London is in back-to-work mode this week and an autumn launch that’s sure to appeal to home buyers is Transport for London’s new “Quietways” system.
This network of cycle routes links the suburbs to the centre, with continuous, clearly signposted paths on back streets, through parks and along waterways.
While making journeys to and from work easier, safer and more enjoyable, Quietways are already causing property ripples by lifting the veil on little-known neighbourhoods that will benefit from reduced motor traffic, better air quality and improved public spaces.
The first seven Quietways straddle 15 London boroughs. The Waterloo to Greenwich route has opened and the others will be completed by spring next year. Phase two, starting in 2018, will extend the network to all London boroughs.
London goes Dutch
TfL is also promoting what it calls “Mini-Holland” neighbourhoods in outer London boroughs, with grants to implement schemes that make cycling safer and more convenient, encouraging motorists to leave the car at home for short journeys and cycle instead.
Schemes under way in Enfield, Kingston and Waltham Forest aim to link residential areas to schools, town centres and green spaces. Estate agents have lost no time in mentioning Mini-Holland in their sales pitches.
“It’s not just cyclists who will be trying to spot places to live along the new routes — a lot of young families will target car-free Quietway areas because they are safer and healthier for kids,” says Rebecca May of Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward. “For example, we expect Earlsfield, part of the Clapham to Wimbledon Quietway, to get a boost. The route runs along the River Wandle and green spaces such as Garratt Park.”
Start in Southwark
Dubbed “Q1”, the five-and-a-half-mile Waterloo to Greenwich Quietway is marked with purple signs and connects with other bike paths in the area, including two cycle superhighways. It passes through four boroughs and is ripe territory for anyone searching for a home in the up-and-coming Southwark hinterland.
The route includes a new half-mile link across former railway land between South Bermondsey station and Surrey Canal Road, a fast improving pocket where a new 2,400-home neighbourhood is being created. Starting at hectic Waterloo station, the route immediately cuts through a handsome conservation area wrapping around Roupell Street, an enclave of 19th-century workers’ cottages, now coveted by South Bank theatre and media executives.
Part of this area’s charm is its unvarnished urban residential mix. Away from the swish, river-facing flats are delightful Victorian terraces, charitable and church housing, factory lofts, live-work units, well cared-for public housing and niche private developments.
Valentine Place, in Webber Street, is a low-rise scheme of 42 apartments and mews houses, just moments from the Old Vic and Young Vic theatres. Set around a tranquil central courtyard garden, the restrained architecture blends brick and warehouse-style windows, and retains the original façade of the former bakery and dairy that occupied the site. Offices are part of the mix. Prices from £699,995. Call Crest Nicholson on 020 3437 1294.
Trinity Church Square is another traffic-free haven and one of the capital’s best-kept secrets. This Georgian conservation quarter comprises 300 homes set around two historic garden squares and a listed church. Popular with barristers and Guy’s Hospital surgeons, most of the properties are owned by Corporation of Trinity House, a maritime charity, whose policy has been to encourage families rather than split the houses for short-term sharers.
About 250 heritage homes remain within the estate’s control and are part of a rolling refurbishment programme. Rents start at £1,200 a month and an on-site management office provides a repair and maintenance service.
Coming soon is a new in-keeping apartment scheme along Harper Road and Swan Street, a worthy addition to the surrounding period architecture. Visit trinityvillage.co.uk or call 020 7407 1223.
Across Tower Bridge
From here, the Quietway crosses Tower Bridge Road, the congestion zone boundary, and runs through a district that is part of the New Bermondsey Opportunity Area, recently designated by the Mayor of London to fast-track regeneration. The proposed Bakerloo line extension covers this patch, too, boosting its hotspot credentials. Developers are buying land and launching new homes, while estate agents are tipping micro spots such as the Reverdy Road conservation area, which featured in the BBC’s Secret History of our Streets documentary series.
The Bath House has 51 new flats priced from £525,000, with low-deposit Help to Buy available. Call Higgins Homes on 020 8498 6038.
Bermondsey Works, in Rotherhithe New Road, is another development under construction, with 148 flats and duplexes above a new free school and City of London sixth-form academy. It is a step-up in quality for the area, with communal roof gardens, 24-hour concierge, private gym, underground parking and cycle storage. To register for the launch this autumn, call Telford Homes on 020 3538 3457.
The New Bermondsey Overground station is part of a vast £850 million project being built on largely derelict land split by railway tracks. The first phase of 261 homes, a mix of flats and family houses, is expected next year.
Coming later are shops, parks and squares and a creative quarter with galleries, artists’ studios and live-work units, along with a giant new sports complex. Green architecture focuses on community gardens and allotments on top of apartment blocks, while an estate recycling system will link into a district heat and energy centre that incinerates rubbish. Rainwater will be collected and used for fountains and street sculpture. To register, call 020 7358 1933. Despite its raw character, the area seems bound to attract buyers as the new station would provide four-minute trains to London Bridge.
Arty Deptford homes
There is also a proposal to create a green corridor along Grand Surrey Canal, built in 1807 as a trade route to the docks but concreted over in 1971. Before ending at Greenwich Docklands Light Railway station near the Thames, the Quietway runs along Childers Street, where former industrial land is being transformed into new housing and workspace.
Deptford Foundry, which has 316 homes and 70 artists’ studios, has a new central street and opens up the three-acre site by punching through listed arches. Prices from £345,000 to £690,000. Call 020 7526 9229.