East Sheen in south-west London is one of those rare corners of the capital where parents feel safe to let their children out to play, or to venture down to the shops with their friends. Residents describe it as an area where everyone knows your children and looks out for them.
This, plus the proximity of Richmond Park and a number of popular and successful state primary schools, makes East Sheen a big draw for families.
It is south of the river, with Richmond to its west and Barnes to the East. The South Circular Road runs like a spine through the neighbourhood and, although at peak times the road gets busy, it is also the heart of the area with many good independent shops, cafés and restaurants.
'House prices in this area are cheaper than in nearby Richmond and Barnes'
East Sheen is popular with comedians, actors, newsreaders and TV journalists. Catherine Tate, Omid Djalili, Sir Trevor McDonald, Andrew Marr and Ashes to Ashes star Philip Glenister all live there.
The houses are mainly Edwardian or from the Twenties or Thirties, and terrace, semi-detached or detached. According to Grainne Blackmore of estate agents Chesterton Humberts, many have been extended into their gardens and attics, with large eat-in kitchens and loft conversions both popular. It also explains why seemingly - from the outside at least - modest semi-detached Twenties houses come with a price tag of more than £1 million.
The most expensive house for sale in East Sheen is a 6,100sq ft eight-bedroom, double-fronted Victorian house with a 135ft garden in Christchurch Road, on the market for £5.2 million through Chesterton Humberts (020 8104 0580). The most expensive house sold locally so far is in East Sheen’s very own millionaires’ row, Fife Road, where number 13 went for £6.6 million in July 2008.
North of Upper Richmond Road there are several interesting conservation areas. The Model Cottages conservation area covers a road of small, two-bedroom Victorian houses which were built originally as social housing. They sell now for more than £700,000. Queen’s Road conservation area is at the centre of a neighbourhood now known as The Royals, with sought-after two-bedroom cottages in Queen’s Road, King’s Road and Prince’s Road selling for about £500,000. The
Holmesdale Avenue conservation area has Arts & Crafts-influenced houses dating from about 1909 that fetch in the region of £550,000.
East Sheen also has a good choice of well-maintained blocks of Art Deco flats. One-bedroom flats in Shene Court, Courtlands, Deanhill Court, all on the South Circular, and St Leonard’s Court in St Leonard’s Road sell for about £270,000; two-bedroom flats go for about £330,000 and three-bedroom flats for about £375,000.
Who buys there
Families love East Sheen for the state primary schools, good-size houses and the open spaces of Richmond Park. House prices are also cheaper than in nearby Richmond and Barnes.
Staying power: once-settled, families tend to stay because of the good choice of schools.
Postcodes: SW14 is the East Sheen postcode, although a handful of the best roads are in TW10, and cheaper North Sheen is in TW9, which are the two Richmond postcodes.
Best streets: Fife Road runs along the edge of Richmond Park. It has large, detached, gated houses. Most were built in the Twenties and Thirties in a variety of styles; some have been extended, a few have been knocked down and rebuilt. Other top roads are Clare Lawn Avenue, Stonehill Close, Sheen Common Drive, The Mall, Parklands Close and Monroe Close, all clustered around the park.
Up-and-coming: the roads to be found north of Upper Richmond Road are significantly cheaper.
What’s new: local developer Rich Stone has a small development in
Colston Road. There are four houses with prices starting at £1.295 million and five flats ranging from £285,000 for one-bedroom to £575,000 for three bedrooms. For more information, contact Featherstone Leigh on 020 8876 4567.
Schools: East Sheen’s two top primary schools, Sheen Mount in West Temple and East Sheen in Upper Richmond Road, are the reason so many families settle in the area.
Both are judged “outstanding” by Ofsted. Holy Trinity CofE in Carrington Road is judged to be “good”. Tower House in Sheen Lane is a popular prep school that takes boys from age three to 14. Twilight star Robert Pattinson is a former pupil.
The two local state secondary schools are Christ’s CofE in Queen’s Road, which is judged “good” by Ofsted, and Shene School in Park Avenue, which is only judged “satisfactory” and is to become an academy next month. These two schools only take children up to age 16; after that pupils go on to the huge Richmond upon Thames College in Twickenham, with more than 4,000 students and a “good and improving” rating from Ofsted.
Many parents opt for one of the many local private schools. The nearest is Ibstock Place in Clarence Lane, Roehampton, which takes pupils of both sexes from age three to 18.
Shops and restaurants: East Sheen has long parades of shops along Upper Richmond Road and down Sheen Lane towards Mortlake station, where there is a Waitrose and a good selection of independent shops, cafés and restaurants.
Local favourites are The Long Room for the shabby-chic look and Holloways of Ludlow for bespoke kitchens and ironmongery, both in Sheen Lane; Valentina, a long-standing delicatessen; Adrian Hall garden centre; Sandrine Chocolates; Rugstore for antique and modern kilims; and Blink boutique.
Mani’s is a popular café, while Faanoos is a rated Iranian restaurant. Good food is also to be had at TV chef Paul Merrett’s gastropub, The Victoria, on West Temple Sheen.
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Open spaces: the Sheen gate at the end of Sheen Lane is the nearest entry to the rolling acres of Richmond Park. On the edge of the park there are two separate areas of open space: Palwell Common and the National Trust-managed East Sheen Common.
Leisure and the arts: the nearest council-owned swimming pool is Pools in the Park on the Old Deer Park at Richmond. Sheen Lawn Tennis and Squash Club is a private tennis club in Parklands Close. The Roehampton Club is a members-only golf and country club in Roehampton Lane. The nearest cinemas and theatres are in Richmond.
Transport: East Sheen is in Zone 3 and the two railway stations, Mortlake and North Sheen, have journey times to Waterloo of 30 minutes. Many commuters catch the bus over the river and pick up the Tube at Hammersmith, on the Hammersmith and City, Circle, District and Piccadilly lines.
Council: East Sheen is in Richmond upon Thames (Conservative). Band D council tax for 2010/2011 is £1,597.21.
Buying property in East Sheen (average prices)
One-bedroom flat: £265,000
Two-bedroom flat: £338,000
Two-bedroom house: £476,000
Three-bedroom house: £644,000
Four-bedroom plus house: £904,000
Renting property in East Sheen (average prices)
One-bedroom flat: £900 to £1,200 a month
Two-bedroom flat: £1,100 to £2,250 a month
Three-bedroom flat: £1,500 to £2,500 a month
Two-bedroom house: £1,500 to £2,000 a month
Three-bedroom house: £2,000 to £4,000
Four-bedroom plus house: £2,500 to £7,000
(Source: Chesterton Humberts)
Pictures by Barry Phillips
All details correct at time of publication (4 August, 2010)