Rotherhithe: a new town with 1,000 waterside homes

Rotherhithe, a hop away from Canary Wharf and the City, will have new flats, houses and a community of its own
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Canada Quays
James Sellar plans to integrate his development of 1,046 homes at Canada Water with existing facilities to create a sense of community, offering exciting new homes, shops, restaurants and open space, all set around a new public square and quays. Visit
The old docks district of Rotherhithe, up and coming since the Eighties, has finally crossed the line and become fashionable. A second wave of regeneration is transforming the area’s fortunes by creating a bustling new waterfront zone next to Canada Water Jubilee line station, a key midway point between Canary Wharf and the West End, and also an interchange on the East London line.

Sellar Group, whose Shard is a short hop away, has unveiled proposals for 1,046 homes, part of a major scheme by award-winning international architect David Chipperfield.

Ontario Point, a 24-storey residential tower, the centrepiece of a 900-home development by Barratt.

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Destination hotspot

Property giant British Land and Tesco plan a makeover of the outdated Surrey Quays shopping mall, and a John Lewis department store and Waitrose are coming to the area, part of a strategy to increase their presence in the SE postcodes. British Land’s acquisition of the Daily Mail’s Harmsworth Quays printworks in Rotherhithe paves the way for another 1,000 homes, plus there are 366 homes to be built at Quebec Way Industrial Estate.

Shopping centre
The planned makeover of the Surrey Quays shopping mall

Taxi firm Addison Lee reports that Bermondsey/Rotherhithe is the capital’s “destination hotspot”, with a 170 per cent increase in passenger journeys over the past three years.

“Rotherhithe is being discovered by a new generation of young professionals priced out of Shad Thames and Borough,” says James Hyman of estate agent Cluttons. “It’s in travel Zone 2 and negatives such as a lack of neighbourhood shops and bars are being eliminated.”

Formerly fragmented bits of Bermondsey and Rotherhithe are joining up, he adds. A ripple of development is spreading from Tower Bridge, bringing a trail of gentrification along Jamaica Road, which used to be quite grim but now has a strip of trendy pavement cafés and bars.

The mighty Shard is another major catalyst. Its influence extends far beyond the boundary of its relatively small footprint at London Bridge station. Rotherhithe is a big beneficiary, a convenient and affordable address for many of the 10,000-plus people that will eventually work at the Shard.

Rotherhithe Wharf
£585,000: a two-bedroom riverside penthouse flat at King and Queen Wharf in Rotherhithe, with use of pool and sauna

Rotherhithe's best address

Historic Marychurch Street, a cobbled conservation area where the Pilgrim Fathers set sail for North America in 1620, is arguably Rotherhithe’s best address. Certainly, it is the most charming, with creative types among the settled residential community. Several wharves and warehouses have been converted into loft apartments, and here you will find The Mayflower inn, Sands film club and Brunel Museum.

Rotherhithe Street is lined with warehouse developments that are 25 per cent cheaper than Shad Thames, according to Chris Early, of estate agency Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward, which recently opened a Surrey Quays branch. Two-bedroom apartments start at £350,000. A two-bedroom, two-bathroom 850sq ft riverside flat at Globe Wharf is on the market for £550,000. Call 020 3280 3552.

Back from the river are newer, less attractive apartment schemes and estates of townhouses, built in the Nineties when planners were less concerned about urban architecture of lasting quality.

Ontario Point
Ontario Point is the centrepiece of Barratt's 900-home development at Canada Quays
“Until now, Canada Water hasn’t received the focus or investment it deserves,” says James Sellar, boss of Sellar Developments, whose scheme will bring stylish new homes, restaurants, shops and recreational space around a new dockside public square and dock basin. Visit or call 0800 011 3394.
“For people who want the easiest possible commute and fantastic leisure facilities, Rotherhithe is the place.”

The 1.5 million sq ft scheme is to be built on under-utilised land occupied by a Decathlon store. Planners aim to ensure this and other “new era” developments better integrate with Rotherhithe’s network of parks, docks, canals and riverside walks.

East of Rotherhithe Peninsula
The eastern side of Rotherhithe Peninusula, which borders gritty Deptford, has a different feel. Much of the area was demolished and in-filled when the docks closed in 1970. Regeneration came to a halt some years ago but the builders are back, snapping up the remaining industrial estates and car breakers’ yards. A hidden gem is South Dock Marina, London’s largest, with 200 berths and a watersports centre.

Marine Wharf, a 529-home development by Berkeley Homes, seeks to raise the bar in terms of design and picks up on the area’s industrial heritage. Interlinking apartment blocks with central courtyards are clad in warm brick and rusty steel panels. Good-quality interiors feature full-height doors, recessed ceiling lighting and thoughtful design touches such as waist-high radiator valves for easier control.

There are duplexes and penthouses, all on 999-year leases, with good-size terraces, and the development will have a gym, car club, concierge and convenience stores. Prices start at £375,000. Call 020 8694 3100.

A Thames Clipper river taxi service to the City and Canary Wharf operates from nearby Greenland Pier. “We’re selling a lot of flats to locals, people who know about the area’s planned transformation,” says Lyndon Nunn, sales director.

Paynes Wharf
From £500,000: Paynes Wharf, which launches mid-March, occupies a commanding position on a bend of the Thames

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Deptford Strand and Convoys Wharf

Deptford Strand is the exotic name of a neglected riverside strip running between Greenland Dock and a former royal naval yard dating back to Henry VIII’s reign. Paynes and Borthwick Wharves occupies a commanding position on a bend of the Thames. Launching in mid-March, this scheme has 247 homes, including live-work apartments plus exhibition, commercial and retail space. Prices from £500,000. Call 020 7993 7395.

Here, too, is Convoys Wharf, which is set to make a big splash after stalling due to the credit crunch. This 40-acre chunk of river front is to be turned into a mega mixed community with 3,500 homes by Hutchison Whampoa, the company that owns Lots Road Power Station in Chelsea.

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