Spotlight on Mill Hill

Village charm and the great outdoors give Mill Hill family appeal, while commuters love the nearby M1 and the 20-minute train journey to St. Pancras, says Anthea Masey.

This north-west London neighbourhood has two distinct faces: the charming old village of Mill Hill is scattered along a narrow ridge - not surprisingly the road is called The Ridgeway - which looks north-east over open countryside and south-west to Harrow and beyond. Then at the bottom of the hill, placed strategically between the A1 and the M1, there is the bustling Broadway, with its shops and cafés tucked among surrounding roads of neat Thirties semi-detached houses.

Mill Hill is a magnet for parents looking for good schools both state and private. Many of these, including Mill Hill School, a popular private school with both boarders and day pupils, now occupy fine buildings in and around The Ridgeway that once belonged to wealthy London merchants. The tower of the former St. Joseph’s Missionary College, with its crowning gilded figure of St Joseph, is a much-loved local landmark visible from both the M1 and A1.

At the local level

Properties: Mill Hill has a real mix of properties. There are Georgian houses and weatherboard cottages in and around The Ridgeway; large detached Twenties mansions around Uphill Road; Twenties semi-detached houses and terraces around The Broadway; a recent Crest Nicholson development of town houses and flats close to Mill Hill East Tube station, and a unique retirement village - run by the Retail Trust - off Hammers Lane.

Best roads: Uphill Road is situated north of the A1 between Northway Circus and Mill Hill Circus, where there are large detached Twenties houses which have sold this year for between £1.8 million and £3.2 million. The most expensive house currently for sale in Mill Hill is a seven-bedroom art deco house in Milespit Hill which is on the market for the first time in 40 years for £4 million. Contact Savills on 020 8447 4400.

The area attracts: families move to Mill Hill from more expensive areas of north London such as Highgate and Hampstead to get more space, to be close to some of the capital’s best schools, and for the semi-rural aspect. A number of Jewish state schools in Mill Hill and Edgware make this a popular area with Jewish families.

Staying power: those families who like the outdoor life tend to stay, but the lack of culture drives some couples back towards London once the children have left school.

Postcode: NW7 is the Mill Hill postcode, most of which is east of the M1. There is a small corner west of the motorway and north of the Mill Hill Old Railway nature reserve, which is in the NW7 postcode and would call itself Mill Hill, rather than Edgware.

Up and coming: the poets’ roads - Shakespeare, Milton, Tennyson - to the west of Hammers Lane form an attractive enclave of Victorian, Edwardian and Twenties houses which sell for between £350,000 and £550,000. Further up Hammers Lane, retirement bungalows on the manicured Retail Trust estate sell for between £250,000 and £300,000.

What’s new: Countryside Properties has homes for sale at its Ridgemount development on Frith Lane. The scheme when complete will have 300 houses and flats. Currently for sale are two-bedroom flats starting at £299,995; four-bedroom houses starting at £610,000 and a penthouse at £420,000. A new phase of four-bedroom houses is available off-plan with prices starting at £565,000. Contact Countryside Properties on 020 8343 0990.

The local council has agreed a masterplan for the vast Inglis Barracks site on Partingdale Lane close to Mill Hill East Tube station. More than 2,000 new homes, a GP surgery and a new primary school are planned, with an application due to be submitted.

The monks left St. Joseph’s Missionary College on Lawrence Street several years ago. The buildings including the iconic tower were sold to a hotel group. The buildings are back on the market for £25 million and could be converted to residential. Contact Knight Frank on 020 7861 5429.

There are two state comprehensive schools which both get above-average results. Mill Hill County Hill School in Worcester Crescent is judged "good with outstanding features"; Copthall, a girls’ school in Pursley Road is judged "good". The Mill Hill Foundation runs three private schools on The Ridgeway: Grimsdale is the pre-prep taking boys and girls from age three to seven; Belmont from age seven to 13; and Mill Hill School from age 13 to 18. The Mount in Milespit Hill is a girls’ private school taking pupils from five to 18.

Shops and restaurants: Mill Hill Broadway is a busy shopping street with a good mix of high street names and independent shops, cafés and restaurants. There are more local shops on Daws Lane and around Holders Hill Circus. There is a large Waitrose in the new development close to Mill Hill East Tube station. Brent Cross shopping centre is a short drive away.

Out and about

Open spaces: Mill Hill is on London’s edge with good views from the ridge which runs along The Ridgeway. It is one of the area’s main attractions and there are plenty of opportunities for walking, cycling, horse riding and golf. Mill Hill Park has entrances in Wise Lane, Watford Way and Flower Lane.

Leisure and arts: the nearest council-owned swimming pool is at the Barnet Copthall Leisure Centre off Page Street. The nearby Copthall stadium has been designated a London Olympics 2012 training ground. There is a new Virgin Active gym and pool next to Waitrose in the new development close to Mill Hill East Tube station. There are three nearby golf clubs: Hendon, Mill Hill and Finchley, while Frith Manor Equestrian Centre on Lullington Garth offers livery and riding lessons.

Transport: Mill Hill is on the A1 and it’s a short journey south to junction 2 of the M1. Mill Hill Broadway is on Thameslink train services, with a journey time to St Pancras of 20 minutes and to Farringdon of 24 minutes. Mill Hill East is on the Northern line. Mill Hill is in Zone 4 and an annual travel card to Zone 1 costs £1,472.

Council: Mill Hill is in Conservative-controlled Barnet, and Band D council tax for the 2010/11 year is £1,472.

Buying: Mill Hill (Average prices) One-bedroom flat £192,000 Two-bedroom flat £248,000 Two-bedroom house £302,000 Three-bedroom house £422,000 Four-bedroom house £677,000 Source: Hometrack

Renting: Mill Hill (Average) One-bedroom flat £155 to £225 a week Two-bedroom flat £215 to £395 a week Two-bedroom house £265 to £400 a week Three-bedroom house £290 to £600 a week Four-bedroom house £500 to £1,250 a week

Article courtesy of Evening Standard, Homes & Property.