Rotherhithe: affordable and close to the action

It can be done: a Zone 1 home near all the SE1 action, a short hop from Canary Wharf and the West End. David Spittles loves Rotherhithe
Maple Quays
From £240,000: 900 new homes at Maple Quays. Show apartments are open for viewing. Call 020 7237 9311
Rotherhithe is a convenient halfway point between Canary Wharf and the West End - a short hop to each along the Jubilee line from Canada Water.

This improving riverside district is undergoing a second wave of regeneration (the first was back in the Eighties) which is hooking a new generation of buyers searching for that elusive combination of an affordable home close in a central location.

Best address is the historic, cobbled conservation area around Marychurch Street, from where the Pilgrim Fathers set sail for North America in 1620, while the main commercial hub is Surrey Quays shopping precinct, part of a 40-acre improvement zone where 2,700 new homes are earmarked.

Maple Quays, the first phase of 900 homes, is being built around a new civic square which eventually will be at the heart of a new town centre with shops, restaurants and a library - there is even talk of a John Lewis department store.

Overlooking a narrow canal, a legacy from the old docks era, modern apartments have been selling steadily since their launch off-plan two years ago; prices have since nudged up and there is more growth to come. Prices start at £240,000 and show apartments are open for viewing. Call 020 7237 9311.

Shared-ownership flats at the same development are for sale through Affinity Sutton housing association - 30 per cent shares from £87,000, with a five per cent deposit. Call 0300 100 0303. Buyers must have a salary of at least £28,000 (£60,000 is the cut-off ) and must first register with

A good number of Rotherhithe buyers are people priced out of the increasingly popular SE1 postcode, says James Hyman of estate agent Cluttons, spotting the development ripple spreading from Shad Thames. In time, the two areas may come to be seen as a single riverside district.

Chambers Wharf, a huge disused storage depot that has created a dead zone, is the key to this. The four-acre site has recently changed hands and planners have approved a mixed-use scheme including 596 flats.

The site has direct and very close views of Tower Bridge. At the moment the Thames path comes to an abrupt stop at the wharf. But redevelopment will create a continuous riverside promenade linking Shad Thames and Rotherhithe's historic waterfront. A houseboat community just west of Chambers Wharf will remain.

Bermondsey Central also fills a gap. A slightly off-piste address by a railway viaduct and light industrial premises, it is nonetheless close to all the SE1 action. A Saturday market has popped up in railway arches, marking the creep of gentrification. Prices start at £280,000, equivalent to about £500 a sq ft. Call Stirling Ackroyd on 020 7749 3810.

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