Steve Lamey has lived in his new home on Bonchurch Road for three years, and the pride he takes in it is clear.
He even allowed it to be used as a location in the second series of Netflix drama Marcella, giving over his home to film crews for ten weeks, and has since let admiring tourists familiar with the show take photographs of his front door.
‘It’s a modern living space,’ says Steve, ‘it’s open, bright – fantastic. It’s so well designed to make the most of the floor space: there’s a study area, space to entertain’. He also appreciates the fact that the development is mixed tenure and tenure blind. ‘I want people to respect that as a model,’ he says, ‘it’s the new template for London.’
Steve is keen to see all residents and Catalyst working together to make Portobello Square work. ‘One of my first memories is of my mum cleaning the steps of our council house in Plymouth’, he says, ‘and lots of people here do the same. It’s about our pride in living on our estate.’ He knows many of his neighbours in both the private and social rented homes well. Where they’ve had problems in their homes or the neighbourhood, they’ve often been the same problems, and Steve would like private residents to have more opportunities to get involved in helping to solve them.
‘We really want this to be an integrated development; we don’t want it to be ‘us and them’. It won’t work unless it’s all managed as one. It has all the ingredients to be great, but if we don’t all put the effort in it won’t be great.’ Steve is also excited about his new neighbourhood. ‘I couldn’t have told you where Notting Hill was before I found this house,’ he says, ‘we wanted to live in a different area where we hadn’t been before. Someone said ‘they’re building some interesting stuff at the top of Portobello Road’. When I got on the train one morning and walked up, I had no idea what I’d find.’ Since then, Steve has relished discovering Golborne Road, browsing Portobello Market, and walking along the canal to Little Venice for a cup of tea. He also appreciates having the Venture Centre nearby.
‘Portobello Square is completely multicultural, multinational, with families, semi-retired people like me, professional people,’ says Steve. ‘It’s an eclectic mix in great accommodation in a great part of the world. And the structure of the place makes you meet people. In the private development where I used to live in Portsmouth I saw the people next door and that was it. Here you run into people. I’ve had more neighbours’ dinners and drinks here than anywhere else I’ve lived.’