Putney in south-west London is a neighbourhood with universal appeal - except perhaps to motorists trying to negotiate its Thames bridge and high-street traffic.
Along the river there are boathouses, rowing clubs, a towpath from where children can feed the ducks, and a new piazza with restaurants and pubs around which locals flock on summer evenings.
Up the hill, there is a complete contrast: this is where Putney feels like deep countryside with heaths and woods for walking, cycling, horse riding, and pubs for relaxed Sunday lunches.
'Putney has enduring appeal, with many families progressing up and down the property ladder'
Putney is a place with wide property appeal. Estate agent Tim Beattie, of Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward, says Putney neatly divides into three zones. “Around Putney Hill there are modern 1960s, 1970s and 1980s blocks with flats for first-time buyers and buy-to-let investors; West Putney, west of the high street, is the most expensive area with large Victorian and Edwardian houses in pretty, well-kept streets; and thirdly there is East Putney, where prices are some five to 10 per cent cheaper than in West Putney, but where in some streets, especially close to West Hill, prices are fast catching up,” he says.
House prices in Putney are performing strongly and according to Beattie are past their last peak. “I have recently sold a house in Bendemeer Road that the owners bought for £850,000 in 2007,” he says. They spent around £125,000 doing it up and it sold for £1.065 million.”
Who comes and who tends to stay
Families love the large West Putney houses, but many people arrive as first-time buyers. Putney has enduring appeal, with many families progressing up and down the property ladder.
Best streets: for river lovers the best roads are Ruvigny Gardens and Deodar Road; for heath lovers it is Lower Common South and Bristol Gardens where there are big 1920s house with carriage driveways. In West Putney, buyers aim for Charlwood Road, St Simon’s Avenue and the “medallion” houses in Gwendolen Avenue.
What’s new and what’s up-and-coming: in East Putney the Rusholme Road conservation area close to West Hill has mainly Edwardian detached and semi-detached houses which are becoming increasingly appreciated.
The Dover House estate, a former LCC cottage estate, is a charming enclave on the western edge of Putney south of Upper Richmond Road with two- and three-bedroom cottages. The Alton Estate in Roehampton was an award-winning 1960s estate close to Richmond Park; there are good views from the tower blocks, where one-bedroom flats sell from around £130,000.
On the site of the old South Thames College on Putney Hill, developer Barratt (020 8394 7939) has nearly finished Putney Square, a development of 214 one- and two-bedroom flats and penthouses. Only 17 flats remain at prices starting at £359,000 for a one-bedroom flat.
Housing association A2Dominion (0800 0783 2159) is selling 54 affordable flats, of which 40 remain, with prices starting at £82,500 for a 25 per cent share of a one-bedroom flat valued at £330,000. Irish developer Ambleland is building two houses and 12 flats in Deodar Road with prices starting at £530,000; for details contact Savills 020 8871 1148.
Queen Mary’s Place in Roehampton involves the conversion of Roehampton House, a listed Queen Anne mansion into flats and new-build houses. When complete there will be more than 538 new homes. Prices in the latest phase, Woburn Terrace, start at £684,950 for a four-bedroom house.
Housing association Thames Valley housing (0845 351 2345) has 14 remaining affordable flats with prices starting at £50,625 for a 25 per cent share of a studio with a market price of £202,500 and a three-bedroom flat at £104,375 for a 25 per cent share of a flat with a market value of £417,500.
'West Putney's Elliott School has been dubbed Britain’s “real school of rock”'
Schools: West Putney residents have an excellent choice of top performing primary schools: Our Lady of Victories RC in Clarendon Drive, St Mary’s CofE in Felsham Road and All Saints CofE in Putney Common are all judged “outstanding” by the government education watchdog Ofsted; Hotham in Charlwood Road is judged “good”.
In East Putney, Brandlehow in the road of the same name is also judged “outstanding”. The Lion School is a co-ed pre-prep school (for children aged three to seven) in Gwendolen Avenue; the Hurlingham School is a co-ed prep school (for children aged four to 11) in Putney Bridge Road. Ashcroft Technology Academy - judged “outstanding” - is the best-performing local comprehensive school.
Elliott School, in the centre of West Putney, is the comprehensive that has been dubbed Britain’s “real school of rock”, thanks largely to it having produced a string of successful musicians, including Hot Chip and Mercury prize winners, The XX, but it has had a more troubled recent history, which it is working hard to overcome.
Putney High School (age four to 18) is an academic private girls’ school. Top-performing private schools, such as St Paul’s boys’ school in Barnes and St Paul’s girls’ school in Hammersmith and King’s College (boys) in Wimbledon, are all close by.
Shopping and eating: there are large branches of Sainsbury’s and Waitrose and big names line up on the high street and in the Putney Exchange shopping centre. Huttons in Putney Exchange sells an interesting mix of interiors accessories, gifts and clothes.
There are independent shops and pubs in Lacy Road, which runs through the little enclave of terrace cottages behind the Putney Exchange; look out for French hairdresser Chez Stephan, which plays cult French radio station FIP, and the Sewing Rooms, which runs sewing classes. There are more independent shops along Lower Richmond Road including the Parson’s Nose, a popular butcher.
Eating out with a view of the river is popular, with a branch of Carluccio’s in the piazza in front of the Putney Wharf development and Thai Square occupying a prime spot a few paces west of the bridge.
Enoteca Turi in the high street is a popular Italian and it has recently been joined by a branch of Byron, the stylish hamburger chain. Masterchef judge Gregg Wallace’s restaurant is on Upper Richmond Road. Fish & Grill on Putney Bridge Road is the latest offering from chef Malcolm John, who owns Le Vacherin in Chiswick.
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Leisure time: the river, Putney Heath and Wimbledon Common are what attracts people to Putney and there are also two riverside parks: Wandsworth Park on Putney Bridge Road and Leader’s Gardens on the Embankment.
The nearest council-owned pool is the Putney Leisure Centre on Upper Richmond Road. There is an Odeon multiplex cinema on the high street, and the Putney Arts Theatre in a converted church on Upper Richmond Road puts on plays by two amateur theatre groups, Putney Theatre Company and Group 64 Youth Theatre.
Buying in Putney (Average prices)
One-bedroom flat: £257,000
Two-bedroom flat: £373,000
Two-bedroom house: £458,000
Three-bedroom house: £614,000
Four-bedroom house: £910,000
Renting in Putney (Average rates)
One-bedroom flat: £1,000 to £1,600 a month
Two-bedroom flat: £1,275 to £4,700 a month
Two-bedroom house: £1,400 to £2,400 a month
Three-bedroom house: £1,800 to £3,000 a month
Four-bedroom house: £2,600 to £7,500 a month
Five-bedroom house: £3,000 to £8,500 a month
Source: Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward