Brew­ing up a new im­age for Wandsworth

Bri­tain’s old­est brew house is be­ing turned into hun­dreds of homes and giv­ing Wandsworth in south Lon­don a whole new look, re­ports Tory King­don

The Daily Telegraph - Property - - Front Page -

Wandsworth has long been a pop­u­lar choice for fam­i­lies and af­flu­ent young pro­fes­sion­als, and it’s easy to see why. From the pretty Vic­to­rian cot­tages of the clus­ter of roads known as the Ton­s­leys to the large red brick and stuc­cofronted de­tached and semi-de­tached homes of the “Toast Rack” streets off Trin­ity Road, there’s no short­age of qual­ity hous­ing stock. There’s also Wandsworth Com­mon and good schools, and while it may not have its own Tube sta­tion, di­rect trains run from Wandsworth Town to Water­loo and from Wandsworth Com­mon to Vic­to­ria. Even its less sought-af­ter South­side area has seen re­gen­er­a­tion in the past few years; it now has a Waitrose.

But Wandsworth as we know it is soon to be trans­formed, thanks to a £600mil­lion mixed-use de­vel­op­ment by the Green­land Group called the Ram Quar­ter. The planned scheme con­sists of 663 pri­vate and af­ford­able new homes, rang­ing from stu­dios to four-bed­room du­plex apart­ments. It could even fix one of the neigh­bour­hood’s least ap­peal­ing fea­tures: the traf­fic-heavy A3 ring road that runs through the high street will be di­verted, pro­vid­ing bet­ter ac­cess by foot to Wandsworth Town. “If you’re walk­ing from the South­side [shop­ping] Cen­tre up to the sta­tion, you have to go around the one-way sys­tem and ne­go­ti­ate the busy road,” says Alex Finch, the direc­tor of res­i­den­tial de­vel­op­ment at JLL. “But soon you’ll be able to cut through and pick up a cof­fee or some break­fast on the way.”

Or even a pint. Beer has been brewed con­tin­u­ously on this site since the Ram’s Inn was opened in 1533, dur­ing the reign of Henry VIII, mak­ing it the old­est brew­ery in Bri­tain still op­er­at­ing. It be­came the first Young’s brew­ery when An­thony Bain­bridge and Charles Young bought the site in 1831. Now over­seen by John Hatch, a for­mer Young’s em­ployee, the brew­ing hasn’t even paused dur­ing the site’s con­struc­tion; Hatch has been work­ing out of a nano-brew­ery con­structed from scrap metal in the old sta­ble block, where he makes “about half a bar­rel a week” and holds com­edy nights.

Once con­struc­tion is fin­ished, the old Ram Brew­ery will be re­stored and housed in the Porter Tun Room, where porter (the dark, hoppy, stout-like beer made from brown malt) was brewed in the years fol­low­ing the Gin Act of 1751, which was en­acted to limit the con­sump­tion of spir­its in an at­tempt to re­duce crime. Beer afi­ciona­dos will be able to live in this Grade II listed brew- ery build­ing. The first phase of new homes at the Ram Quar­ter – al­ready 90 per cent sold – con­cludes with Coop­ers’ Lofts, a col­lec­tion of 14 apart­ments due for com­ple­tion next month. Prices range from £480,000 for a 358 sq ft stu­dio to £2.85mil­lion for a four-bed­room du­plex cov­er­ing 2,687 sq ft.

The his­tory of these new homes will be im­me­di­ately ev­i­dent, with the brew­ery’s beam en­gine – built in the mid-18th cen­tury and one of the old­est of its kind in the world – on show in the lobby. The apart­ments will have pe­riod fea­tures such as high ceil­ings, tim­ber beams, ex­posed iron and brick­work, and re­stored in­dus­trial-style win­dows.

“The Ram Quar­ter is in­ject­ing new life into old in­dus­trial units and has been very well re­ceived lo­cally,” says Robin Chatwin, head of Sav­ills’ south­west Lon­don team and a Wandsworth res­i­dent for more than 30 years. “The de­vel­op­ment will cre­ate a real com­mu­nity from noth­ing and is ex­pected to be­come a des­ti­na­tion in its own right.” It will in­clude 100,000 sq ft of re­tail and leisure space, although de­tails of this re­main vague.

The sec­ond phase of homes will in­clude a 36-floor tower and an­other two res­i­den­tial build­ings, and Green­land has just re­ceived plan­ning for the third phase, which will de­liver 50 homes as well as of­fice and work­shop space. This will in­clude the restora­tion of Church Row, a beau­ti­ful street of Grade II and II* listed Geor­gian ter­raced houses.

These will join the bevy of new homes hit­ting the mar­ket in Wandsworth. The last phase of Berke­ley’s mam­moth Bat­tersea Reach project has just launched, with prices start­ing from £565,000, while the River­side Quar­ter from de­vel­oper Frasers Prop­erty has apart­ments avail­able from £745,000. Pocket Liv­ing’s Maple­ton Cres­cent scheme re­cently re­leased 36 homes to the mar­ket, with prices start­ing at £685,000, and homes in Tay­lor Wim­pey’s Osiers Point will be avail­able to buy early next year from £495,000. The Ram Quar­ter is just one of the de­vel­op­ments trans­form­ing the face of Wandsworth – but with acres of re­tail space as well as the his­toric and ac­tive brew­ery, it might be the one with the most fizz.

‘It is in­ject­ing new life into old in­dus­trial units’

LOFTY AM­BI­TIONS Prices start from £480,000 for an apart­ment in Coop­ers’ Lofts, be­low, the lat­est re­lease of homes in the Ram Quar­ter de­vel­op­ment, left

RAISE A GLASS The Green­land Group’s scheme in­cludes 100,000 sq ft of re­tail and leisure space

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