Living in Fulham is not fun anymore! The cranes are everywhere, glowing red in the sky at night, construction lorries thunder through and the large Chelsea tractors with their blacked out windows escaping from the sky-high prices in Knightsbridge, are infiltrating this once peaceful backwater. Time to move, but where to go?
My star sign is Virgo and I analyse and research everything, comparing travel and value. Hours were spent on the property portals and it took me a while to travel in cyberspace around the London Boroughs. Inspiration came from a strange source, an exhibition of impressionist paintings showed Camille Pissarro’s paintings of Sydenham. It looked calm and green but had it changed in 100 years, would it be full of tower blocks and the magic destroyed? A trip and a coffee at Blue Mountain Café showed that Sydenham had settled into its skin and was full of the traditional values, which had inspired the painter all those years ago. I was hooked.
Leaving my natural habitat of the Kings Road would be difficult. A chat to the local and knowledgeable estate agents in Pedder I discovered that the best location in Sydenham is the Lawrie Park area and it was here, tucked away on a mature site with a tennis club around the corner, that I found the gated development of family homes by Kitewood.
The train journey to Penge West was short and sweet, a pleasant local station and vibrant community raised my spirits. A brisk walk counting my steps on my Fitbit had me breathing the clean, fresh air and absorbing the atmosphere of calm. It was just like living in a village yet so close to London. Unlike other developments, where clever photographs mask truly awful homes, this was understated and did not disappoint. Traditional style homes are being created on a well-designed established site using traditional building methods and warm yellow bricks. There are not rows of identical homes but a mix to suit different requirements and pockets. The show house gave an indication of the quality of the fittings used throughout the houses.
Without a doubt my favourite house was the Victoria. Surrounded by gardens, this house sits comfortably in its plot with a well-planned 2207sq ft interior footprint. It was just one of two houses with their own garage. Great space on the ground floor opens onto the garden creating a superb family or entertaining space. The second floor is for the family bedroom or could be a study. Every inch of the space on the third floor has been used for two master suites both with ensuite bathrooms and dressing room, a hugely important feature for me. If you prefer two floors then grab one of the Darwin designs with 2300 sq. ft of space over two floors.
Back to the research, was this good value for money? A four-bedroom house on the development is priced at £1,450,00 full details available from Pedders (www.peddernewhomes.com) you can also download the brochure from the Kitewood website (www.kitewood.com). I decided to compare this price with similar homes available in Fulham. A new Barrett home in Fulham with four bedrooms is being marketed from £1,999,000 whilst £5,250,000 will get you a new home from Octagon Homes. The train journey from Fulham Broadway would take 29 minutes to London Bridge compared to the 22 minutes from Penge West.
There is no doubt that areas such as Sydenham are benefiting from the steady move south of people looking for value for money with coffee shops and restaurants springing up to meet demand. It makes total sense as it is good value, has easy access and plenty of open space. Sydenham is a perfect place to bring up a family with parks and great schools nearby. The best advice is move quickly as there are only 27 homes under construction. These types of homes so close to the city are becoming increasingly rare. Jump in quick.
All images courtesy Mark Bastin.