This could turn out to be a pivotal year for Lewisham. A proposed extension of the Bakerloo line could do for this slightly forgotten outpost of south-east London what the extended East London line has done for Hoxton and Dalston.
Mayor Sadiq Khan is committed to the £3.6 billion project that would dramatically improve local transport links in an area currently reliant largely on buses and main line trains.
A report from Transport for London will be published later this year. Once approved, work could start in 2023, and TfL hopes services will be up and running by about 2028.
Meanwhile, housebuilders — presumably with the example of how Crossrail has triggered massive house growth — are investing heavily in Lewisham, adding modern flats to its current supply of affordable period houses and first-time buyer-friendly purpose-built flats.
However, a question mark remains about whether new transport links and homes are enough to trigger regeneration, or if a more holistic approach is needed. The largest development in the area is Lewisham Gateway, led by regeneration specialist Muse Developments. This ongoing scheme will set the scene for the future of the area with up to 900 homes plus badly needed new shops, restaurants, bars and cafés.
Final touches are being put to £130 million Phase One of this huge project — some 226 flats, plus student digs, the re-routing of the Ravensbourne and Quaggy Rivers, new green spaces and a new road layout to improve access between the rail and DLR stations and Lewisham town centre. One-bedroom flats start at £345,000.
Phase Two will cost £220 million and add hundreds more rental homes to the mix, with 160,000sq ft of shops and restaurants, and a new park. Subject to planning permission, work will start next year with the whole Gateway site completed by 2021.
WHAT TO BUY
For buyers wanting a traditional family home in Lewisham, Darien Neavin, manager of estate agents RE/MAX recommends a three-bedroom Victorian terrace house. In a leafy road such as Algernon or Embleton, this will be about £550,000, and many of these homes have scope to extend into the loft.
For starter home seekers, many of Lewisham’s houses have been converted into flats, which Neavin says are generally priced at about £360,000. A two-bedroom flat in one of the area’s slightly dated purpose-built blocks would cost about the same.
Like many areas Lewisham has a “posh” side and a more affordable one. The dividing line is Lee High Road; propertynorth and closer to Blackheath’s Common and its lovely shops and cafés is more expensive than property closer to Catford and Ladywell.
Likely to be the most expensive of all, however, are homes in a glitzy new skyscraper, which at 410ft will be Lewisham’s first seriously tall building.
A planning application has been submitted for three new buildings in Conington Road, seconds from Lewisham’s stations. If granted, there will be 365 flats, office space and shops, and homes on the upper floors of the 34-storey, tallest block should have magnificent views of south-east London.
Lewisham council has agreed one in five of the homes will be affordable, aimed at first-time buyers and cash-strapped renters. Clearly a positive response from TfL on the Bakerloo line extension will help concentrate investors’ minds.
Major flies in the regeneration ointment are Lewisham’s congested, down-at-heel High Street and its Seventies shopping centre. Both are functional but dismal. The council has been engaged in long-term, slow-moving talks with developer Land Securities, and is keen to see someone swoop in to give Lewisham Shopping Centre a makeover.
To date there are no takers, and Darien Neavin blames the centre’s dreary range of mostly low-end shops and unappetising appearance for holding Lewisham back while neighbours such as Hither Green have blossomed.
“You can bring on all the new-build flats that you like, but at the prices they want they are pitching to middle-class buyers and then offering pretty bog-standard facilities,” he says.
Source: Homes & Property