South-of-the-river areas with fast train connections to the City and the West End are swinging steadily into fashion as more people discover their good value.
Oval is a prime example: for many years this no-frills district has struggled to project an identity beyond its famous cricket ground, which is ringed by dreary interwar tenements and blighted by a gas works.
But step beyond the immediate presence of the cricket ground, currently getting a facelift, and there are some surprises — handsome Victorian mansion blocks, lofts in factory and school conversions, the charming Duchy of Cornwall Estate (a collection of authentic-looking neo-Georgian cottages built just before the First World War) and delightful Bonnington Square, with its residents-run pleasure garden and café.
The area deserves a higher profile and is likely to get one with the Northern line Tube extension from Kennington to Battersea Power Station, which is due to be up and running by 2018.
St Agnes Place is a scheme of 58 houses and apartments overlooking Kennington Park, moments from Oval Tube station. The development incorporates a “stay-and-play” club for children and a new adventure playground. Homes will be released later this year, eight for shared ownership. Visit lqgroup.org.uk
Lambeth Walk: conversion of Lilian Baylis School
Lambeth Walk’s Victorian streetscape was marred by redevelopment in the Seventies, but parts of it are being restored. Small businesses and galleries are moving into refurbished shop fronts, while over-the-shop accommodation is becoming available.
The former Lilian Baylis School on Lollard Street is being redeveloped into 149 homes, 40 per cent of which are “affordable”, ranging from one-bedroom flats to four-bedroom townhouses. Prices range from £275,000. Completion is scheduled for 2015. Call Henley Homes on 020 7401 8777.
Kennington Park: 96 new homes at The Square
Shared-ownership flats are on offer at The Square, a scheme of 96 homes, also alongside Kennington Park. Prices from £265,000 (£66,250 for a 25 per cent share). Contact Affinity Sutton housing association on 0300 100 0303.
Oval fades into Stockwell, which until now has had remarkably little new development to tempt buyers. The patch around South Lambeth Road, where there is a popular hub known as Little Portugal, is worth watching. This area is gentrifying fast as regeneration ripples out from Oval and Vauxhall.
Private finance project: Myatt's Fields Park
Regeneration of Myatt’s Fields is creating one of the largest new parks in London outside the Olympics zone, bringing 808 new homes, allotments and a showpiece community centre with café, crêche and IT suite built “under” the park, but with a sloping glass roof to maximise solar gain.
The development is a private finance initiative, a collaboration between Lambeth council, which owns the site, and a consortium of developers, with PRP Architects as the master planners. Maisonettes, flats and houses for rent, sale and shared ownership are being built. For more information visit regenter.com.
Resonate, 200 metres from Stockwell Tube, is proving a popular scheme thanks to its proximity to the Underground and relatively low starting prices, from £240,000. Call Crest Nicholson on 020 3031 8295.
Shared-ownership at Stockwell Park
Old schoolfriends Richard Bloomfield and Carl Glenister shared a two-bedroom flat in Brixton before buying a pair of neighbouring one-bedroom flats at The Park, a Network Housing Group scheme in the regeneration area of Stockwell Park. Each paid £165,000 for a 75 per cent share.
"Where we lived before was noisy, on a busy road and backing on to a railway line, whereas this is in a conservation area, set back off the main road and opposite a park," says Richard, 26, a management accountant who uses the Northern line to get to his Warren Street office. "For such an up-and-coming area, in Zone 2, I think the price is unbeatable."
Two blocks are linked by a terrace of townhouses and a new phase is coming soon. Call 020 8782 4213.