Spotlight on Shepherd's Bush

Yes, there's shopping at Westfield, but it's The Bush's inner-city buzz that attracts buyers, discovers property expert Anthea Masey
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Think of it as Holland Park’s willfully scruffy neighbour and you have Shepherd’s Bush in a nutshell. It may rub shoulders with the swankiest addresses in town, but for its arty inhabitants, the Bush’s rough-diamond character is all part of its charm.

It is these residents who claim never to shop in the glittering malls of the giant Westfield shopping centre, while being secretly pleased that the arrival of this retail behemoth was responsible for propping up house prices during the recent downturn.

Carl Burgess of local estate agents Winkworth has been selling homes in Shepherd’s Bush for 18 years. “When I first started selling here in the early Nineties, people bought because it was cheap, but when they could afford it they moved to Chiswick or Ealing,” he says.

“It is still a bit rough round the edges, but it seems people no longer care so much because once settled, they now tend to stay.” And it is certainly true that away from the takeaways, the African fabric stores and the betting shops which predominate on Goldhawk Road and Uxbridge Road, there are quiet residential pockets which have an almost village-like feel about them.
Ashchurch Park Villas
Ashchurch Park Villas is among Shepherd's Bush's most desirable streets

Magnet for media types

Properties: bounded by the Westway to the north and Goldhawk Road to the south, most Shepherd’s Bush homes are mid- to late-Victorian villas and two-, three- or four-storey houses.

There is a plentiful supply of spacious flats converted from the larger Victorian houses. There are also blocks of art deco flats on and close to Shepherd’s Bush Green.

The area attracts: the proximity of Television Centre in Wood Lane means that many BBC employees choose to live in the area and walk or cycle to work.

Staying power: people become very attached to Shepherd’s Bush and tend to ignore (or even appreciate) the inner-city grot.

Postcode: Shepherd’s Bush is W12.

Best streets: Ashchurch Park Villas and the surrounding streets in the Ravenscourt and Starch Green conservation area are popular. Featherstone Leigh (020 8994 6567) has a five-bedroom early Victorian house on sale in Ashchurch Park Villas for £1.75 million.
Boscombe Road, W12
Boscombe Road, south of Uxbridge Road has large, three-storey houses in a wide street
Boscombe Road, south of Uxbridge Road, has large, three-storey houses in a wide street, some of which are in single-family occupation, while others have been divided into flats. Houses here go for between £1 million and £1.7 million. Homes in Frithville Gardens are in demand as the road is close to the Tube and Television Centre. Houses here sell for between £800,000 and £1.1 million.

Up-and-coming: the Wallflower Estate, west of the White City Estate and south of Westway, was built by the old London County Council as a cottage estate after the First World War, and the streets bear the names of flowers such as Lilac, Orchid and Daffodil. Here you can still buy a three-bedroom house for less than £350,000.

What’s new: the White City Opportunity Area sits between Wood Lane and the West Cross Route north of the Westfield shopping centre. The local council masterplan foresees a mixed-use development over the next 15 to 20 years, including up to 4,000 new homes - plus the possibility of knocking down the White City Estate - in controversial proposals by Hammersmith & Fulham Council leader Stephen Greenhalgh, first revealed by the Evening Standard.
Art deco apartment block
Shepherd's Bush has art deco apartment blocks

Parents spoilt for choice

Schools: families living close to Ravenscourt Park have the choice of two primary schools over the border in W6 - Brackenbury in Dalling Road, a large school, and John Betts in Paddenswick Road, a small one. Both are judged outstanding by Ofsted.

In Shepherd’s Bush itself, the best-performing primary schools are: St Stephen’s CofE in Uxbridge Road; the Good Shepherd RC in Gayford Road, and Wendell Park in Cobbold Road, all judged good by Ofsted.

The two best-performing state secondary schools are Cardinal Vaughan RC for boys in Addison Road, Holland Park; and Sacred Heart RC for girls in Hammersmith Road. Burlington Danes Academy in Wood Lane has recently reported a big surge in its GCSE results and now achieves above-average results. The Hammersmith Academy opens next year.

Shops and restaurants: you either love it or loathe it, but there is no denying the success of the Westfield shopping centre close to Shepherd’s Bush Green with its combination of high street names and luxury brands - and restaurants which stay open late.

The older W12 shopping centre on the Green has branches of Argos, Boots and a Morrisons supermarket. On Askew Road, look out for Max Inc for mid-century furniture and the Max Lamp, a giant version of the desk lamp; next door there’s the Lavelli Bakery for coffee and a cake.

The famous Shepherd’s Bush market between Goldhawk Road and Uxbridge Road is about to get a facelift. It is also where you will find Mr Falafel, selling what are reputed to be the best falafels outside Palestine.
Shepherd's Bush market
Shepherd's Bush market is in line for a facelift
Favourite places to eat include Patio - a long-standing Polish restaurant - and A Cooke, for eels and pie and mash, both in Goldhawk Road. Then there is the award-winning gastropub, the Princess Victoria in Uxbridge Road. Cupboard is a good café and deli on Oaklands Grove, off Uxbridge Road.
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Open spaces: scruffy Shepherd’s Bush Green defines the area and is due for a £3 million facelift, although surrounded as it is by traffic, it is no place to relax. Much preferred is the popular Ravenscourt Park with its café and tennis courts.

Musical youth

Leisure and the arts: the Janet Adegoke Swimming Pool and Phoenix Fitness Centre on Bloemfontein Road is the nearest council-owned swimming pool. Shepherd’s Bush is well-served by the arts.

The Shepherd’s Bush Empire is a leading pop music venue, while the Bush Theatre is a fringe theatre which promotes new writers, both on the Green. Bush Hall on Uxbridge Road is a small independent music venue attached to the Music House, a popular children’s music school. There are multiplex cinemas both in the Westfield and W12 shopping centres.

Transport: Shepherd’s Bush’s transport infrastructure was upgraded ahead of the opening of the Westfield shopping centre in 2008. Shepherd’s Bush, White City and East Acton are on the Central line; Wood Lane and Shepherd’s Bush Market and Goldhawk Road are on the Hammersmith and City line, and now also have Circle line trains. Stamford Brook is on the District line. Shepherd’s Bush train station is on the West London Line which runs from Clapham Junction to Willesden Junction and there are also trains between East Croydon and Milton Keynes. All stations are in Zone 2 and an annual travel card is £1,032.

Council: Hammersmith and Fulham (Conservative controlled); band D council tax for the 2010/11 year is £1,121.60.
Ravenscourt Park
Families enjoy the open spaces and café at nearby Ravenscourt Park

Average prices: buying property in W12

One-bedroom flat: £263,000
Two-bedroom flat: £338,000
Two-bedroom house: £318,000
Three-bedroom house: £549,000
Four-bedroom house: £864,000
(Source: Hometrack)

Average prices: renting in W12

Studio: £650 to £950 a month
One-bedroom flat: £850 to £1,500
Two-bedroom flat: £1,100 to £1,750
Three-bedroom flat: £1,350 to £2,050
Three-bedroom house: £1,500 to £3,000
Four bedroom-plus house: £2,000 to £6,000
(Source: Winkworth)

Pictures by Barry Phillips

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