It’s official: why Charlton in south-east London is a future property hotspot to watch

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As regeneration flows like an inexorable current along the Thames, the next location set to benefit from billions of pounds of investment is Charlton.

Surprisingly close to Canary Wharf and with fast transport links to central London and Crossrail nearby, Charlton’s quality period properties are two thirds the price of those in next-door Greenwich and Blackheath.

Over the next 25 years up to 5,000 new homes, along with new shops and restaurants, schools, a riverbus pier and a “creative quarter”, are to be built on a 275-acre swathe of industrial land overlooking the Thames Barrier.

Throw in some excellent existing schools plus what many other regeneration zones lack — a strong established community and neighbourhood to knit into — and Charlton is now, officially, One To Watch.“Historically, I think Charlton has just been overshadowed and overpowered by Greenwich,” says Michael John, branch partner at Conran Estates. “Now it is starting to be noticed, and we have got all this underused land by the riverside so there is amazing potential here.”

Over the next 25 years up to 5,000 new homes, along with new shops and restaurants, schools, a riverbus pier and a “creative quarter”, are to be built on a 275-acre swathe of industrial land overlooking the Thames Barrier

Potential there may be, but this regeneration is only just off the starting blocks. Greenwich council has designated Charlton Riverside as an ideal location for a new mixed-use urban development, and developers are starting to buy up land and bring forward schemes to build on it.Last month, housebuilder Fairview New Homes was granted planning permission to demolish a series of warehouses in Victoria Way, close to Charlton station, and replace them with 330 new homes in low-rise buildings. Thirty-five per cent of these properties will be affordable and earmarked for young buyers priced off the housing ladder.

The largest single scheme in the area is for almost 800 homes on a site off Anchor and Hope Lane. Developer Rockwell has been tinkering with its proposals for a while — at one stage horrifying many locals with plans for a 28-storey tower — but has just unveiled new proposals for a lower-rise project with a total of 11 buildings. The controversial element of the current incarnation of its £200 million plan, unveiled last month, is a lack of affordable housing.

The developer is offering to earmark just five per cent of the 771 homes as affordable, claiming that any more would render the whole project unviable. Developers generally designate a quarter to a third of the homes on large sites affordable, and this is likely to be a stumbling block.

Meanwhile, regeneration specialist U+I has built up a significant riverside land bank in Charlton over the past three years that it will use for housing-led development targeting the middle-income and affordable end of the market. “We believe these sites are full of individuality, hidden history and untapped potential,” says a U+I spokesman.Joining forces with Galliard Homes and Royal London, U+I is working up £200 million proposals for a 450-home development on another 5.8-acre site, the Westminster Industrial Estate, overlooking the Thames Barrier, which will also feature creative workspace units and gardens by architects Studio Egret West.

U+I has also snapped up the neighbouring six-acre Charlton Riverside Industrial Estate in a joint venture with Proprium Capital Partners. This site, too, will be redeveloped as housing, at an unspecified date.Charlton Riverside could contain at least one tall building. Developer The Komoto Group is pursuing plans for a 25-storey tower as part of a 570-home development in Herringham Road, a prime site right by the river currently occupied by various warehouses and a go-kart track.

£200 million plan: developer Rockwell wants to build 771 homes off Anchor and Hope Lane

All these plans are in the future, but today’s Charlton has plenty going for it, too.Trains from Charlton to London Bridge take 22 minutes and there are also services to Cannon Street and Charing Cross. A trip to Canary Wharf, via Greenwich, takes half an hour. When Crossrail services begin late this year commuters will be able to backtrack a couple of stops to Woolwich and pick up fast services to the City and West End, as well as Heathrow airport. 

Unlike many central London regeneration zones with endless flats and lack of houses — such as King’s Cross and Nine Elms — Charlton is family friendly with affordable houses and some really good schools.Cherry Orchard Primary School, Our Lady of Grace Catholic Primary School, Pound Park Nursery School and Sherington Primary School all have “outstanding” Ofsted reports. Seniors, depending on where in Charlton they live, go on to schools in Greenwich, Blackheath, or Kidbrooke.

And while Charlton has plenty of brownfield land by the river, it also has good-quality green spaces, including Charlton Park, Hornfair Park and Barrack Field, all surrounding Queen Elizabeth Hospital, and an open-air — and thankfully heated lido.

Another asset is what locals call Charlton Village, a parade of shops close to Charlton Park which is not chichi but has the essentials of urban village life: two pubs in the shape of The Bugle Horn and The White Swan, a clutch of cafés, a couple of small supermarkets, plus useful shops such as a pharmacy and a barbers.Charlton also has a small shopping centre, Greenwich Shopping Park, which adds a selection of high street chains to the mix.

For buyers who want to get in pre-regeneration, or who just prefer period houses, there are good-quality Victorian and Edwardian houses and flats. Almost all are “inland” — south of the A206. Prices in SE7 are a steal compared with more affluent neighbouring postcodes.

Good-sized family semis, red-brick and with four bedrooms, are priced at about £740,000 to £760,000. Winkworth is currently selling a Victorian house with a 50ft garden in Nadine Street for offers in excess of £750,000.

Thanks to Homes and Property for the post:

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