Article by Janice Morley

Forged in Covid lockdown, the working-from-home revolution has liberated many who’d resigned themselves to a lifetime of renting, sending them on an affordable home search in country and coastal areas of the UK they would never previously have considered. So the launch by Weston Homes of luxurious Victoria Central apartments, in Southend-on-Sea, is timely. Only 40 miles east of central London, this large resort town in southeastern Essex is increasing in popularity as would-be home buyers, keen to leave the capital and bring up their families in the healthy seaside air, come looking for new territory.

Victorian Southend, famous for the world’s longest pleasure pier, traditional saucy postcards, candy floss, amusement arcades and Essex day trippers on fun Sundays out, is growing up – and into a destination to be taken seriously. Professionals working locally in the industrial parks, university and university hospital, along with London commuters who can be in the city in under an hour, see this as an area of huge potential, a fact underscored by a 10-year property price leap of 65 per cent and rising.

Set on a wide boulevard, Victoria Central is only three minutes’ walk from the station and a 15-minute stroll from the seafront. The building has an element of Victorian grandeur about it, with its striking, glazed, raised ground floor. But it is distinctively modern in the design of its tall, light, spacious entrance lobby – and in the hi-tech, high spec of its apartments, for which Weston Homes has a well-deserved reputation.

The homes are spread out over 15 storeys, with rooftop and landscaped gardens and ground-level commercial space. This well-connected development offers one, two and three-bedroom apartments, all with balconies. Victoria Central fits well into plans for Southend as an area of growth. More than £65million is being spent on high-profile projects to redevelop the town centre, as part of regeneration that will upgrade the parks and the seafront. Families appreciate the high local standards of education and, along with first-time buyers, are tempted by prices of £186,250 for a one-bedroom flat, £218,500 for two beds and £285,000 for three-bedroom homes. These are mortgages they can afford.

The town swells in the summer months as an estimated six million visitors rev up the holiday atmosphere in Southend and in pretty, neighbouring Leigh-on-Sea, Westcliff and Thorpe Bay. It’s good for the economy, good for the start-ups, pop-ups and local employment. Consumer credit reporting company Experian says the area is already set to outperform most of the wider East of England region this decade. Southend is, undeniably, a good investment.