10 August 2012

Rawcliffe Estate – Tradition & Heritage


Historic Rawcliffe Estate on Mansionhouse Road, Langside has been reborn as a result of Westpoint Homes’ near 19-month investment across 2011 and 2012.

With over 33 home styles blended into a 42-home development, Rawcliffe Estate is set comfortably within a walled garden with all the feel and many of the trappings of a country estate. So, it is perhaps not surprising that the development has met with unprecedented success, with over 75% selling off-plan within 6 months of the project commencing. Intriguingly, and against current ‘trends’, prices for the last few remaining properties have also increased month on month, which seems to emphasize what a desirable locus has been created.

Rawcliffe House itself was built in 1862 and is widely perceived as one of the most prestigious private homes to be constructed during Glasgow’s affluent Victorian era. It is immediately impressive and awash with visual interest including decorative motifs, colourful stained glass windows, recessed towers and carved figurative panels. Originally planned as a substantial private villa in 1862 for Alexander Bannatyne Stewart and his extensive family, the house became a Monastery in 1918, with the Order of Carmelite nuns only vacating in 2008. The house is now converted into 13 properties including main door garden flats.

With a developable hard footprint of around 15%, it becomes immediately evident on visiting this landmark site just how much greenery there is. With over 35 specimens of varying trees retained – some over 150 years old – the site is provided with instantaneous amenity. With grade B listed Rawcliffe House taking pride of place within the 3 acre grounds, the planning authority permitted new build development, provided the ‘setting” of Glasgow’s largest ever private house was not comprised in any way. This has created a “substantial private parkland” to the front of the main house which contributes further to a very high level of on-site amenity.

The planned formal gardens include a willow tunnel, bird baths, timber archways, summer house and a series of unusual benches some of which wrap around some of the larger, more prominent trees. There is variety and colour in over 5,000 shrubs, roses, perennials, climbers and hedgerow mix and box hedge. With private on-site allotments also offered as part of the purchase, the “green theme” is unmistakable.

Hard surface finishes include natural stone granite setts and sandstone flags. The external lighting layout with 130 lights in total, sets out to capture many of the features on the impressive facades of Rawcliffe House and the gardens beyond. Taken in aggregate, the investment and commitment to exacting details puts Rawcliffe Estate in a class of its own.

Having set out to retain much of the opulent period detail and generous proportions featured in the original property, Westpoint Homes were determined to create new build apartment blocks of distinction; with higher floor to ceiling heights; a significant uplift in window/glass façade ratios; every ground level home with its own private garden; and new build penthouses with roof terraces providing phenomenal vistas.

The plan from the very start was to remove the various barriers often cited by homebuyers to a new build purchase and new-build estate living. While the restoration aspect created immediate interest and appeal, development decisions were made beyond that to ensure that on completion, Rawcliffe Estate offered so much more: more space; a very low developable footprint; unrivalled security owing to one point of access and egress and the original stone walls surrounding; a varied mix of home styles; a fulsome specification – including, uniquely, a choice between contemporary and traditional ranges of fixtures and fittings, giving clients an opportunity to choose to continue with the Victorian emphasis within their home, or to look to today’s style and sophistication – without compromising the significant Rawcliffe House heritage.

Developments such as this are few and far between; where history is re-created while new build design is also embraced. The developer set out with an eye on the past but not forgetting our carbon footprint! Running costs in all new build apartment blocks are ultra-low, thanks to photo voltaic roof panels, resulting in £zero cost for the operating of lifts and communal lighting, with the prospect of residents enjoying future “credits” to offset domestic electricity charges! Tradition and heritage – in tune with the times.