SPOTLIGHT ON SIDCUP
Find a home you can afford and be sure of a seat on the train in the morning rush. Work’s only half an hour away, says Anthea Masey
YOUNG Londoners are increasingly attracted to Sidcup by its first- time buyer-friendly house prices and the quick commute to the centre of the capital — with that rare opportunity of securing a seat on the train during the morning rush hour. Families seeking good schools are keen, too, as are downsizers.
Change is coming to this quiet southeast London suburb. Over the last five years, it has gained two new pocketfriendly hotels — a Travelodge and a Premier Inn — while these days there’s also a branch of Little Waitrose and new accommodation for Rose Bruford College, the drama school that counts Oscar-nominated Gary Oldman among its former students.
The Fold, a £20 million copper-clad mixed-use scheme by Studio Egret West next to the station, looks rather like the inside of a posh box of chocolates and though it launched to mixed reviews, it is popular with young City commuters. Local estate agent Brett Northover, at Village Estates, says: “I recently sold a two- bedroom flat in The Fold for £335,000 — there were four offers and it went for above the asking price.”
The local shops are around the station in Station Road and also half a mile away in the town centre, which has recently benefited from a £1.8 million face lift. Sidcup and nearby Foots Cray were once home to wealthy London families who built large country houses, some of which survive to this day. One of the most historic is Frognal House, once home to the Whig politician Thomas Townshend, lst Viscount Sydney (1733-1800), who gave his name to Sydney in Nova Scotia in Canada and Sydney in Australia. Frognal was used as a First World War hospital, where the pioneering plastic surgeon Harold Gillies rebuilt the faces of injured soldiers from the trenches.
Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance is found at Lamorbey House, another fine listed historic building. The original 17th- century house was rebuilt in the 18th century and again in the 19th century, when the Jacobean-style exterior was added.
THE most expensive home for sale locally is another grand mansion. Vale Mascal in North Cray Road, an 18thcentury seven- bedroom house with a separate cottage, in five acres along the River Cray, is on the market with JDM for £3.5 million. Call 020 8012 2398 for details.
Sidcup is 14 miles south-east of central London with the major shopping centre of Bexleyheath to the north, open Kent countryside to the east, Chislehurst to the south and New Eltham to the west.
Building a future: Sidcup High Street has had a £1.8 million makeover. Young buyers love the town’s affordable homes
Buy a new bike — or fix up your old one: Martin Luffman, senior mechanic at Sidcup Cycle Centre. The shop has offered bike sales and servicing for 23 years
Browse awhile: co-owners Jane Elsden and Veronica Kelly at Indian Rose, for household items, fashion, gifts and toys
The Green: enjoyed by Sidcup since the early 1800s, when development of what was then a village began to accelerate
Cask ales specialist: Ben Brooks at The Hackney Carriage Micro Pub