Five Crossrail districts set to soar: Whitechapel to Abbey Wood

Nowhere along Crossrail’s route will the new train service’s impact be more marked than around its southern spur, from Whitechapel to Abbey Wood in south-east London.
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In terms of the transformative effect on areas and enhancing their desirability, each of the five districts dotted along the southern spur of the new Crossrail route - from Custom House to Abbey Wood - are set to be driven into a different housing bracket. 

A new station is being built at each stop and at peak times, 12 trains an hour will take passengers to Docklands, the City and the West End.






​This new station will be one of the largest on the Crossrail network, a spectacular design that has been likened to a docked cruise ship, with six storeys of shops, a cinema, restaurants, bars, a landscaped park and a roof garden above the tracks.

Crucially, for the first time, Canary Wharf will have a direct link to Heathrow, slashing the journey time to the airport to 39 minutes — a boon for time-poor bankers and business executives. Crossrail marks a fresh stage in the evolution of Canary Wharf and is the key factor in ambitions to double the area’s working population to 200,000 over the next 15 years. And more employees mean more homes.

“There’s an abundance of new-build projects nearing completion, and the dynamics of the market are changing. No longer is it just Canary Wharf workers buying or renting. People are moving in from west and south,” says Julian Amos, of the local branch of estate agent Hamptons International.
Crossrail, and its new Canary Wharf station, with six storeys of amenities above the tracks, mark the area’s next stage of evolution

This part of Docklands is an alternative London, having more in common with downtown Chicago or Singapore than Kensington, Putney, Highgate or the City. Most residents are high-earning singles and couples under 45.

Canary Wharf was built originally as a financial zone. The vast majority of apartments, new and older ones, are outside the 97-acre estate. Homes within a 10-minute walk of the office towers are the most sought-after.

The new Crossrail station, anchored below the dealing rooms, will provide quicker links to Poplar, a poor relation currently blocked off by a dock. At most developments, prices are 15-20 per cent higher than a year ago, but values are still quite a bit lower than in central London, ranging from £600 to £1,000 a square foot. This means you can buy a waterfront flat with a budget of less than £500,000, while if you can stretch to £1 million or more, you can live in a penthouse.

Typically, new one-bedroom flats cost £300,000 to £500,000, and two-bedroom flats from £450,000 to £750,000. Resales in less-glitzy first-generation developments, built 15 or 20 years ago, are cheaper.
From £250,000: flats at Royal Wharf, a new Royal Docks neighbourhood, with Custom House the local Crossrail station. Crossrail will take locals from Custom House to Tottenham Court Road in 15 minutes

Crossrail is a huge boost for Royal Docks, one of London’s main regeneration and housing growth areas. Equivalent in size to the area from Hyde Park to Tower Bridge, it is currently out on a limb, served only by the Docklands Light Railway, but Crossrail will take locals to the heart of the West End — Tottenham Court Road — in 15 minutes.

The vision is for tens of thousands of new homes and the sort of convivial waterside living we associate with places such as Chelsea Harbour. At the moment, the area feels raw. However, with the sweeping changes planned, it is an opportunity to buy early into a district with upside.

Royal Wharf is one of the new neighbourhoods being built, with 3,385 homes designed around a high street and marketplace, garden squares, parks, shops, restaurants and a school. Much-needed family houses are part of the mix and almost half of this mainly low-rise development will be open green space, with jogging and cycle paths plus a riverside promenade. Flats start at £250,000. Four-bedroom townhouses with gardens and terraces cost from £1,050,000. Call 0800 160 1200.

A town centre of sorts for Royal Docks has formed around ExCeL exhibition centre, where smart apartment blocks and a cluster of hotels and eateries have sprung up.

Still one of the cheapest places to live in London, it has been touted as “up-and-coming” for more than a decade, without really achieving that status, but Crossrail is likely to be a game changer. When the station opens in 2018, no other place beyond Zone 1 in south London will be as well-connected. Locals will be able to travel to Canary Wharf in eight minutes, to the City in 14 minutes, to Bond Street in 22 minutes and to Heathrow in 50 minutes, without changing trains.
Game changer: Woolwich’s new Crossrail station will vastly improve connections from what is one of London’s cheapest areas to live - for now. Rail journey times to the City, Canary Wharf, the West End and Heathrow airport will be slashed

Royal Arsenal Riverside is the address set to benefit most. The new Crossrail station is being built within the walls of this impressive housing estate, a former armaments factory with a collection of prized listed buildings.

Developer Berkeley Homes has contributed £30 million to the cost of the station and is building 592 flats in five tower blocks above it, with prices from £345,000. Call 020 8331 7130.

The local council is lobbying Transport for London to make Woolwich, currently in Zone 4, a Zone 3 station, while another aim is to reconnect the riverside with Woolwich town centre, via new pedestrian routes and a public square.

Woolwich Central, a major town centre scheme built above a Tesco superstore, is an uplifting assembly of nine buildings linked by open courtyards, landscaped walkways and sky gardens. Modern, modular apartment blocks are clad in a grid pattern of black-and-grey panels and have glass-walled winter gardens for year-round living and views of the Thames. Prices from £250,000. Call 020 8855 7290.

Ex-local authority flats in the area start at less than £125,000, according to estate agent Peter James. Call 020 8858 2555. Away from the river-hugging town centre and industrial estates, Woolwich has tree-lined avenues, a common and conservation areas.

This dreary south-London outpost will be brought in from the cold by Crossrail, the biggest addition to the local train network since the North Kent line was built in 1849. “The new link will morph the area into a serious commuter zone,” says Johnny Morris, head of research at Hamptons International.
Residents at the new Southmere Village in Thamesmead will be served by Abbey Wood Crossrail station

Most housing here dates back to the Fifties and Sixties when the London County Council built new estates on marshland. Thamesmead, with its brutalist-style concrete architecture, was one of these neighbourhoods but it is now being bulldozed to make way for new homes for a new generation.

Peabody, the housing charity, is investing £200 million in a new “garden suburb” that will include apartments along Thamesmead’s three miles of waterfront and be connected to the new Crossrail station.

Regeneration is already under way at Southmere Village - 296 homes plus a library, shops and community square. Bellway is also building homes here. Call 01689 886400.

Elsewhere, three-bedroom houses sell for less than £180,000. Call Able Estates on 020 8012 2231.



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