New development boom in West London
Once the economic powerhouse of the capital, west London has been eclipsed by the exciting building boom that has transformed the city's eastern postcodes. But following the arrival of a fairy godmother in the form of the Westfield shopping complex with 40 acres of retail space, plus upgraded transport connections, the west side is fighting back with its own showpiece developments.
The BBC's relocation has created an opportunity for a mega remix of its Wood Lane site. Imperial College has submitted plans for a new campus, part of the so-called White City Opportunity Area, with a wider plan for up to 1,000 new homes and 4.5 million sq ft of office space on 43 acres of land surrounding listed Television Centre — potentially a Canary Wharf-type complex right by the roaring A40.
This new hub is triggering residential development in Hammersmith, Shepherd's Bush and Acton, all among the cheaper inner-west London districts.
St Peter's Square, Hammersmith, is one of the area's most coveted addresses, with a collection of grand, stucco-fronted houses dating from the 1820s. Developer Crest Nicholson has acquired a rare development plot on the fringes of the square to create a new scheme of 33 apartments and eight townhouses built in Georgian style to match the surroundings. Called St Peter's Place, the launch is at the end of January and prices start at £495,000. Call 020 3640 7555.
Westfield has consent for expansion of its shopping mall, and the next phase will include 1,522 homes in a 20-storey building, while up to 1,350 homes are earmarked for the Dairy Crest depot near Westway.
Lime Grove Mews is a gated development of townhouses and apartments being built on the site of a former council depot near Shepherd's Bush Green. The 15 five-bedroom townhouses are priced from £1.65 million. By developer St James.
Good-value Acton is packed with young renters and buyers. Acton Gardens is the first phase of a council estate regeneration by Countryside Properties and L&Q housing association. Apartments start at £235,000. Call 020 8993 6923.
Turnham Green is sandwiched between Acton and Chiswick. Here a derelict industrial site where parts for Spitfire planes were made has been transformed into Factory Quarter — 400 homes plus offices and shops. Flats cost £245,000 and are available on a shared-ownership basis (£61,250 for a 25 per cent share). Call Genesis housing association on 0800 954 2343.
Electric future for one-time no-go area in Brixton
A century ago, Brixton was a fashionable place to live and shop, with department stores attracting people from across south London. The riots of the Eighties turned it into a no-go residential zone for many but a renaissance is under way, cemented by a new generation of young and more affluent buyers adding to the cosmopolitan mix.
One of the new attractions is Brixton Village, where a lively arcade-style market on Electric Avenue is winning plaudits for its diverse range of high-quality food outlets. The lure of the period home is strong but new build has come to the area. Brixton Square in Coldharbour Lane is a 107-home scheme being built by Barratt. Prices from £265,000.
New homes designed for living and working
With home-based self-employment the fastest-growing part of the UK workforce, housebuilders and architects are coming up with fresh design ideas for live-workers.
According to the Office for National Statistics, last year the total number of homeworkers jumped more than 20 per cent and now accounts for about 13 per cent of the working population.
Whereas in the past new-build homes had merely a token study space for home-working, today you can buy a property with a dedicated commercial premises: a self-contained space with separate access and even a special planning status.
Three-storey live-work homes at Repton Park, Ashford, the fast-growing commuter town in Kent, have a 560 sq ft space on the ground floor with a class B and C planning use consent covering businesses such as a design and print shop or a beauty salon. The space includes a utility room and cloakroom. On the top two floors is 1,120 sq ft of living space with three bedrooms. Prices from £224,995.
Planners and policymakers are promoting live-work homes as a community-based "green" answer to global warming concerns. The theory is that live-work clusters can help reverse neighbourhood decline and reduce reliance on polluting transport.
New live-work spaces have been launched at Deptford, which has a longstanding community of artists and is now attracting white-collar business consultants and mediaindustry freelances. Called 124 Deptford High Street, it is one of several new arty developments in the heart of the area. Larger-thanaverage apartments (up to 1,178 sq ft) have wide, full-height windows and roof terraces. Prices from £210,000.