Live alongside London's new cycle superhighway for the quickest of commutes

The new, safer, cycling route from Elephant & Castle to King's Cross is due for completion in 2016 and will bring smart new flats to the heart of town.
A cycle superhighway is to be carved between King’s Cross and Elephant & Castle to create a safe route across the Thames for riders and open up a new homes corridor along the way. London Mayor Boris Johnson has approved the project, which is expected to be completed by 2016.

With a 150 per cent jump in the number of bikes on London’s roads in the past decade, cyclists will welcome the initiative. It will involve creating a four metre-wide, tree-lined cycle route, separating riders from other traffic, in particular the juggernauts and double-decker buses which present them with the greatest risks.

Blackfriars Road, which links the river to Elephant & Castle, itself being reincarnated as the “Piccadilly of the South”, will be turned into a grand, green boulevard with the “segregated” cycle way and a pedestrianised central reservation alongside a single-lane road.


Set for separation: bikes and trucks on Blackfriars Bridge
Bikes make up more than half of all northbound traffic crossing Blackfriars Bridge during the morning peak hours, with most riders and workers heading to the City and the fast-growing newly christened “Midtown” district around Holborn and Fleet Street.

The superhighway will sit along a busy arterial route that runs past Smithfield and Farringdon — with the latter poised to become one of central London’s main Crossrail stations, as well as a major office hub — en route to King’s Cross, a giant commercial and residential district in the making. 

London’s cycling revolution continues to cause property market ripples. Estate agents report rental hotspots around the numerous Boris Bike docking stations on the edge of travel Zone 1 and at locations deeper into Zone 2, with tenants apparently enjoying the convenience of being able to get to work more easily. Cyclists can take advantage of the 30-minute free-of-charge period for Boris Bikes.

“Increasingly, it’s a factor influencing where landlords buy property because they can achieve higher rents and fewer void periods,” says Stephen Ludlow of estate agent Ludlow Thompson.
The green agenda
To satisfy planners, private developers and housing associations are providing secure bike storage facilities at new apartment schemes, in keeping with a green housing agenda aimed at reducing car use.

Co-ordinated action by Transport for London and local councils means there is joined-up thinking about how the superhighway integrates with places along the route. So rather than being an isolated initiative, the objective is to encourage new developments with apartments and offices above street- level shops, bars and restaurants with alfresco dining.

Blackfriars Road, now at the heart of the buzzing South Bank cultural district, has 16 major building projects and up to 1,600 new homes in the pipeline. Replacing outmoded Sixties office blocks with mixed-use schemes that create links to back streets will help animate the neighbourhood. 

“Currently the road lacks active frontage which reduces footfall, life and vibrancy on the street,” says Fiona  Colley, Southwark councillor. “The improvements will revitalise underused buildings along the riverside and enhance the shopping, tourism and travel experience for the whole area.”

Book end tower:
41-storey Eileen House, Elephant & Castle, will have 335 flats (
Bikes in the basement
This southern spine of the superhighway will have two “book end” residential skyscrapers. One Blackfriars, a striking 50-storey tower at the foot of the bridge, will have 300 basement cycle spaces plus cycle stands at ground level. A marketing suite opens next week. Prices start at £1.08 million. Call St George on 020 7871 7188.

The other book end is a new 41-storey tower, formerly Eileen House, at Elephant & Castle, which will have 335 flats, due for completion in 2017. Visit
Tourists pour out of Southwark Tube station on Blackfriars Road to make their way to Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe at Bankside. Southwark council wants to encourage the 30 million people who visit the riverside strip each year to venture into this promising hinterland. Part of the area’s charm is its urban residential mix of swish riverside flats, handsome Victorian terraces, charitable and church housing, well cared-for council estates, factory and warehouse lofts, plus live-work homes for creatives. Blackfriars Central, an 85-home scheme including affordable flats, is launching soon. Call Linden Homes on 0844 488 0874.


Mixed use: 90-92 Blackfriars Road scheme includes 53 flats. Call CBRE on 020 7182 2477
Affinity Sutton housing association is building 53 apartments at 90 Blackfriars Road — call CBRE on 020 7182 2477 — while 128-150 Blackfriars Road is a landmark Barratt development of 400 homes alongside St George’s Circus, with its impressive obelisk. Redevelopment of a concrete bunker data centre between Bankside and Blackfriars Road will create a five-acre urban quarter with 490 homes and a new public square, with disused railway arches becoming boutiques, galleries and cafés.

Back from the riverfront, homes typically range between £800 and £1,000 per square foot, relatively good value for a buzzing postcode close to all the action. Covent Garden and the Bank of England are a 20-minute stroll away.
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Elephant Park:
homes by Lend Lease around London's biggest new park in 70 years, at Elephant & Castle. Call 020 3675 9955
Park and ride
Elephant & Castle, nearing the halfway stage of a 10-year regeneration programme, is cheaper and will be a big beneficiary of the Blackfriars makeover. 
Hundreds of new homes are being built by developer Lend Lease in the core zone. Elephant Park, the latest phase, has apartments and houses surrounding the largest new park in London for 70 years. Call 020 3675 9955.

The northern section of the cycle superhighway passes through Ludgate Circus and runs alongside Mount Pleasant — the huge Royal Mail depot earmarked for hundreds of new homes — before reaching King’s Cross, Europe’s busiest transport interchange. The new 67-acre district behind the station is largely car-free and when complete will have 20 new streets, 10 new public squares, 20 restored heritage structures including listed gas holders, along with masses of offices and retail space.


From £1.65 million: homes at The Plimsoll Building in King's Cross. Call 020 7861 5499
Three-bedroom flats in a dashing new scheme called The Plimsoll Building alongside Regent’s Canal cost from £1.65 million. Call Knight Frank on 020 7861 5499.

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