Bromley is a green and leafy suburb with outstanding state schools, 12 miles south-east of London. The town, rather than the much larger borough in which it sits, splits neatly into a number of neighbourhoods.
Bromley South is full of mostly modern purpose-built flats. Sundridge Park is where some of the most expensive houses are found, with large, detached Twenties homes in Bickley.
Bromley Old Town, close to Bromley North station, has a mix of Victorian cottages and larger houses. Shortlands has Victorian, Edwardian and Twenties semis, while Bromley Common has two- and three-bedroom houses, popular with first-time buyers.
Daniella Aspland, manager of Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward’s Bromley office, says there is a shortage of houses to buy in Bromley as many families currently prefer to extend rather than trade up. She says: “The market for flats is depressed as most first-time buyers are going for two-bedroom houses, which can be bought for less than the £250,000 stamp duty threshold.”
The town attracts young families from all over London because there is a good supply of small houses, a quick and easy commute to central London and good schools.
The best roads are Edward Road and Garden Road, which lead down to the green spaces of Sundridge Park. A house in Edward Road sold for £1.8 million earlier this year. Estate agent jdm (020 8313 6800) is selling a seven-bedroom house in Garden Road for £1.4 million.
Hill Brow is an unadopted road with some fine Twenties detached houses and some newly built mansions. The most expensive house here sold for £1.52 million in 2008. There are many fine Arts & Crafts houses in Bickley (though the western edge of this neighbourhood is considered to be Chiselhurst rather than Bromley) designed in the years before the First World War by the noted architect Charles Quennell. Estate agent Fine & Country (020 3318 7632) is selling one of his houses in St George’s Road for £1.5 million.
What’s new? Trinity Village on the site of derelict playing fields on the corner of Crown Lane and Bromley Common is a development of 800 new homes, of which 264 are affordable. Ward Homes (020 8313 3756) is selling three- and four- bedroom townhouses, starting at £354,995 for three bedrooms.
Call Barratt (0844 811 4343) for one and two-bedroom flats which go on sale in the middle of next month. The 20 shared-ownership affordable one- and two-bedroom flats are available through housing association Affinity Sutton (0300 100 0303).
Bromley’s oldest streets are north of the town centre. This pretty enclave of Victorian terraces and semi-detached houses with its friendly pubs deserves to be better known. Many people in this area progress from a two-bedroom cottage (priced at under £250,000) in say Plymouth Road, to a three-bedroom terrace house (at about £350,000) in Freelands Road for example, settling in one of the larger houses in Hawes Road (between £500,000 and £550,000).
Schools: Bromley’s state schools are one of the town’s biggest attractions. Highfield (infants and juniors) in South Hill Road, and Valley in Beckenham Lane, both in Shortlands, are judged “outstanding” by the government education watchdog Ofsted. Other primary schools which get good results and at least a “good” rating are: St Marks CofE in Aylesbury Road; Raglan in Raglan Road; St Joseph’s RC in Plaistow Lane; Scotts Park in Orchard Road, and Parish CofE in London Lane.
Bromley’s two grammar schools in Orpington — St Olave’s and St Saviour’s for boys and Newstead Wood for girls — are both rated “outstanding”, but so too are the local comprehensives: Buller’s Wood (girls with co-ed sixth form) in Chiselhurst and Langley Park Girls and Langley Park Boys in Beckenham. Bickley Park (boys age three to 13) and Braeside (co-ed ages three to 11) are the two local prep schools. Bromley High (girls aged four to 18) is a private girls’ school with a strong academic record.
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Open spaces and leisure: Bromley town centre sits on a ridge and Church House Gardens is an attractive hillside park behind the Churchill Theatre with a skateboard park, children’s playground and tennis courts. South of the town there is Norman Park, with an athletics track, and the wilder open spaces of Bromley Common.
The Churchill Theatre in the town centre is a popular local venue, putting on everything from plays to musicals to comedy. The Bromley Little Theatre is a well-supported amateur dramatics venue. The Empire Cinema is the local multiplex. Sundridge Park Golf Club is an exclusive concern squeezed between suburban streets, but with magnificent views over London.
Commuting: Bromley has five railway stations — Bromley North, Sundridge Park and Shortlands, (Zone 4, annual travelcard £1,576), and Bromley South and Bickley (Zone 5, annual travelcard £1,880). London destinations include Victoria, Blackfriars, Cannon Street, Charing Cross and St Pancras. The fastest service from Bromley South to Victoria takes less than 20 minutes
Council tax: Bromley (Conservative-controlled) council this year charges Band D council taxpayers £1,301.13.
Buying in Bromley
One-bedroom flat £159,000
Two-bedroom flat £212,000
Two-bedroom house £213,000
Three-bedroom house £290,000
Four-bedroom house £503,000
Renting in Bromley
One-bed flat £750 to £900 per month
Two-bed flat £850 to £1,250 p/m
Two-bed house £950 to £1,150 p/m
Three-bed house £1,350 to £1,450 p/m
Four-bed house £1,500 to £2,200 p/m
Five-bed house £1,800 to £4,000 p/m
Source: Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward
Photographs: Graham Hussey