloakroom while the pool equipment is neatly housed in a boiler room.

“The split level landing leads to four bedrooms and a family bathroom where the free standing claw foot bath is an attractive feature. The bathroom is complemented by a separate cloakroom.

“From two of the bedrooms, there are views across the rooftops to Portsmouth. No doubt the original occupant enjoyed looking down towards his domain – rather less occupied by houses than it is today but still a spectacular outlook even now.”

Guide price is £750,000 (EPC Band E). For more details, contact Fine and Country Drayton on 023 93 277 277 or email

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Brexit should not be your home purchase deal-breaker

It’s a familiar question: “Should I buy a different house before Brexit is a done deal or should I stay where I am now?”

There’s only one answer: “Of course you should move if that’s what you want to do.”

Too many people look at the investment value of a residential property they want to live in ahead of the real deal-breaker, and that’s whether or not it’s the house they see themselves spending a good number of years occupying.

If the latter’s the case, they are in it for the long game rather than some short term hedge betting as we see in the equities market where the vultures gather in the hope of an economic downturn after a specific event. And, as we all know, in the long term property prices invariably recover after a slump and that will be the case after Brexit if it brings a downturn.

When looked at logically, any downturn will also affect the property you live in now so the price to change will remain roughly the same and any difference will be made up very quickly. In fact if Brexit turns into a debacle, which we all hope it won’t whether we voted Leave or Remain, then the new home might be just the thing to put a gloss into 2019!

There’s no telling exactly when Brexit will be finalised but the transition is due to last at least until the end of 2020. Do you want to wait that long to decide? Probably not, particularly if you have seen the property that you feel is just right for you. Leave it 18 months and someone else will most likely be living in it and you’ll be in the doldrums for all the wrong reasons.

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National Housing Market Outlook June 2018

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Good news for the unlucky 12 at Horndean

The last house marketed in the Durlands Road area of ever-popular Horndean by Colin Shairp of Fine and Country Southern Hampshire attracted 13 viewings.

Of those 13, one struck lucky with a successful offer which left an unlucky 12 still searching earlier this year.

However, there’s good news for them because another top quality four bedroom home has become available in Durlands Court, this time tucked away at the end of the private cul-de-sac in an elevated plot that brings a large garden.

“The house makes a superb family base close to the northern fringes of the Greater Portsmouth conurbation,” explains Colin. “The location makes it highly convenient for busy families with good schooling and shops close by and ready access to commuter routes yet equally convenient for getting out and about in the South Downs National Park which stretches north, east, and west for many miles and is gloriously unspoiled.

“The house is one of only four in a similar style and is set in a discreet position away from the road and partially screened by its own double garage block. The front door opens into an L-shaped entrance hall with doors to three separate reception rooms and the superbly equipped kitchen / dining room which, like the adjoining sitting room, has French doors onto the rear terrace.

“At the front of the house is a family room set behind a bay window and a study, both providing quiet areas. The turning staircase is lit by an arched front window at half landing level and leads to the main landing. The first floor offers four generous bedrooms, the master with a walk-in wardrobe and, like the second bedroom, an en-suite shower room to complement the main bathroom and downstairs cloakroom.

“The exterior style is very appealing, with brick steps beside the lawn leading up to the front and the brick walls with decorative courses offset by stone quoins and lintels. The rear garden rises gently, with a lawn stretching away from the terrace to a silver birch tree and cage arbour.

Guide price is £550,000 (EPC Band B). For more information, contact Fine and Country Southern Hampshire on 023 93 277 277 or email

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Solve that city-v-country lifestyle conundrum

City people often dream of a country life, country people often feel they would love to be close to city facilities.

It seems an almost impossible conundrum to solve but that’s not the case, explains Colin Shairp, of Fine and Country Southern Hampshire.

“This part of southern England has so many interesting features when looked at broadly with The Solent, the South Downs National Park, and many opportunities to enjoy fantastic views,” adds Colin.

“But examine the area in closer detail and there are some rare opportunities such as a country lane that feels like it’s in the middle of nowhere yet is actually within the Portsmouth city boundary. The property itself is also an anomaly.

“From the front it looks like a modest bungalow with two bay windows and a central dormer thanks to its elevated position above the hedge-lined single track lane yet when you arrive at the top of the brick paved driveway it is so obviously very much more!

“The double bays throw light into a bedroom to one side of the entrance hall and the dining room on the other and, moving back into the property, there’s a fifth bedroom or study immediately behind the dining room flowed by a bathroom very cleverly fitted into the floorplan.

“Behind the front bedroom is a staircase to a galleried landing serving three bedrooms but again minimising the space it takes. As a result, each of the bedrooms, but especially the master suite, is of sufficient proportions to be a double. Complementing the en-suite with double shower cubicle in the master bedroom is a full bathroom for use of the other two first floor bedrooms. The master, across the back of the house, also has a large walk-in wardrobe / dressing area with a skylight.

“But many potential buyers will consider the crowning glory of this property is back on the ground floor, where a magnificent living space incorporating sitting and kitchen / breakfast areas has been added, taking full advantage of its westerly orientation thanks to bi-fold doors in its large bay area.

“It fits with the rest of the glorious makeover this home has received – the next owners have little to do apart from move in, arrange their furniture how they want it, and unpack.

“With its long rear garden feature mature hedges, shrubs, and trees enveloping a lawn it just begs to be enjoyed and, of course, just a short step up the lane is the wide open area that crowns Portsdown Hill. At the other end of the lane is the heart of the Drayton shopping area.”

Guide price is £670,000 (EPC Band D). For more information, contact Fine and Country Southern Hampshire on 023 93 277 277 or email

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Live life on the edge… of the wonderful South Downs

Living life on the edge can have a precarious meaning, but living life close to the edge of the South Downs National Park can only have overwhelming appeal for those who love to get out and explore some of the best of British landscape.

And that’s exactly the lifestyle on offer at a stylishly updated and extended home in Southdown Road, Clanfield, that could easily accommodate more than one generation of a family with a simple internal division creating a main home and annexe.

At the front of the house is open countryside – just beyond the next ridge is the boundary of the National Park itself and, just inside it, an observatory belonging to the Hampshire Astrological Group, clearly demonstrating that dark skies and star gazing go hand in hand here.

“The house has been extended either side of a long central hallway with the fifth bedroom and sitting room opposite each other at the front,” explains Colin Shairp, of Fine and Country Southern Hampshire estate agents.

“Either side of the hallway just beyond the staircase are a shower room and study; it would be straightforward to fashion an annexe here without any major structural changes. Above the two main front rooms is the en-suite master bedroom and again it would be easy to divide the landing here.

“Towards the rear of the ground floor are the really generous kitchen / dining room and a drawing room almost equally as largewth bi-fold doors into a conservatory glazed on three sides. There are three bedrooms, two of them en-suite, and a family bathroom above this part of the house and an architect could advise on installing an extra staircase, subject to necessary consents.

“The view from the front of the house can also be enjoyed from the rear garden, which rises through two areas of lawn to steps that approach a large deck with balustrade that has a glorious outlook to the west and is perfect for those balmy summer evenings and a spot of star gazing.

“At the front of the property is an L-shaped brick-paved drive with a double garage block next to the road giving the house good privacy.

“Commuting is straightforward with the A3 close by and both Petersfield and Rowlands Castle offering mainline stations.”

Guide price is £750,000 (EPC Band C). For more information, contact Fine and Country Southern Hampshire on 023 93 277 277 or email

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Eyes right for King’s View of an interesting family house

Make a swift “eyes right!” as you travel along Cavendish Road in Southsea and you’ll notice a very handsome double bay fronted villa where you can pull onto the newly-paved forecourt for an even better view.

The property, Kings View, has just undergone a major refurbishment and, while it retains its original room layout at the front, has some interesting features at the rear that enhance its appeal for busy family life.

The house has a recessed front door in an Italianate-style porch with decorative mouldings painted to contrast with the main stuccoed façade. Sash windows typical of the mid-to-late Victorian period, when larger single panes of glass become more affordable, complete the stylish look which is crowned by a parapet to mask the hipped tiled roof.

Pass through the front door and there’s a long central hall, dividing the drawing room on the left and the sitting room on the right, both of which feature ornate open fireplaces. Behind the sitting room is the dining room and here’s where the interesting features begin – the two rooms have a solid divider that raises, portcullis-style, into a ceiling recess to create one large space measuring more than 27 ft from front to back.

Behind the drawing room is the kitchen, a far cry from Victorian times but with a modern range cooker fitted into the original chimney breast. Beyond the peninsula unit room divider is a family room with bi-fold doors into the paved courtyard rear garden. But the living space doesn’t end there – at the far end of the family room, a staircase disappears to the study above, away from all the bustle of the rest of the house and a perfect quiet spot for those who work from home or who need to get down to some serious work.

The main staircase in the hall rises to a landing serving four bedrooms and a family bathroom, now superbly refitted in a modern style, as is the wet room en-suite to the master bedroom. Both the master and second bedrooms benefit from the extra space afforded by their bay windows while the other two bedrooms are also full doubles.

At the end of the road is St John’s College, a private school catering for the full age groups from nursery to completion of sixth form studies. The area also has good access to shops and bus routes and the exceptional Kings Theatre is a short walk away.

Guide price is £895,000 (EPC Band E). For more information, contact Fine and Country Southern Hampshire on 023 93 277 277 or email

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