A Former WWII M16 Spy Post Re-Emerges As A Ultra-Modern Mansion
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A Former WWII M16 Spy Post Re-Emerges As A Ultra-Modern Mansion

The newly developed six-bedroom home in North London has hit the market.

By Liz Lucking
Tue, May 18, 2021 11:35amGrey Clock 2 min

A pocket of leafy suburban London that once held a secret, wartime intelligence base with bullet-proof doors and windows, and wireless transmitters on the roof, is now a newly built luxury home.

Set in the village of Arkley in North London, Rowley Ridge, as it’s known, spans 1020 square metres and hit the market in April for £8.5 million (A$15.4 million) with estate agency Beauchamp Estates.

During World War II, the site of Rowley Ridge—then an Edwardian villa—was selected by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill as one of a handful of detached country houses to be a clandestine listening post base used by M16 to spy on German signals, intercept illicit wireless messages and support the code-breaking taking place at the famed Bletchley Park, according to a news release from the brokerage.

Casa E Progetti

Set 134-metres above sea level, Arkley was chosen by Churchill for its advantageous altitude—conductive for capturing radio transmissions.

“As a local resident I am naturally biased, but I truly believe that Arkley is a true leafy oasis,” Jeremy Gee, managing director of Beauchamp Estates said in the release.

It’s “one of London’s most exclusive enclaves, bordered by both greenbelt countryside and the private golf course, yet only nine miles from London’s West End,” he said. Arkley’s hidden role as a World War II M16 base adds the excitement and glamour of the secret services, spies and gadgets.”

Casa E Progetti

Now the six-bedroom family-home, developed by Domvs London—is loaded with very different amenities than it would have housed some 80 years ago.

There’s a three-story atrium, a main reception room with a lounge area, drawing room area and dining area, a custom-designed kitchen, a main bedroom suite with a private balcony and views across the nearby private golf course, according to the release.

On the basement level is a soundproof cinema room with a cocktail bar, a game room, a swimming pool, a steam room and a gym. There’s also a panic room and a biometric entry system.

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Mortgage holders should brace themselves for more pain as the Reserve Bank of Australia board prepares to meet this afternoon for the first time this year.

Most economists and the major banks are predicting a rise of 25 basis points will be announced, although the Commonwealth Bank suggested yesterday that the RBA may take the unusual step of a 40 basis point rise to bring the interest rate up to a more conventional 3.5 percent. This could present the RBA with the chance to put further rate rises on hold for the next few months as it assesses the impact of tightening monetary policy on the economy.

The decision by the RBA board to make consecutive rate rises since April last year is an attempt to wrestle inflation down to a more manageable 3 or 4 percent. The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports that the inflation rate rose to 7.8 percent over the 2022 December quarter, the highest it has been since 1990, reflected in higher prices for food, fuel and construction.

Higher interest rates have coincided with falling home values, which Ray White chief economist Nerida Conisbee says are down 6.1 percent in capital cities since peaking in March 2022. The pain has been greatest in Sydney, where prices have dropped 10.8 percent since February last year. Melbourne and Canberra recorded similar, albeit smaller falls, while capitals like Adelaide, which saw property prices fall 1.8 percent, are less affected.

Although prices may continue to decline, Ms Conisbee (below) said there are signs the pace is slowing and that inflation has peaked.

“December inflation came in at 7.8 per cent with construction, travel and electricity costs being the biggest drivers. It is likely that we are now at peak,” Ms Conisbee said. 

“Many of the drivers of high prices are starting to be resolved. Shipping costs are now down almost 90 per cent from their October 2021 peak (as measured by the Baltic Dry Index), while crude oil prices have almost halved from March 2022. China is back open and international migration has started up again. 

“Even construction costs look like they are close to plateau. Importantly, US inflation has pulled back from its peak of 9.1 per cent in June to 6.5 per cent in December, with many of the drivers of inflation in this country similar to Australia.”

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