Putting fizz into London's biggest borough: Bromley
Bromley is London's largest borough — 59 square miles — most of which is green belt running into Kent and Surrey.
Packed with leafy avenues and quiet backwaters, the area also has 17-minute train links to Victoria, making it popular with commuters.
Many young residents living with their parents yearn for a local new home with a bit of fizz — and now, at last, one is coming.
Bromley South Central is being built on the site of a former car park and aims to rejuvenate the tired town centre with a new quarter that integrates residential, leisure, shopping and the arts.
Two plazas, upper and lower, are linked by wide stairs, inspired by Rome's famous Spanish Steps
The £90 million scheme, moments from the train station, is set around a new public square and brings 200 private and affordable apartments, a nine-screen Vue multiplex cinema, a 130-bed hotel, plus cafés and restaurants offering alfresco dining. All will be welcome, as poor retail and leisure facilities often force residents to travel to Bluewater.
Architect Guy Hallaway says the goal is to create a genuinely vibrant new hub with high-quality design and public realm space. Two plazas, upper and lower, are linked by wide stairs, inspired by Rome's famous Spanish Steps, where people will be able to sit in the sun. To register for one of the homes, call 020 7939 0800.
Cathedral Group, the developer, is bringing its regeneration expertise to another suburban project — The Old Vinyl Factory in Hayes, west London. This is another mixed-use scheme, with an accent on business space and residential.
The 18-acre site was once the headquarters of EMI Records and many of that company's classic LPs were produced there. New apartments are being built alongside restored Art Deco buildings.
Gatefold is the first of the residential blocks — 132 apartments, including shared-ownership flats. Nearby Hayes and Harlington station will be on the new Crossrail route when it opens in 2017.
Across town, another case of terrific transformation
A former Ministry of Defence estate in Stanmore, north-west London, has been transformed into a leafy address called Fountain Park.
St Edward Homes, the developer, has raised the bar with fashionable, efficiently designed apartments that reduce running costs. Extras include a concierge service and gym.
Eventually there will be 800 homes, with retail, offices, play areas and mature landscaping, including a lake. It is a short walk to Canons Park Tube station, on the Jubilee line.
A2 Dominion, the housing association partner, is offering shared-ownership flats. Prices from £51,250 for the minimum 25 per cent share. Call 0800 783 2519.
Clare and Carlos Rodenas moved from rented accommodation in Islington to a two-bedroom apartment at the development. The couple paid £133,000 for a 40 per cent share.
"Shared ownership appealed to us because the deposit required is much lower," says Clare, 26, a teacher.
"We put down £13,000 whereas if we bought outright we would have needed £40,000. It's a great home for us and has made a huge difference to our quality of life."