Aurora Apartments in south-east London: good design in a desert of drab

Will a new apartment scheme's good looks, unbeatable low prices and Zone 3 status make up for its lacklustre location, wonders Ruth Bloomfield
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Aurora Apartments
£40,635: buys a quarter share of a £162,000 one-bedroom flat at Aurora Apartments, with a deposit required of only £2,000. Call 0300 100 0303
On many levels Aurora Apartments, now taking shape in south-east London, is a first-time buyer's dream. The scheme, by award-winning architects Panter Hudspith, is funky and modular. Many of the flats have balconies or terraces and the upper floors get great views across London.

The development, by housing association Affinity Sutton, includes 117 flats, of which 32 are for sale as shared-ownership. The homes are in Zone 3 and Victoria station is no more than 25 minutes way. And as for the prices, one-bedroom flats start at £40,635 for a 25 per cent share (full price is £162,000) and a five per cent deposit comes in at a manageable £2,000.

Monthly costs, including mortgage and rent, are just over £500 — renting a similar property in the area would cost about £750 a month. Two-bedroom flats are equally inviting, at £58,750 for a 25 per cent share, with a five per cent deposit of less than £3,000 and total monthly costs running at £735.

So what's not to like?
The downside of Aurora Apartments is that it is in Bellingham, a little-known suburb a mile or two south-east of Catford, with little to commend it save for a row of unexciting shops, a railway station and the Forster Memorial Park.

Matthew Wright, assistant manager of Acorn estate agents which covers south-east London, said that Bellingham, while neither rough nor crime-ridden, is not the most desirable of locations.

The local schools are struggling, too, which means the area is not going to attract ambitious parents priced out of more expensive parts of the capital. Overall, the chances of strong capital growth, at least in the short and medium term, are limited.

On the other hand, Aurora Apartments is something new for an area where most of the current housing stock was built for the local council, Lewisham, in the Fifties.

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Yvette Ruggins, sales director of Affinity Sutton, believes the development itself will have a rejuvenating effect on Bellingham. "It is going to lift the area," she said. "To call it regeneration is a bit strong but we find that when developments of this size come into an area they bring shops and facilities with them."

She said the sheer affordability of the flats will be a big temptation for buyers and she is confident that the development's quality will sell it.

"It is a stunning design," she said. "These are really going to be statement apartments of a good size, some with outside space, yet still very, very affordable."

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