British Property Award Winner 2017
The northern boundary of postcode district SE288 is the River Thames. Its eastern boundary is the sewage works located to the north east of Eastern Way and Southmere Lake. The train tracks parallel to Alsike Road and Mottisfont Road form the southern boundary, whilst the western boundary is demarcated by Plumstead Road as it curves north to meet the Thames.
The SE28 postcode district lies within or includes part of the following towns, counties, localities, electoral wards and stations: Bexley, Glyndon, Greenwich, London, Plumstead, Thamesmead, Thamesmead East, Thamesmead Moorings.
The town of Thamesmead was initially developed by the Greater London Council, as an area to relocate families during the slum clearance in London. In 1986 the TTL (Thamesmead Town Limited) took over as a private, non-profit organisation.
Thamesmead, located close to Woolwich, was originally developed on land that was previously owned by the Royal Arsenal, and included both Plumstead and Erith Marshes. At the east end of the postcode district is Crossness Pumping Station, described by Pevsner as "A masterpiece of engineering - a Victorian cathedral of ironwork", though it is no longer in use. Belmarsh high security prison, at the western side of the postcode district, has been in use since 1991 and has a 915 prisoner capacity.
SE28 is a relatively compact postcode district, which historically, has not had a reputation as a particularly desirable area. This is for two main reasons. Firstly, its major landmarks in the built environment are Belmarsh Prison and Crossness Pumping Station. Secondly, Thamesmead grew up as a council built town.
However, the town has had two phases of development, the first being that organised by the council and the second being fuelled by public demand, where the housing was supplied by both Gallions Housing Association and various private developers.
Because of the waterside location and a history of flooding (particularly the North Sea Flood in 1953, where over 300 people were killed in the UK alone) much of the property built in the first stage of the development of Thamesmead, by the Greater London Council, was designed to avoid any problems caused by flooding. This included designing homes which had garages on the ground floor and accommodation on the first floor. The earliest properties to be built in the town were predominantly medium and high rise blocks. This was because they had to house as many people as possible during the central London slum clearance. The more recent developments, the product of increasing interest from private developers, generally consist of brick built, more traditional housing.
Despite its less attractive history, Thamesmead benefits from the most desirable natural asset in London- the Thames. The most expensive properties in the area are the modern block flats which overlook the river, such as those in Tideslea Tower on Erebus Drive and Strand House on Merbury Close. Nearby Miles Drive and Warrior Close offer riverside accommodation in house form rather than as an apartment. Even these properties, which are amongst the most expensive in the area, demand asking prices of less than £400,000 (often closer to £300,000), making Thamesmead a remarkably affordable suburb of London. For those looking for a real bargain, the older, council built accommodation provides excellent value for money, with two bed flats in Titmuss Avenue demanding asking prices of approximately £110,000. Whinchat Road offers good value family accommodation, where a 4 four bed terraced house can expect to reach an asking price of just over £200,000. On Miles Drive, a similar property even closer to the river, could expect to sell for around £260,000. Property prices vary dependent upon their state of repair, proximity to the river and proximity to transport links. However, one thing is for certain and that is that the area around Thamesmead provides very affordable accommodation in comparison to other London suburbs.
SE28 is surrounded by attractive water gardens and trees. A nearby green space is Plumstead Gardens, which has an ornamental garden and a playground for children. Other local spaces are Broadwater Green, Birchmere Park and Lesnes Abbey Woods.
An unusual sight can be found in SE28, in the form of the Twin Tumps. These can best be described as two mounds of earth, which were left over from Woolwich Arsenal, when the area was used to store munitions and explosives. The mounds are surrounded by water-filled moats, which house a large variety of wildlife, such as dragonflies and reeds. Thamesmere also includes two other ponds, which also support a number of wildlife species, including waterfowl and grass snakes.
Fishing enthusiasts will enjoy Thamesmead Town Angling Club, which operates on Birchmere Lake on Epstein Road. The lake covers 11 acres and has a variety of different fish on offer, including Carp, Tench, Silver fish and Bream. Other local sporting facilities include the Thamesview Golf Centre on Fairway Drive and the grounds of Thamesmead Town Football Club, which is located on Bayliss Avenue. Thamesmere Leisure Centre on Thamesmere Drive offers a range of exercise facilities, including a swimming pool, keep fit classes, a sauna and a dance studio.
The main shopping facility in SE28 is Thamesmead Shopping Centre, but for a wider range of choice, it may be advisable to head South. Although the postcode does not have its own tube or railway line, there is a bus terminal, with bus routes to nearby Abbey Wood railway station in SE29.
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