The trans­form­ing rail link is cre­at­ing new-homes op­por­tu­ni­ties for Lon­don’s first-time buy­ers, with su­per-fast trains to the West End. By David Spit­tles

Evening Standard - West End Final Extra - ES Homes and Property - - Front Page -

NEW trans­port links pro­duce the big­gest boost to an area — which is why the river-hug­ging dis­tricts east of Green­wich are fast be­com­ing new homes hotspots.

Cross­rail will soon open up this ter­ri­tory to tens of thou­sands of buy­ers seek­ing an af­ford­able home within quick com­mut­ing dis­tance of cen­tral Lon­don. No other ar­eas be­yond travel Zone 1 will be as well con­nected as Wool­wich and Abbey Wood. Both are get­ting new sta­tions, and few parts of Lon­don are cur­rently as cheap, with av­er­age prices be­low £350,000.

Thames­mead, the cheap­est, is poised for huge change with an en­tire new town cen­tre planned by hous­ing char­ity Pe­abody.

“The new rail link will morph SE post­codes pre­vi­ously seen as dreary out­posts into a se­ri­ous com­muter zone,” says An­drew Palmer, di­rec­tor of prop­erty ad­viser Cush­man & Wake­field. “De­vel­op­ers are tar­get­ing sites close to the new sta­tions, and rais­ing the bar in terms of de­sign qual­ity.”

Abbey Place is a no­table project in the pipe­line, a 29-storey tower with 208 apart­ments, a new public square, shops and a ho­tel right next to Abbey Wood Cross­rail sta­tion. To reg­is­ter, call Hub Res­i­den­tial on 020 7534 9065.

To ce­ment im­prove­ments re­sult­ing from Cross­rail and re­cently an­nounced river cross­ings for this swathe of the cap­i­tal, Green­wich coun­cil is shift­ing its re­gen­er­a­tion fo­cus to­wards the bor­ough’s outer cor­ners.


The splen­did old mar­itime town of Green­wich, a Unesco World Her­itage Site, is the cap­i­tal’s most-vis­ited area af­ter cen­tral Lon­don. But few peo­ple venture be­yond it. Lo­cal plan­ners want to re­vi­talise the wa­ter­front east of the town cen­tre, all the way to Erith, where the legacy of heavy in­dus­try is still vis­i­ble. Green­wich Penin­sula, an emerg­ing 15,500- home neigh­bour­hood wrap­ping around The O2 arena, is the first of the new “ur­ban quar­ters” and just be­yond this is Charl­ton, an un­der­the-radar Vic­to­rian in­ner sub­urb with great-value houses, many ripe for ren­o­va­tion or a mod­ern makeover.


Wool­wich has been touted as “up-and­com­ing” for at least a decade but Cross­rail is a game changer for the area, slash­ing jour­ney times to Ca­nary Wharf and Tot­ten­ham Court Road to eight and 19 min­utes re­spec­tively. Royal Ar­se­nal River­side, a for­mer mu­ni­tions fac­tory with dozens of prized listed build­ings, is Wool­wich’s best ad­dress, but you pay quite a big pre­mium to live there. Flats start at £432,500, or £322,000 for those work­ing in Green­wich bor­ough who qual­ify for the Dis­count Mar­ket Share scheme. Three-bed­room du­plex pent­houses cost from £ 1,295,000 to £1,905,000. Call 020 8331 7130.

The new Cross­rail sta­tion is be­ing built within this walled es­tate, which also has shops, eater­ies, bars and a monthly farm­ers’ mar­ket, while com­ing soon is a £31 mil­lion cul­tural cen­tre with two the­atres and re­hearsal stu­dios, artists’ spa­ces and out­side per­for­mance ar­eas. Nearby Cal­lis Yard has 120 apart­ments with river-fac­ing roof gar­dens. Prices from £350,000. Call 020 7519 5917.

At Trin­ity Walk, ris­ing on the site of a bull­dozed coun­cil es­tate, apart­ments start at £330,000 and three-bed­room town­houses from £685,000. Call 020 3247 4762.

Away from the town cen­tre and in­dus­trial estates, Wool­wich has a com­mon, leafy tree-lined av­enues and con­ser­va­tion ar­eas. Royal Ar­tillery Bar­racks is a prom­i­nent land­mark on the north­ern edge of the com­mon, while the splen­did Royal Mil­i­tary Academy, once a train­ing school for of­fi­cers, nes­tles in the slopes of Shoot­ers Hill. To­day it is an es­tate of 328 homes called The Academy.


Thames­mead was built in the Six­ties on marsh­land pre­vi­ously used as ri­fle ranges. It was a Brave New World of bru­tal­ist-style blocks with in­ter­con­nect­ing walk­ways that were “streets in the sky”. New lakes and canals and Lon­don’s big­gest na­ture re­serve helped drain an area sus­cep­ti­ble to flood­ing.

How­ever, the district fell into dis­re­pute, hand­i­capped by a lack of shops, banks and the ab­sence of in­te­grated public trans­port that was very much needed in this cut-off location. A fresh vi­sion by Pe­abody seeks to ad­dress past mis­takes. The hous­ing as­so­ci­a­tion’s £4 bil­lion mas­ter­plan will bring 11,500 homes of ev­ery ten­ure, lots of shops, cafés, a new li­brary and schools, plus com­mu­nity gar­dens and at­trac­tive wa­ter­side public ar­eas. There will be a new spine road, or high street, with im­proved pedes­trian and cy­cle routes to the Abbey Wood Cross­rail sta­tion.

It will not be just a hous­ing es­tate. There are plans for a med­i­cal train­ing fa­cil­ity with af­ford­able ac­com­mo­da­tion for health care work­ers, the in­spi­ra­tion be­ing Im­pe­rial Col­lege Lon­don’s new re­search cam­pus at White City.

In one way, at least, it’s back to the fu­ture. In a rein­ter­pre­ta­tion of tra­di­tional 19th-cen­tury Pe­abody estates,

clus­ters of brick blocks will be grouped around raised shared court­yards, cre­at­ing smaller com­mu­ni­ties within the larger whole. And where once there were tow­ers, there will now be a se­quence of streets and lake­side squares, one with a fo­cal-point wa­ter clock tower and an ar­cade of shops.

Homes will range from one-bed­room flats to four-bed­room houses and 45 per cent of the new prop­er­ties will be “af­ford­able”, ei­ther for rent or shared own­er­ship. Visit pe­abody. thames­mead to reg­is­ter and find out more.

Get con­nected: Abbey Place, with 208 homes, a ho­tel, shops and a new public square next to the new Abbey Wood Cross­rail sta­tion. Reg­is­ter with Hub Res­i­den­tial on 020 7534 9065

Re­nais­sance: Green­wich Penin­sula, Ca­nary Wharf and the City, above. The wa­ter­front is be­ing re­vi­talised with 15,500 new homes wrap­ping around The O2, and Cross­rail open­ing up river-hug­ging dis­tricts east of Green­wich town

From £350,000: 120 apart­ments with river-fac­ing roof gar­dens at Cal­lis Yard, near Royal Ar­se­nal River­side

A com­plete new neigh­bour­hood: Royal Ar­se­nal River­side’s monthly farm­ers’ mar­ket, right. The walled es­tate also has shops, bars and eater­ies and is get­ting a Cross­rail sta­tion plus a £31 mil­lion cul­tural cen­tre

From £432,500: left, flats at Royal Ar­se­nal River­side. Those work­ing in Green­wich bor­ough who qual­ify for the Dis­count Mar­ket Share scheme pay from £322,000

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