New connections for Kent

New “growth zones” are planned along the Thames Gateway, a 40-mile corridor stretching from Docklands to the North Sea. Ebbsfleet, in north Kent, has been singled out for special treatment
Interior at Phoenix Parc
Phoenix Parc is close to the new Ebbsfleet station
The area, formerly chalk quarries, is well on its way to becoming a giant commercial and residential district - indeed, a town the size of Winchester, with 20,000 new homes - served by an international train station providing a 20-minute rail link to central London and a two-hour connection to the Continent.

Eurostar trains will start running through Ebbsfleet from November. By 2009, commuters will be able to board Japanese-style bullet trains. This is significant because, historically, property prices in north Kent have been held back because of poor commuter links. In spite of the regeneration under way, it is still one of the lowest-priced parts of the Home Counties. And yet Ebbsfleet is closer than Hounslow to the Square Mile.

At the moment, there is not a huge supply of homes for sale, but there will be eventually. So buyers should carefully consider location and quality.

Early-bird homebuyers, many of whom are investors, have spotted the potential. Employment growth will help to drive the market, with about 20,000 new jobs expected by 2016.

Phoenix Parc, a scheme of 185 flats and houses, is about as close as you can get to the new station. It is the first residential project by Explore Living, part of the Laing O’Rourke construction group, whose headquarters are based in nearby Dartford.

Prices at Phoenix Parc start at £223,995 for two-bedroom apartments. Call the marketing suite on 0845 450 4360.

Ingress Park, at nearby Greenhithe, is an urban village in the making with a varied collection of properties (1,350 homes are planned). A listed Victorian mansion with amphitheatre forms the centrepiece of the 72-acre site, which slopes down to the Thames and includes listed ancient follies that form part of a new heritage trail. Call 01322 385050.

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