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November 25, 2010
Kensington Palace Gardens- The World's Most Exclusive Street
The most exclusive street in London, stretching approximately half a mile from Kensington High Street to Notting Hill faces Kensington Palace, the former home of Princess Diana, and the aesthetic surrounding park area. The Freehold of the properties on the tree-lined roads are still owned by the Crown Estate. The Crown Estate is not bound by The Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 which has made it considerably easier for residential lease owners to qualify for enfranchisement or a lease extension. The Crown Estate has however stated that “In accordance with its voluntary policy ….[it] is prepared to use the same criteria for qualification for a lease extension in “Excepted Areas”.
Long leaseholds have been granted to private individuals, however the bulk of the street remains occupied by Foreign Embassies and official residencies for state envoys. As a hub for embassies, the area is surrounded by considerable security, similar to Belgrave Square, however the road additionally has gated entrances at both ends preserving access to the street. The most famous private residents on the street include Lakshmi Mittal whose family owns a total four properties on the street, the Sultan of Brunei and the Russain American investment tycoon Len Blavatnik.
The chief Mittal residence, 18-19, also dubbed Taj Mittal, comprises two properties with previous residents including the de Rothschilds and Thomas Reuter the founder of the media company. The property was redeveloped by David Khalili, the billionaire Islamic art collector and developer, who sold it to Bernie Ecclestone who is said to have never occupied the home, before it was finally purchased by Mittal for a record £70m in 2004.
Labels of prestige and luxury do not depict the exclusivity of this address which boasts security, unrivalled views, tranquillity, limited access and colossal detached homes surrounded by ample green space all not too far from the bustle of the capital.