Top schools in good-value sub­urbs

Evening Standard - West End Final Extra - ES Homes and Property - - Schools -

af­ford­able lo­ca­tions. With a bud­get of £750,000 or less you have a shot at a qual­ity fam­ily home and a place in an out­per­form­ing school too.

KINGSTON UPON THAMES

This far-flung south-west Lon­don lo­ca­tion at­tracts buy­ers from posher climes like Clapham and Chiswick.

In Kingston, said Al­li­son Steele, a sales di­rec­tor at Pen­ney & Co, they can find not only more af­ford­able pe­riod homes but also low crime rates, plenty of green­ery, beau­ti­ful walks along the River Thames — and great schools.

The top prizes, ed­u­ca­tion-wise, are The Tif­fin Girls’ School and The Tif­fin School (boys), which score some of the best A-level results in Bri­tain and are highly se­lec­tive. “There is also a host of Of­sted out­stand­ing pri­mary schools in north Kingston,” said Steele.

Par­ents of bright kids in with a shot of a place at one of the Tiffins can ex­pect to pay be­tween £700,000 and £750,000 for a three-bed­room semi in North Kingston, close to the key schools. A four-bed­room prop­erty would be around £900,000. South Kingston is bet­ter value (a sim­i­lar three­bed­room house would cost around £650,000) but fur­ther from the Tiffins and best pri­maries.

Kingston’s com­mute is an­other point in its favour. A jour­ney to Water­loo takes from half an hour, and an an­nual sea­son ticket costs £1,852.

Its down­side, as with so many of Lon­don’s sub­urbs, is its town cen­tre. No­body can ar­gue Kingston doesn’t have de­cent shops, but what it lacks is charisma. Its one-way sys­tem is con­fus­ing, and while lo­cals love Ben­talls and John Lewis it lacks the kind of in­de­pen­dent out­lets that make shop­ping a plea­sure rather than a chore.

De­vel­oper Bri­tish Land has plan­ning con­sent for a £400 mil­lion plan to de­mol­ish and re­build the heart of Kingston’s town cen­tre with 400 flats, shops, and leisure fa­cil­i­ties; in an ideal world it would cu­rate the new busi- nesses it al­lows in, King’s Cross style, to make Kingston more in­ter­est­ing.

Five miles east of Kingston, and the Wim­ble­don side of the SW20 post­code is a pre­dictable mix of multi-mil­lion pound tennis star-friendly man­sions and el­e­gant pe­riod vil­las.

Raynes Park (some­times styled “West Wim­ble­don” by op­ti­mistic agents) is a more down-to- earth sort of choice, with great-value Vic­to­rian ter­races and 1920s and 1930s semis. It also pos­sesses one of Lon­don’s top- per­form­ing schools, Ur­su­line High School. Sami Husseyin, di­rec­tor of Web­ster & Darby es­tate agents, says most of his clients are up­siz­ing from more ex­pen­sive lo­ca­tions like Put­ney, South­fields, and Clapham. The out­per­form­ing Ur­su­line is a huge draw to the area, as are qual­ity pri­mary schools like Hol­ly­mount School, rated good by Of­sted, and bags of open space

Com­muters like Raynes Park be­cause trains to Water­loo take from 23 min­utes. An an­nual sea­son ticket costs £1,276.

The other fac­tor, says Husseyin, is while a typ­i­cal three-bed­room semide­tached house near Wim­ble­don Sta­tion would cost from around £1.1 mil­lion, in Raynes Park the start­ing price for a home south of the sta­tion is around £750,000. “It is a very res­i­den­tial area,” said Husseyin, a lo­cal res­i­dent him­self. “There is a small high street, Wor­ple Road, with some bars and restau­rants, and Wim­ble­don Vil­lage is only a 15minute walk up the road.”

SOUTH-EAST LON­DON

This has be­come a mag­net for fam­i­lies look­ing for value for money, and in SE3 a ter­raced house costs an aver­age £668,667, mak­ing it a bar­gain by Lon­don stan­dards.

This is one of the cap­i­tal’s most mashed-up post­codes, com­bin­ing the ver­dant beauty of Greenwich Park with res­o­lutely ur­ban Kid­brooke.

Kid­brooke’s sec­ondary star is Thomas Tal­lis School, which gets the best aver­age A-level results in Greenwich. And, al­though it is in an area best known for its dis­as­trous so­cial hous­ing, just east of Greenwich Park there are also streets of pe­riod homes ideal for fam­i­lies.

Mean­while, Kid­brooke’s messy es­tates are cur­rently fo­cus of an im­pres­sive £1 bil­lion of in­vest­ment creat­ing 20,000 new homes, served not only by a 22minute train ser­vice to Lon­don Bridge but a promised ex­ten­sion of the Dock­lands Light Rail­way.

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