Greater than 800 years in the past, Lesnes Abbey was constructed on the borders of London and Kent amidst woodland. Little stays of the abbey at the moment, however it’s honoured within the identify of the native neighbourhood: Abbey Wood.
This one time railway suburb was marred, publish conflict, by intensive and low grade social housing estates, notably the terrifyingly remoted dystopian Thamesmead, on the banks of the River Thames.
At first sight, careworn Abbey Wooden has been seemingly untouched by the magic of Crossrail. A spot the place the opening of a brand new Sainsbury’s is entrance web page information within the native paper, and the considerably sparse retailers on Wilton Highway are referred to, optimistically, as Abbey Wooden Village by Greenwich council.
On the flipside, the Abbey Arms serves sourdough pizzas and negronis in its fairy gentle strewn backyard. Abbey Wooden Village market affords a superb mixture of avenue meals, deli stalls and crafts.
Rebecca Erol, 52, was an early adopter of Abbey Wooden, paying simply £48,500 for her two-bedroom railway cottage again in 1995. It’s now value 5 occasions that however Erol, a backyard designer (@RebeccaEGardens) has no intention of leaving.
She likes her fairly tree-lined streets, the open areas — notably the 271-acre Lesnes Abbey Woods, good transport hyperlinks, and sense of group.
The catch is that there’s not an terrible lot to do. The closest cinema is in Bexleyheath, and for buying and socialising locals head to Blackheath or Greenwich. “It’s a bit skinny on the bottom if you wish to eat out,” says Erol.
James Brattle, 32, and Adam Mottley, 31, purchased into the Abbey Wooden dream final yr. They have been primarily attracted by the truth that their £400,000 finances would stretch to a three-bed townhouse.
The couple moved from Ilford and wanted extra space to run their enterprise, the Classic Vegan Candle Co. “We love that it’s so properly related, you’ll be able to simply pop into central London,” says Brattle. “And it’s nonetheless a type of locations the place you might be shocked by how a lot you will get on your cash.”
Mottley and Brattle had a bunch of buddies who had already moved into the world, giving them an immediate social life.
It’s nonetheless a type of locations the place you might be shocked by how a lot you will get on your cash.
“We hope that the subsequent stage will probably be extra infrastructure, like a gymnasium and a few eating places,” says Brattle.
Home value progress in Abbey Wooden
Regardless of these shortcomings Abbey Wooden has seen the strongest value progress alongside the Crossrail line over the previous decade, and the steam practice retains on rolling. Costs jumped by an outperforming 7.5 per cent over the previous two years.
Nonetheless, you’ll be able to nonetheless purchase a 3 bed room terrace for round £500,000, or a barely dated objective constructed two bed room flat for simply over £200,000. Renters might discover a two bed room flat for lower than £1,000pcm.
Common home costs since work on Crossrail began
Progress: 107 per cent
The longer term for Abbey Wooden
Housing affiliation Peabody, which owns the majority of the Thamesmead property, is spending greater than £1bn on reworking it right into a thriving new neighbourhood.
At its first part, Southmere, simply over 500 new properties are underneath development at Thamesmead’s southernmost tip. These went on sale final yr and the primary properties are being accomplished now. Costs begin at £91,500 for a 30 per cent share of a one-bedroom flat and £118,500 for a 30 per cent share of a two-bedroom dwelling.
Elizabeth line journey occasions
Abbey Wooden to Tottenham Courtroom Highway: 24 minutes
Abbey Wooden to Paddington: 29 minutes
Abbey Wooden to Heathrow: from 65 minutes
Timings embody 10 minutes for interchange at Liverpool Avenue, eight minutes for interchange at Paddington. Obligatory till 2023.
One of many key criticisms of the outdated Thamesmead was that its residents have been marooned by the river with nothing to do. To treatment this Peabody is investing in facilities like a boating membership, on Southmere Lake, a brand new library and a public sq. resulting from open later this yr.
In the meantime Bow Arts has taken over Lakeside Centre – filming location for the Channel 4 collection Misfits – and makes use of it to offer reasonably priced studio area for creatives, a café, and pop up markets.
By 2050 it’s envisaged that Thamesmead will include round 20,000 trendy properties surrounded by some 600 acres of open area, 5 lakes, and greater than 5 miles of canals.
Past Thamesmead, cash is being spent on smaller initiatives like Abbey Place, a 29 storey constructing with simply over 200 flats plus resort rooms, and a few retailers, set seconds from the trendy, timber roofed new Abbey Wooden station. It is because of full later this yr.
Regardless of this there’s not a lot on the consuming and consuming entrance in Thamesmead but, and solely a handful of very fundamental retailers.
Southmere’s public sq., Cygnet Sq., will ultimately add unbiased retailers, eating places and cafes to the combo.