Tavy Bridge: regeneration of the Thamesmead estate

Notorious as the grim setting for A Clockwork Orange, the concrete Thamesmead estate is bulldozing its past. With Crossrail on the way, bold first-time buyers could benefit
Of all the residential developments in London that deserve a second chance to shine, the Tavy Bridge area of the Thamesmead estate takes some beating.

Conceived in 1963, after the green belt new towns failed to solve the capital's postwar housing shortage, Thamesmead in south-east London was a dream set in concrete. Built on 1,600 acres of marshland, it was a Brave New World of brutalist-style tower blocks with high-rise walkways intended to create a neighbourly place, substituting for the Victorian terraces from which residents had moved.

Southmere Village
Southmere Village will be a new Thamesmead community of 296 homes, with shops, set around one of the estate's lakes, now a nature reserve. Call 0300 123 1141

Being a high-water area susceptible to flooding, drainage was supplied by lakes and canals, which the well-meaning GLC architects believed would help to have a calming effect.

But in 1971, the Tavy Bridge area became famous as the setting for Stanley Kubrick's film A Clockwork Orange, which depicted an alienated gang of violent, bowler-hatted, baseball bat-wielding thugs — the planners' vision was clearly already unravelling. A significant design failure was the district's lack of shops and banks, and the absence of integrated public transport, necessary because of Thamesmead's cut-off location.

The Warehouse, No 1 street
From £299,950: flats at The Warehouse, the latest new block at Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, where 5,000 new homes are being built
The long-term gains
Though still a raw address, Thamesmead seems bound to benefit from regeneration spreading along the river bank from Docklands and Greenwich. A stigma remains but perceptions of Thamesmead are likely to change. This is one of the cheapest areas to live in the capital — good reason enough for priced-out young Londoners to investigate its possibilities — and bold buyers could reap rewards later. The overall vision for the area is to close the economic and physical gap between Thamesmead and Woolwich and their better-off neighbour, Greenwich.

Royal Arsenal, the former munitions factory where 5,000 homes and a new commercial centre are planned over the next 10 years. The development already has a river taxi service to the City and a DLR station.

The Warehouse, No 1 Street is a new block alongside the many listed buildings at the new estate. Prices start at £299,950. Call 020 8331 7130.

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