From Fulham's dirty secret to shiny new address

Gone are the grime and the slums. Fulham's Sands End has become a swish new riverside residential quarter in south west London, says David Spittles.
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The now-fashionable Fulham neighbourhood of Sands End is a parable of our times - the triumph of development in a cut-off corner of London. Despite the negatives of a tract of industrial land blighted by gas works and dissected by train tracks, developers have transformed the area into an enclave of coveted flats and houses, now one of Fulham's best addresses.

During the Victorian period, it was a very grim place, lined with factories and a coal-fired power station, before it gained a reputation for slums and troubled council estates. 

Only when nearby Chelsea Harbour was built alongside a muddy inlet in the Eighties did residential developers look at this waterfront strip with different eyes. It has become a new suburb in SW6.

Today, there is a riverside path to Chelsea Harbour via Chelsea Creek, another swish residential scheme, and the Sands End district has offices, bars, restaurants, hotels, small businesses and a settled hinterland that stretches to trendy New King's Road, packed with galleries and boutiques.

The new renters
"The riverside developments have enticed a new type of Fulham renter," says Glen Neligan, manager of Benham & Reeves Lettings. "People, mainly young professionals and downsizers who had previously only considered a period home, started to appreciate the lifestyle benefits of a development — the security, the parking and the amenities.
£2,925 a month: a two-bedroom flat in Doulton House, Chelsea Creek, with use of gym and pool 'Waterfront homes have enticed a new type of Fulham renter and command a premium' 

"In general, the waterfront homes now command a premium and are on a par with fully refurbished properties at Parsons Green, traditionally Fulham's best address." Studios start at £350 a week and two-bedroom flats from £550 a week, with rents rising to £2,500 a week for a glamorous penthouse and £3,000 a week for a five-bedroom house. 

Tucked away behind the waterfront are original artisan cottages and smart, small three-bedroom terrace houses that let for £750 to £800 a week, and conversions, including garden flats, from £450 a week.

Commute by riverbus
The Thames Clipper riverbus service is hugely popular. Boats leave as early as 6.10am and Costa coffee is served on board. Most people commute to Embankment or Blackfriars or go all the way to Canary Wharf, without having to change.

Boris bike effect
Boris bikes at Imperial Wharf have caused property ripples in what was an urban backwater. Rental demand has jumped 25 per cent since the bikes were introduced, according to Benham & Reeves.

There are times when the slab of riverside apartment blocks looks somewhat forlorn. But this is an evolving district that has come a long way over the past decade and is likely to gain more cachet as the years go on.
Go where the locals go

Sands End Pub & Kitchen
Lots Road Pub & Dining Room
Riverside eateries
The Waterside Bar & Kitchen
Yamal Alsham (Lebanese food)
Blue Elephant (Thai food)
Furniture and interior design bargains
Lots Road Auction Rooms 


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