Average decibel reading
The crescent of Kingston, Sutton, Croydon and Bromley dominates the list of the top 10 quietest boroughs, partly because they all back on to the North Downs. Sutton claims to be one of the cleanest and greenest local authorities, and, in 2002, housing association Peabody completed its environmentally friendly, low-carbon development, BedZED, there. The first of its kind in the UK, it was built on a disused part of a sewage plant on the edge of Hackbridge, and borders a nature reserve that is a surprising pocket of wilderness within the capital. This original development is part of an ongoing £150million project to deliver a sustainable suburb.
Sutton’s town centre is changing too: there is a tram extension in the offing, plus a £50million regeneration of the southern part of the high street, including the refurbishment of the old cinema. Sutton Point, a scheme with 332 flats on the high street, built by CNM Estates, has been unveiled this month. It consists of three towers with apartments, office and retail space, a hotel and health and fitness club, all in a public square. The flats range from studios to three-bedroom apartments and penthouses, and prices start from £310,000.
“Convenience is the name of the game in Sutton, with excellent schools, peaceful family locations, good shopping options and a 26-minute commute to Victoria,” says William Campbell of Foxtons. “Cheam Village and Carshalton Beeches are the most popular areas with families looking for a quieter environment, with Nonsuch Park bordering Cheam Village.”
House-hunters in the area can find four-bedroom family homes for £475,000. For those with a budget of more than £1million and who want the village experience, look at the leafy surroundings of Cheam.
If you can find £3million more, then there’s an 8,000sqft mansion on the market with Hamptons International, 1.4miles from Cheam station. The mock-Regency house has six bedrooms, two walk-in wine stores, a cinema and an orangery. The back gate leads to a golf course.
Another quiet borough in south London is Kingston upon Thames. While its busy town centre has a hectic one-way system and attracts shoppers from across London and Surrey, the residential roads in north Kingston, next to Richmond Park, are sedate. “There are three train stations in the borough, which perhaps deters the use of cars,” suggests Matt Aboud, of estate agency Featherstone Leigh.
“As well as being a quiet spot, Kingston is very popular among families due to the high density of top-performing schools. With the Thames running through the borough there are lots of riverside activities available, such as a drink at one of the riverside pubs.” A starter home in the borough will cost around £550,000. Hackney is a combination of urban London at its busiest and a haven of green spaces. Through it runs the Bloomsbury to Waltham Forest Quietway – a backstreet route for cyclists. “While the main parks can be extremely busy during the summer months, you can still find yourself a quiet spot to read or have a picnic,” says Chris Manderson of Foxtons. “The ever-increasing trend for cycling and sustainability means that car use is kept to a minimum.”
The streets surrounding Well Street Common are especially serene and, as a result, the large Victorian houses go for around £2million. Flats on the peaceful streets running adjacent to Chatsworth Road start from £350,000.
Peabody’s joint venture with developer Hill sees them building a canalside neighbourhood that is set in the heart of Hackney Wick, east London. Fish Island Village will have around 580 new homes, with prices starting from £432,500.
A flat near Victoria Park, left, £950,000 with Foxtons; below, Sutton Point towers