Review: Renting in Parkwest. The Real Issues

Parkwest first main park

Aug 21, 2019 | Accommodation, Information

This review is almost two years on from when I first started renting in Parkwest in West Drayton, I thought that it might be helpful to have an honest – though hard to be unbiased – review of Parkwest, from someone that has actually lived there for over a year.

Make sure you look at our Moving to Uxbridge guide for more info on the area.

Firstly, If you have friends or family that may want to visit you after 6pm, this might not be the place for you, but more on that later.

Parkwest has been here for about 10 years now, Parkwest and the newer Bellway estate next door, make up a large, dense park of West Drayton. So it is extremely likely that it has come up if you have been searching to rent locally.

Parkwest: Who lives here?

Besides me I mean. Who am I anyway? Here’s the thing, there are a few different types of people living here that you’ll come to recognise.

In amoungst the private renters and the owners that aren’t landlords, there are a lot of managed apartments. On the floor of the house I live in alone, there are about four managed apartments of the seven flats.

How do you tell which are managed apartments? Well, the easiest way is by the fact that the cleaners regularly come around, knocking on the doors to check noon is home before letting themselves in.

Basically, a managed apartment is like a glorified hotel room where you actually have a kitchen that you can use. Kinda.

The other way to tell is because your neighbours will likely change between 1-3 months. So they may well annoy you, but probably not for long.

So far we have had construction workers, rail workers, IT guys and a few other business people that have lived next to us.

Occasionally the people at either end of our corridor will know each other, and they will drink together and wander home in the early hours of the morning.

Neighbours. Being Nosy. Netflix.

It’s hard not to be a nosy neighbour, and I have to admit that watching a guy trying to close and lock his front door for 5 minutes, before staggering off drunkenly, while the door is still not even closed. I don’t mean not locked, I mean the latch is out, so that the door isn’t even closed. He has locked the deadlock, and pushed the door, which still opens, before he walks off frustrated at the whole thing. It’s pretty much as good as anything Netflix has to offer.

The next best late night/early morning entertainment has got to be when I hear one of our Asian neighbours, with thick accent, try and communicate with a drunk Irish guy, also with a thick accent, that is slumped – possibly dead – outside his flat (about halfway down our corridor).

After our Asian neighbour, gets a grunt of a response from the Irishman, a sign of life, the neighbourly neighbour helps the man to his feet and walks him to his door. The Irishman throws his keys towards the door, maybe he thinks that’s how keys work in this building, but the other man picks them up and unlocks the door for him.

They are talking, I can’t really tell what about, or if they understand each other. The drunk Irishman says something, and then the the guy invites his saviour in. The good samaritan, politely declines, but the Irishman doesn’t want to take no for an answer.

The two men eventually, one of them reluctantly – enters the apartment. I wait for a few minutes to make sure I don’t hear any thrown punches, bodies hitting the ground, gun shots or loud words, before getting bored 30 seconds later after none of the above happens.

I enjoyed my five minutes of Netflix live, and go back to my life.

The rest of the apartments are made up of council tenants, many of which are fairly longterm, and then there are those that are housed here while more permanent accommodation can be found.

Parkwest: The Apartments

The apartments are all pretty nice, most of them have laminate floors throughout, and range in layouts depending on the number of rooms and various other factors.

Parkwest: The Kitchens

One thing to note, however. If you are looking at the flats on an estate agents website, Rightmove, Zoopla, etc. You need to be aware that the kitchen cupboards are deceptively small. These aren’t the cupboards that you would get in a house, or that are available to buy in B&Q. These cupboards are baby cupboards. So that in pictures when you see four cupboards on the wall and four on the floor, you think; that’s not too bad. But when you start filling them. Your dinner plates barely fit. That’s when you realise you’ve been duped by this dollhouse furniture.

Maybe you’re used to flats with undersized/space-saving cupboards, but I really wish I had known before I moved in.

The thing that makes it worse, is that when I went to a viewing to “upgrade”. Looking at a two-bedroom apartment. I was horrified to find an even smaller kitchen than in my one-bed.

How. On earth. Does it make sense?

Our one-bed has five cupboards on the wall. Three thin (300mm wide), one medium? (40mm wide) and one big….ish (445mm wide). I implore you to go measure the ones you have on your wall! That will give you an idea of how big, or small, these are. But a two-bed flat having only three small wall cupboards!?

What. The. Actual.

We, also looked at a threebed place, when we considered moving in with a friend of ours. This one was better, it at least had a bigger kitchen with more cupboards. It also had a utility room, with extra counter space, more cupboards and the washing machine. This could work for us… except there’s no undercroft parking. Read on for parking to find out why that is an issue.

Oh, and the sink. The flipping sink! It looks quite nice but isn’t really practical. If you are going to rent a flat with no dishwasher. Then be prepared to hate your life as soon as you start needing to wash-up in that tiny sink.

Parkwest: The Parking

Parking. Oh, holy mother of parking. The parking at Parkwest could be one of the biggest dealbreakers. I don’t know if it is any better at Bellway. That may be a topic for future articles.

He are the facts. There is very limited spaces in park west. Limited spaces means that you get one space per apartment, at least you do in one or two-bedroom apartments.

Unless it is otherwise specified, you only get a space in the outside area. A few of the buildings have undercroft parking, which is gated. Undercroft parking is better, though it still has issues.

The problem is, there is generally not enough space for the number of apartments in the area.

Friends of ours “rented” an unused space from a neighbour for a year. A wise choice after they were giving multiple tickets in their first week.

Again. NO visitors after 6 pm. They will get a ticket. I don’t care if it’s:

  • Someone helping you move in
  • Visiting for your birthday
  • a health visit
  • a booty call

But if you want visitors after 6 pm that drive. You should get them to park outside the estate and walk. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Parkwest: The Gym

The gym at Parkwest is small but rarely gets that busy, so small is fine. Unfortunately, three people make it seem busy.

I have used the gym quite a lot, and I will honestly miss it. It’s not the best, no. It has no free-weights, so no serious bodybuilders will go. But it has more that nothing.

It has two treadmills (though one is out of order at the time of writing), a rowing machine, elliptical machines, bikes, a machine to work legs, a lat-pulldown machine, and a cable machine for pretty much all weighted exercises.

Sure, the cable machine was missing some of the attachments I wanted to use on it. I bought some tricep pull down rope from Amazon (Amazon link) so I could work my triceps. But all in all, it’s not bad. Especially if you go at the right time, then it feels like your personal gym.

Parkwest: Concierge

Concierge is a godsend! Much like a hotel reception, they are there to greet and point people in the right direction. They also answer questions. But most importantly, they accept deliveries when you’re out, living your best life.

If they do accept deliveries, they will put a slip through your door while on their rounds between 8-10pm.

There are about two or three members of concierge staff, one of whom is lovely, and helpful. The other is more like I would be if I were doing that job.

The “Parks” of Parkwest

The first and main park at Parkwest

If you look at Parkwest, West Drayton on Google Maps, you’ll see that the layout of the estate is based around two squares. The houses are around the outside of said squares. Those Squares are “parks” or little green spaces for people to relax, play, and sit in.

They are actually quite nice, especially the front park. But like much of Parkwest, it is more about looking good from a distance, as long as you don’t scrutinise it.

The problem is, when we first walked around Parkwest, after moving in, we realised that many of the gates around the parks are permanently padlocked closed. Leaving only two gates open so you can walk through the estate. This also closes at about 9:30pm.

We are regularly sent letters saying that they will remove park prvialiges if people don’t start adhering to the rules! Such as no ball games etc.

There are a LOT of kids on the estate, which is far more apparent during the summer months.

We live in the Hurley/Jefferson block, and we have a ‘private’ courtyard between the buildings. You can only access it through the buildings, so you will only be sharing it with the residents of the two buildings.

The private courtyard between Hurley house and Jefferson House
The private courtyard between Hurley house and Jefferson House

During summer, the kids play out here, they are loud. They are kids. They are told off every few weeks, and their parents are informed that they are not to play in their unsupervised. I can see how a more-or-less private garden would be tempting as a cheap day-care while you catch up on your soaps. But I also see it as a dangerous area, that really wasn’t designed for kids.

Large curbs break up the geometric shapes of grass. When you see kids playing tag, frisbee, football, or cricket in the area, you can’t help but grimace every time a kid trips and narrowly misses the sharp angular stone edges.

If I’m honest, I am torn. Why not let the kids play in the parks? It is surely a better alternative to them playing in the street and around the parked cars. As they do when their park privileges are revoked, so the grass can grow back.

But at the same time, I understand not everyone wants screaming kids 8 feet from their window, and that’s the problem. There are a lot of very different people in such a dense living arrangement. And the fact the private renters are priced as premium living, while the majority of people in the surrounding blocks are temporary or permanent council resisdentsm means it will always be hard to please everyone.

Speaking of balconies…

The Balconies

Everyone gets one, but they are not all created equal. It doesn’t matter if you just spent 400k on an apartment, or you rent one. Parkwest, does not want you hanging your laundry out to dry.

You’re enjoying the summer weather, you want to dry some clothes in minutes rather than days. Tough. Hanging clothes on balconies will get you a strongly worded letter.

Sure, you can ignore it. Maybe you won’t get caught again. But it just seems so authoritarian. So unessessary.

Sure, it doesn’t look the best, but so what? People have to live.

I can imagine it being an issue when people start making clotheslines from their balcony to the opposite balcony, or to the trellis in the shared courtyard. But surely you can have a small airer. Put a height limit so it’s no taller than the balcony’s hand rail? Anything has got to be better than: No laundry on balcones!

The Conclusion

So, who is Parkwest for? Well, I guess it is for young professionals living and working either in Stockley Park or commuting into London from the nearby West Drayton Station.

If you don’t have a car and don’t drive, that is a bonus. If you don’t have friends or family that drive, that is also a bonus. Or, in fact, if you don’t have friends or family that will want to visit you after 6 pm.

Or maybe, it’s for people that just don’t have friends or family. Sorry whoever you are, but feel free to call me and we can totally hang out sometime. But I probably won’t come to you, because I know parking is a nightmare.


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