Two public garden squares will open in Chelsea Barracks in May, the first time the Barracks development has been open to the public in over 150 years.
The British Army barracks on Chelsea Bridge Road were built in 1862 to house infantry members. Those early accommodation buildings were demolished in the 1960s, but an original chapel survives. Two tower blocks replaced the original housing, and the site remained in use by the Armed Forces until 2008, when it was sold off and troops were relocated to Woolwich.
Property development Qatari Diar is constructing a new Chelsea Barracks housing development on the site, comprising a mix of apartments and penthouses that most of us can only dream of getting a sniff at.
When finished though, the development will house seven public squares that anyone can visit, inspired by the traditional garden squares of nearby Belgravia. Two of these gardens — Mulberry Square and Bourne Walk — will open to the public in time for the Chelsea Flower Show in May 2019, the first time the Chelsea Barracks parcel of land has been open to the public since 1862.
Mulberry Square, which acts as a gateway to the estate, is 100m long and 30m wide, and consists of evergreen hedging surrounding flowers, vegetables and herbs. The edible plants will be used as a kitchen garden for upmarket restaurant Chelsea Barracks Kitchen, headed up by respected chef Ollie Dabbous. The eatery, like much of the development, won't open properly until 2020, but a pop-up version runs alongside this year's Chelsea Flower Show.
Bourne Walk, the second garden square opening in May 2019, is situated along the border of Chelsea Bridge Road, and has been planted with established trees and native flora to create an ecological corridor that encourages wildlife to the area. If you're in the vicinity for Chelsea Flower Show (or just fancy having a nose around), drop by to see them in all their floral glory.
As for the properties in the new development — due to be ready for residents by the end of this year — prices for an apartment start from £5.25 million and townhouses begin at a casual £37 million. No, we've not missed a decimal place, that's £37 million.
Find out more about the seven squares of Chelsea Barracks.