urban75 blog

The weirdness of the Lower Mill Estate: a gated, second-home Cotswold ‘community’

Feeling like a cross between a Hollywood set, The Prisoner, The Truman Show and some soulless gated community in a posh part of Los Angeles is the Lower Mill Estate, located in the heart of the Cotswolds.

Billed as a collection of  “stunning contemporary lakeside second homes,” the development is made up of a variety of upmarket houses built around artificial lakes created from abandoned quarry workings.

Here’s how the website describes the Lower Mill Estate:

In the heart of the Cotswolds there is a place where you and your family can safely live in a vibrant community. You can play immersed in nature at its purest, yet with a level of style and luxury never seen before in such a deep rural setting…

Exclusive, private villages committed to ecological best practice, with wonderful facilities, a luxury family spa plus over 550 acres of pure countryside to roam at will.

The pictures don’t really sure how weird the place is: everything is picture perfect, the streets clean, the grass verges are neatly clipped and the air is clean but there’s no one about.

It’s like a slab of Hampstead dropped into the countryside with big metal gates keeping out all the oiks, leaving a bland landscape of characterless, shameless, not-for-the-likes-of-you luxury.

I won’t predictably rant on about the obscenity of these kind of places being built when so many people are homeless or living in dreadful housing. Instead, I’ll let you decide how you feel about this statement on their website:

NB. Please note that the vacation homes may not be occupied in the period 6th January to 5th February each year as they holiday homes and not principal places of residence. You must have a first home in order to buy one of our properties.

Luxury villas surround tranquil lakes. These second home properties go for in excess of £400,000.

Patrolled by 24 hour security guards, the development boasts a shop “stocked with essentials and luxuries, and a new café for those life-giving cappuccinos,” while a private ‘family spa’ offers outdoor and heated pools, a steam room, a sauna, a technogym, a library and a’ restful’ residents’ lounge – all protected by those big electronic gates.

It’s rare that a place leaves me speechless, but this place did.

[Official website]