New homes in Greenwich: the historic London district for buyers and renters to watch

The splendour of a charitable trust estate is being transformed for Londoners to enjoy historic homes.
The history of charitable housing in Greenwich runs all the way back to 1694, when King William and Queen Mary established the Royal Hospital for Seamen. The ancient Crown charity still owns the splendid Sir Christopher Wren-designed hospital and other prized buildings that form the core of the gracious old naval town, now a Unesco World Heritage Site.
 
For the first time in 50 years, a new-build project has been added to the estate, a development of townhouses and apartments for rent to people who live and work in the borough.
 
Built on a former car park moments from the river, the design is described by Trehearne Architects as “contextual” — low-rise and made of brick and block — in keeping with the traditional surroundings.
 
But the homes are defiantly contemporary in terms of energy efficiency, being highly insulated yet naturally ventilated with “at-point” recycling and rainwater harvesting. Rents start at £1,325 a month for 12-month minimum tenancies. Call Jones Lang LaSalle on 020 8463 6741.
 
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From £1,325 a month: eco-friendly townhouses and flats in Old Woolwich Road

The Greenwich Hospital charity is now wielding its power as freeholder to give the historic centre a facelift. The medieval market square is being upgraded and Georgian buildings refurbished in a Marylebone-type makeover that aims to spruce up Greenwich’s retail and residential draw.
 
It is unusual for one organisation to have complete ownership of a town centre, including an entire conservation quarter with numerous listed buildings, and the charity’s strategy is to cherry-pick independent retailers and turn rooms above shops into homes.
 
These newly created rental apartments are attracting Canary Wharf workers. Town centre improvements focus on a large island site, the area’s main commercial hub, ringed by a one-way traffic system.
 
An earlier proposal to completely redevelop the covered market square has been ditched. Instead, it is being upgraded with a new roof, portico entrance, lighting and cobblestones. Some of the 130 market traders are moving into refurbished shop premises. A Jamie’s Italian in Nelson Road is the first of the new-style restaurants.
 
It is a fine place to live, cheaper than equivalent inner suburbs such as Highgate in the north or Richmond in the west. Younger buyers and renters are discovering an area with homes of all shapes and sizes, ages and prices, from swish riverside flats to cobbled mews cottages and period townhouses.
 
Several developments are under way either side of the town centre. Coming soon is The Movement, a funky mixed-use scheme of 181 flats, student accommodation, education space, boutique hotel and start-up business workspaces. Call Cathedral Group on 0800 319 6079.
 
The former Greenwich District Hospital is being transformed into 645-home Greenwich Square, and will include a leisure centre, library, cafés and restaurants. Maisonettes cost from £535,000, while cheaper flats in a new phase will be released in early summer. Call Savills on 0800 077 8177.

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From £535,000: for maisonettes at Greenwich Square, a 645-home development of the old district hospital
 
The Peltons, east of the town centre, is perhaps the best lower-priced scheme. This butts up against a Victorian conservation area with a primary school and church. Flats and terrace houses are for sale from £305,000. Call DTZ on 020 3296 3895.
 
Peabody, another of the capital’s long-standing housing charities, is stepping up its shared-ownership offering and has also launched a “private sales” division. At Coopers Road, in Southwark, new flats cost from £374,000. Call 020 7922 7226.
 
Another scheme of 66 homes on Camberwell Road is launching soon. And due for completion next year are 180 homes — 61 for shared ownership — at Chambers Wharf, close to Tower Bridge.
 
Peabody is also creating a new “garden suburb” at Thamesmead, south- east London, as part of a community housing initiative. The area is set to benefit from the arrival of Crossrail at nearby Abbey Wood in 2018.

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