Olympic Park: essential guide to buying a home in east London's five new housing zones

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is set to become more than just a fond sporting memory as Londoners prepare to move into the first of five new villages.
Three years ago this week, Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis-Hill were tearing up the Olympic Stadium and Chris Hoy and co were dominating at the velodrome. But the legacy of the 2012 Olympics will be far greater than the record medal haul for Team GB.
This autumn, the first residents will move into their newly built homes in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and over the next few years, thousands more homes — from flats to rent to family houses to buy — will launch in five distinct new neighbourhoods. 

The next opportunity to own a slice of the new E20 postcode will be early next year when more than 200 properties at Chobham Manor (including shared-ownership homes aimed at first-time buyers) go on sale. Thousands more homes will follow as the park becomes one of London’s major housebuilding zones.

Here is our buyer’s guide to the Olympic Park’s five new zones:

Where: on the north side of the park, close to the velodrome where Chris Hoy reigned supreme 
Best for: families, early adopters 
The first of the Olympic Park neighbourhoods is Chobham Manor, already well under way, with 828 homes planned by developer Taylor Wimpey and housing association L&Q. 

The first phase of 259 homes sold out fast off-plan after being put on sale last summer, priced from £375,000 for a one-bedroom flat to £985,000 for a five-bedroom house. It will complete in 2017 and the first residents to call the park home will move in this autumn.  Preparation work on phase two —another 207 houses, flats and maisonettes designed by architects PRP, Make and Karakusevic Carson — starts this summer. The homes will go on sale early next year. 

A planning application for the third phase of the project (another 350 to 400 properties) is expected by the end of this year, in the hope of work starting in 2016. Just under a third of the homes at Chobham Manor will be affordable — a mix of rental properties and homes being sold on a shared-ownership basis. 

A bit of forward planning here might be worthwhile, because shared-ownership properties for sale in phase two will be launched in January and priority will be given to those already living or working in the following areas: Waltham Forest, Redbridge, Havering, Barking & Dagenham, Newham, Tower Hamlets, Hackney, and the City.

Expressions of interest are already being accepted at lqpricedin.co.uk.

Chobham Manor is being pitched as a “traditional family neighbourhood”, with terrace and mews houses inspired by period homes in Islington. More than three-quarters of the homes have three or more bedrooms. 

The neighbourhood will also have shops, restaurants, a health centre and nurseries. An “all-through” school, Chobham Academy, opened in 2013. In January of this year, the academy was given an “outstanding” report by schools regulator Ofsted.
The new E20 neighbourhoods aim to relieve some of London's insatiable demand for housing

Where: in the centre of the park, north of the Olympic Stadium and beside the Lee Navigation Canal
Best for: young entrepreneurs and first-time buyers
A planning application covering these two areas, with 650 and 870 homes respectively, will be submitted this autumn. Expect something special because the developers, Balfour Beatty and Places for People, have recruited an impressive team of architects to design the individual buildings.

The team will be led by Sheppard Robson with Studio Egret West, Piercy & Company, Alison Brooks, Shed KM and Astudio all contributing. The landscape will be designed by Fabrik. The area should have something for everyone, because a third of its homes  (about 500) will be affordable and aimed at cash-strapped first-time buyers. A third will be sold on the open market, with the remaining properties rented out. 

Prices are not yet available, but currently, an average two-bedroom flat in the Stratford area sells for about £350,000 and rents for about £1,600 a month.

The development will also cater for families — more than half its homes will have three bedrooms or more and there are plans to build two new primary schools on the site, plus nursery schools, a library and a health centre. 

In terms of open space, there will be a park alongside the canal, and new bridges will connect the site to both Hackney Wick and Fish Island (with its great independent bars and restaurants). The neighbourhoods will also have their own shops and restaurants, while office space and workshops will be aimed at attracting start-up companies.

Work is due to start next summer, and off-plan sales will follow, with the  first residents moving in by the end of 2017. Sweetwater and East Wick should both be completed by the end of 2023.
Where: beside the Olympic Stadium
Best for: culture vultures
Olympics chiefs have inexplicably nicknamed this site “Olympicopolis” and see it as a world-class cultural and educational district, with a branch of the Victoria & Albert Museum, new campuses for University College London and University of the Arts London, a new base for Sadler’s Wells Theatre, and a proposed UK offshoot of the American Smithsonian Museum.

A spokesman for London Legacy Development Corporation said Olympicopolis would include new homes “but the exact number is still to be determined”. Subject to planning, work will start in 2017/18 and the neighbourhood will be complete in 2020/21.

Where: the south end of the park, around Pudding Mill Lane DLR station, pictured above
Best for: long-term planners, fans of waterfront living, and City workers
The final piece in the Olympic Park jigsaw, work on Pudding Mill is currently not slated to start until 2026, but it is believed that this timetable may be speeded up to try to meet London’s insatiable demand for new homes.

A projected 1,292 new homes will be built on the 13-acre site as well as two nurseries, office and studio space, shops and restaurants. 

A must for those who yearn for waterfront living, the site incorporates part of the River Lea, Bow Back Rivers, and Three Mills Wall River, and homes will be built along their banks. 

The scheme will also include redevelopment of the nearby Docklands Light Railway station, which will provide quick train links to the City and Canary Wharf. Existing period warehouses will be brought back into use as studios and workshops.

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