Article by Ruth Bloomfield
IT IS the most significant addition to London’s transport network for decades. And the £19million Crossrail scheme – officially known as the Elizabeth line – is creating a new generation of commuter hotspots by slashing journey times from neighbourhoods on the fringes of London.
The new line, which finally opened in May after multiple delays, means home buyers can enjoy the best of both worlds: the peace and green space of the suburbs plus easy access to the West End, Heathrow airport, the City and Canary Wharf.
Brentwood: Best for having it all
This Essex town became a bona fide tourist attraction after featuring heavily on reality TV’s Towie. But there is a lot more to Brentford than tanning salons and agg.
Its good-looking town centre and gorgeous surrounding countryside together offer the perfect urban/rural lifestyle. You could go out for a great dinner or catch some live music on a Friday night but then spend a leisurely Saturday playing golf, taking a trip to the beach at Southend, or simply staying close to home and exploring the woodland and wildflower meadows of the 520-acre Weald Country Park, which is just up the road.
Dedicated shoppers will be pleased to learn that, along with independent boutiques on the high street, both Lakeside and Bluewater shopping centres are within half-an-hour’s drive
Weston Homes’ 1023 West development, of just over 80 new homes, is brilliantly close to the west end of the high street and only half-a-mile from Brentwood station.
Local first-time buyers struggling to get on to the housing ladder can take advantage of the Government’s Discount Market Sale scheme at 1023 West and buy a property with a 20 per cent discount – one-bedroom flats priced from £265,000 and two-bedroom flats from £367,600.
There are also two-bedroom flats for sale at a full market price of £442,500. And with five different buildings to choose from, there will be a style of home to suit all tastes, whether you want a modern lateral apartment or a building with more of a traditional look.
Hayes & Harlington: Best for commuters and globetrotters.
Crossrail has really opened up this west London enclave. Journeys to Heathrow airport will take just eight minutes, while getting into central London or the City will take around half-an-hour once the current interchange at Paddington is no longer required.
On the back of the new train line, billions of pounds-worth of investment have been flowing out to Hayes, notably the 17-acre former home of EMI records which has been renamed The Old Vinyl Factory. The complex is being transformed into a “ten-minute city” with thousands of new homes, and enough on-site facilities to mean that pretty much everything you need is within a few minutes’ walk of your front door.
The first residents have just started moving into contemporary, open-plan apartments at The Venue, a Weston Homes development at The Old Vinyl Factory, while new restaurants, cafes and shops are opening all around them. The site will also include a gym, a cinema and a music venue.
Prices start at £349,995 for a one-bedroom flat, and local first-time buyers can use the Government’s Discount Market Sale scheme to cut the cost down to £291,000.
Two-bedroom flats start from £440,000 (or £351,000 using Discount Market Sale), while if you need a larger home there are also three-bedroom apartments priced from £525,000 (or £397,000 using Discount Market Sale).
These homes will be a perfect staging post for exploring this exceptionally leafy corner of London. To get away from it, all the Grand Union Canal is nearby for peaceful walks along the towpath, while there are also local country parks and the Woodland Trust’s Gutteridge Wood, a proper London gem, particularly in spring when carpeted with bluebells.
There is also a sports centre, plus a stylish open-air theatre at Barra Hall Park.
Goodmayes: Best for young families
This Edwardian neighbourhood in deepest east London is beloved of parents because of its safe vibe, high-performing schools and plentiful open space, including Goodmayes Park, with its lake and basketball and tennis courts.
Goodmayes Road is full of quality, family-friendly restaurants, while Ilford is just up the road for a wider range of shops.
Weston Homes has spotted the potential of the area and in March, London Mayor Sadiq Khan approved the developer’s plans to build Lorimer Village. When complete this brand-new, modern enclave will include not only 1,280 new homes but also a primary school, landscaped gardens and even a village hall for local events.
Expressions of interest are being taken now (weston-homes.com).