This Zone 2 postcode, which was decimated during the Blitz and cursed by ugly social housing in the Sixties, remains one of the few truly affordable parts of the capital.
Now a £200 million revamp aims to raise its profile — and its property values. Next month the most obvious result of that regeneration goes live with the launch of Vivo (vivolondon.com), a £70 million scheme designed by architects Levitt Bernstein.
It replaces a rabbit warren of hideous and crime-ridden concrete council flats with three contemporary low-rise blocks arranged around spacious private courtyards. In total there are 462 one-, two- and three-bedroom properties on the site, with open market prices starting at £225,000 for a one-bedroom flat, £320,000 for a two-bedroom flat, and from £395,000 for three bedrooms.
About 195 of the properties will be sold privately, another 226 will be rented, and 41 are available for shared ownership. Prices for a minimum 25 per cent share in a one-bedroom flat start at around £56,000. A quarter share in a two-bedroom flat is £80,000.
Service charges will add around £1,300 a year for one-bedroom flats and around £1,800 a year for two-bedroom homes.
The first flats will be ready by spring, and the whole development is due to be completed by the end of next year. Gary Tidmarsh, of the architects, says the landscaped courtyards — which are clad in off-white stone to bounce sunlight around the space — are a crucial part of the design, giving the residents badly needed community space in what was once a densely packed council estate.
"People will be able to walk through, where before the estate was very impermeable," he said.
As a nod to the area's well documented problems with crime and drugs, a new street lighting system has done away with mugger-friendly dark corners, and each of the blocks has a two-stage security system.
"And we have returned to tried and tested ideas like having front doors on streets," added Tidmarsh.
The development will also have a grandly titled "residents services manager" who will keep the courtyards smart, take in deliveries for residents, and assist with security. The flats themselves are high spec. Each has either a private balcony or a garden, and all have underfloor heating, timber floors, fitted kitchens with composite stone work surfaces, and plenty of storage.
The build also reaches high standards of sustainability, which will inevitably keep running costs low, although Tidmarsh said that modish gadgetry like ground-source air pumps and solar technology have been omitted in favour of extremely high levels of insulation.
Going forward, Barry Jessup, a director of First Base, which has developed the scheme in partnership with the East Thames Group, says he has high hopes for both Vivo and Stepney Green. Vivo is three minutes' walk from Stepney Green Tube station (District and Hammersmith and City lines) and seven minutes to Mile End to pick up Central line services.
* Visit vivolondon.com or call 020 7531 2512 for more details.