The Old Kent Road is just one of London's four new development hotspots to watch

Four freshly designated Opportunity Areas, including The Old Kent Road and Canada Water, will bring 11,000 new homes, shops, amenities and transport over the next 25 years.
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The Old Kent Road is the cheapest location on the Monopoly board and possibly better known for its absurdly named pubs — most now gone, including The World Turned Upside Down and the Frog & Nightgown — than as a place to live. Among the  oldest routes in England, it was created by the Romans, famously travelled by Chaucer’s pilgrims, and is now tipped for greater things. London Mayor Boris Johnson has decided to designate it an Opportunity Area, one of four new  priority zones where more than 11,000 new homes, better public transport, shops and neighbourhood amenities are planned.

A proposed extension of the Bakerloo line from Elephant & Castle along Old Kent Road to suburban south-east London would further boost this Tube-starved area, which is so close to the West End it gets into the large-print pages of the A-Z.

Southwark's new heart: Canada Water Plaza, with a library, homes and improved public space, will form a new town centre
Opportunity Areas are London’s main locations for new development over the next 25 years. The addition of Old Kent Road, Bromley town centre, Canada Water and Harrow/Wealdstone brings the total to 37 (for the full list,

Earlier areas are already flourishing. And if you think cleaning up Old Kent Road is a fantasy, then recall what sought-after King’s Cross looked like not so long ago: Nine Elms and Victoria are also well advanced in regeneration terms.

Old kent road
Chaucer’s pilgrims, travelling from Southwark to Canterbury found many a friendly alehouse down Old Kent Road. In Victorian times it was quite a handsome thoroughfare — a sprinkling of listed period buildings survive amid the large dull retail stores — and today it forms the boundary between Walworth, Peckham and Bermondsey, all up-and-coming Zone 2 districts.
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The new Opportunity Area covers the road itself and the “corridor” of land either side. This corridor is occupied by a hotchpotch of modest Victorian terraces, dreary council estates, warehouses, light industrial buildings and the splendid green expanse of upgraded Burgess Park. The park, a 140-acre tract bounded on one side by fine Regency detached houses, is a welcome lung of greenery among the relentless unforgiving urban sprawl. Developers are already targeting the area. A former car showroom has been bulldozed to make way for Park View, occupying a prominent corner site overlooking Burgess Park. Flats and maisonettes are priced from £260,000, with shared-ownership options available. Call Family Mosaic on 020 7089 1315.


From £260,000: for flats and maisonettes at Park View overlooking Burgess Park in Southwark. Call 020 7089 1315
Southwark council has begun redeveloping its troubled Aylesbury Estate, increasing the number of new homes from 2,400 to 4,200. About half will be for private sale and shared ownership.

The East London line skirts around the fringes of this area, putting these good-value SE postcodes on home  buyers’ radar. A new Overground  station is planned at Surrey Canal Road, part of the Opportunity Area and linked to an £850 million project that includes 2,400 new homes and a sporting village on 30 derelict acres of land alongside Millwall FC’s stadium. The new station would provide four-minute train connections to London Bridge, so the locality is bound to attract buyers.

Renewal, a specialist property company, says it “wants to boost the district’s appeal and make it a destination of regional importance”. Lewisham council, which backs the regeneration, has pledged £3 million to the funding of the new station.

Neptune Wharf, a complex of 200 flats on the site of a former chemical works, will open up a concreted-over canal towpath and provide a pedestrian link through now-derelict railway arches to Deptford Park.
Top tip: buyer beware  
Builders can make anything sound exciting using aspirational marketing hype to entice buyers to these gritty urban areas. However, home seekers  should be aware of the pitfalls. Offering a few lifestyle extras — gym, concierge and car clubs — may turn young heads but people need to look beyond the glossy brochures before purchasing off-plan. Research the area, compare the cost of a property with others using square foot values, and judge whether the premium you are paying for the “added glamour” is really worth it.

You may wonder why affluent Bromley, with its 17-minute trains to Victoria needs to be an Opportunity Area, but look more closely at its tired shopping centre and at the dreary stock of housing on offer to young buyers, and you can see why there is a need for new development with real fizz. And one such project is on its way.
St Mark’s Square is being built on the site of a former car park and aims to rejuvenate the drab town centre with a lively new quarter that mixes residential, leisure, shopping and the arts. The £90 million scheme is set around a new public square and performance space and brings 200 private and affordable apartments, a Vue multiplex cinema, hotel, cafés and restaurants. Completion is due in autumn next year. Call Cathedral Group on 020 7939 0800. 

The same developer is turning listed former Bromley Town Hall into a  boutique hotel and building flats on an adjacent car park site.


From £915,000: new four-bedroom townhouses at Mary Rose Square, part of 529-home Marine Wharf. Call 020 8694 3100
Canada water
The 40-acre Canada Quays zone is a new town centre for Southwark, with much-improved public space, a head-turning new library in the shape of an inverted pyramid, and smart new apartment schemes. Sellar Property Group, whose Shard London Bridge is a short hop away, is soon to start a development of 1,046 flats alongside restaurants, shops, a public square and dock basin. Call 0800 011 3394.

“This part of 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 shops and bars will open soon enough.” Canada Water Tube station is a key midway point between Canary Wharf and the West End and links with the East London line.
South Dock Marina, London’s largest, with 200 berths and a watersports centre, is a hidden gem. New four-bedroom townhouses at Mary Rose Square, part of 529-home Marine Wharf, are priced from £915,000 and flats in two new blocks, Cleveley Court and Baroque Gardens, are from £337,500. Call 020 8694 3100.


From £395,000: homes in award-winning landscaped grounds at Stanmore Place in Harrow. The estate also offers a gym, car club and concierge services.
Harrow & Wealdstone
Though united by a train station, this swathe of north-west London is two distinct places, the former a leafy, prosperous suburb, the latter a working-class district with a manufacturing legacy. The regeneration objective is to attract new commerce and businesses, redevelop disused “brownfield” land and create new “character areas”.
Stanmore Place is a 798-home estate boasting award-winning landscaped grounds with lake, cycle paths and play areas plus gym, car club and 24-hour concierge. Prices from £395,000. The Spectrum in Rayners Lane has apartments priced from £210,000. Call Home Group on 020 8582 2115.

Bentley Priory occupies one of the highest points in north London and has far-reaching views. New houses alongside a restored mansion are priced from £839,000.


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