Where to buy in London in 2016: Bakerloo Line extension to pass Old Kent Road will collect 20,000 new homes

An ambitious masterplan will see new homes, schools and parks coming to the up-and-coming London area best known for its position as the cheapest square on the Monopoly board... 

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The extension of the Bakerloo line from Elephant & Castle to Lewisham, with two new stations in Old Kent Road — cheapest square on the Monopoly board — is set to propel an unglamorous swathe of Southwark to property hotspot status.

The new stations will be near the Old Kent Road junctions with Albany Road and Asylum Road. Though it will be at least 10 years before Bakerloo trains start operating, the extension is already creating an up-and-coming area from a part of London currently starved of the Tube.

Now that Transport for London has decided on this route rather than a Tube line through Camberwell and Peckham, Southwark council has unveiled an ambitious regeneration masterplan for Old Kent Road and neighbourhoods either side of it.

Up to 20,000 new homes, schools and parks are planned, along with a new Overground station called New Bermondsey.

The aim is to transform one of the capital’s most famous highways from a dispiriting, colourless urban mess into a modern, apartment-lined, pedestrian-friendly high street with traditional owner-run shops and cafés replacing uninspiring pound shops and supermarkets. There is also a proposal to create a green corridor along the Grand Surrey Canal, built in 1807 as a trade route to the docks but concreted over more than 40 years ago.

Camberwell residents may take some solace in TfL plans to reopen old Camberwell railway station, which closed during the First World War, while in 2018 Denmark Hill station, which serves the area along with Dulwich, will offer quick commutes to the new Elizabeth line hub at Farringdon.

To find out more about the capital’s transport upgrades, see the London Reimagined research, carried out by Rightmove for Homes & Property.

Loft-style flats: Chevron Apartments in St James’s Road, Bermondsey SE1 (020 7749 3810)

Fast links to the City

South-east London is already seeing a surge of interest as home buyers and renters wake up to the lower prices and good commuter links to the City and Canary Wharf. The Bakerloo line extension is forecast to have a huge impact by providing a fast and direct link to the West End, with capacity for 65,000 extra journeys in each direction.

Already developers are snapping up sites and launching new homes, while estate agents are tipping micro spots such as the conservation area wrapping around Trafalgar Avenue. “Traditionally, purchasers preferred the range of architecture and the more gentrified neighbourhoods of north and west London,” says Candice Matthews, director of property consultant Cushman & Wakefield. “But more people now want to put down roots in south-east London and they’re factoring the Tube extension into buying decisions.”

The recently extended East London line, part of the Overground network, has brought areas such as Forest Hill and Sydenham in from the cold, while the Elizabeth line — Crossrail — will be a game changer for Woolwich and bordering areas such as Charlton, she adds.

Transport strategists are also working on a further extension of the Bakerloo line from Lewisham via Catford and Bromley into suburban Kent. To fast-track improvements, the Mayor of London has created an Old Kent Road “Opportunity Area”, or priority zone. This covers the road itself and streets either side — a hotchpotch of Victorian and Regency terraces, council estates, railway arches, warehouses and light industrial premises.


"Affordable" housing on Old Kent Road

Old Kent Road is one of the oldest streets in England, created by the Romans and famously used by Chaucer’s pilgrims travelling from Southwark Cathedral to Canterbury. 

In Victorian times it was a handsome thoroughfare, with music halls and later cinemas. In the 20th century redevelopment created vast housing estates that turned their backs on the street but now Southwark council hopes to revive its former vitality by bringing humanscale new housing, about a third of it “affordable”.

Summer launch: Bermondsey Works, with 148 flats and duplexes above a new free school

Redevelopment of the giant Aylesbury council estate is under way, with new private homes dominating. The latest phase, Harvard Gardens, has two-bedroom flats priced from £412,500 and houses from £885,000. Call L&Q on 0333 003 3640.

The Bath House, facing Old Kent Road and located midway between the two Bakerloo line stations, has 51 new apartments priced from £525,000, with the low-deposit Help to Buy scheme available. Call Higgins Homes on 020 8498 6038.

Bermondsey Works, in Rotherhithe New Road, will have 148 flats and duplexes above a new free school and City of London sixth-form academy. It will be 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 summer, call Telford Homes on 020 3538 3457.

Chevron Apartments, in St James’s Road, offers 34 flats behind a Fifties factory façade with a double-height entrance foyer created from the original loading bays. A warm-brick warehouse-style extension at the rear links with a landscaped cobbled courtyard. Call estate agent Stirling Ackroyd on 020 7749 3810.

Buzzing Bermondsey: Developer Renewal says it aims to turn the neighbourhood into “a destination of regional importance”

The rebirth of Bermondsey

The New Bermondsey Overground station is part of an £850 million, 2,400-home project being built on derelict land split by railway tracks.  

Renewal, the developer, says it “wants to boost the district’s appeal and make it a destination of regional importance”. The first phase of 261 homes, a mix of flats and family houses, is expected next year. 

Coming later are shops, parks and squares, cycleways and footpaths, a “creative quarter” with galleries, artist studios and live-work units, plus the biggest new sports complex since Crystal Palace National Sports Centre was built in 1964.

Derelict railway arches will be refurbished and re-let as commercial premises and some will be opened up as part of new pedestrian routes.

Green architecture focuses on community gardens and allotments on top of apartment blocks, while an estate recycling system will link into a neighbourhood 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 will provide four-minute train connections to London Bridge.

Even posh Grosvenor Estate has set its sights on this promising patch, buying a former biscuit factory to redevelop into 800 homes and small business workspaces. With a record of thoughtful “place-making” — creating and enhancing neighbourhoods — Grosvenor says it is “getting to know the people and the area”.

Community initiatives include planting a new orchard in nearby Southwark Park and support for Old Vic Workrooms, an outpost of the famous theatre company, while a new secondary school is proposed as a way of enticing more families to the area.

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