Yet, step beyond the cricket ground, ringed by dreary tenements and a gas works, and there are some property surprises: handsome Edwardian mansion blocks, lofts in factory and school conversions, charming Duchy of Cornwall Estate homes — cottages and townhouses built just before the First World War — and delightful Bonnington Square, with its resident-run pleasure garden and café.
For such a central location, Oval stands out as good value (in the region of £500 a square foot), with a promising future. The Northern line spur to Battersea Power Station will make it a more strategic transport point, and the area is benefiting from regeneration rippling out from Nine Elms and Vauxhall.
Oval Quarter brings a much-needed housing scheme of scale and style. A Seventies council estate — 30-acre Myatts Field North — has been bulldozed to make way for 808 new homes and one of the largest new parks in London. There will also be allotments and a showpiece community centre with café, crèche and IT suite built “under” the park but with a sloping glass roof to maximise solar gain. The first phase of 357 private homes has been launched and 146 shared-ownership flats are coming later through Notting Hill Housing Trust. Low-rise blocks overlook the main park or smaller “pocket parks”.
“It’s an opportunity to buy early into a fast-improving area,” says Jeremy Marcus of developer Higgins Homes. The project will take five years to complete. Prices from £272,500. Call 020 8498 6001.
Shared-ownership flats are on offer at The Square, 96 homes close to Oval Tube station and Kennington Park. Prices from £265,000 (£66,250 for a 25 per cent share). Contact Affinity Sutton housing association on 0300 100 0303.
The former Lilian Baylis school, now listed, is set to become a new community of 149 homes, 40 per cent of which are “affordable”, ranging from one-bedroom apartments to four-bedroom townhouses, from £275,000. Work is due to start later this year, with completion scheduled for 2015. Call Henley Homes on 020 7401 8777.
Oval fades into Stockwell, a similarly unsung location one stop further south on the Northern line. The patch around South Lambeth Road, where there is a popular hub known as Little Portugal, is worth watching. The Bottle Store is a redevelopment of the former Watney’s brewery. The front of the Sixties factory has been retained and re-clad with a semi-transluscent façade to reveal the inner space. Two new blocks have been built around landscaped courtyards.
A colourful and confident piece of architecture, the design incorporates eco-friendly features such as solar energy, and water is supplied to the development from two boreholes used by the original brewers. Shared-ownership two-bedroom flats cost from £125,000 for a 30 per cent share (full price, £418,000). Call Family Mosaic on 020 7089 1315.