Article by Ruth Bloomfield
Once famous for hit albums, baked beans and jars of instant coffee, Hayes – an under-the-radar piece of London’s industrial past – is undergoing a remarkable reinvention.
In the last century, this district in deepest west London was little more than a maze of factories. Today, however, billions of pounds are being ploughed into transforming this wasteland into a modern new residential suburb with superb transport links, stylish homes and plenty to do.
The most ambitious element of this project is the redevelopment of an 18-acre slice of the former headquarters of the EMI record company, which once represented everyone from The Beatles to the Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd.
THE MAGIC IS HAPPENING
By next year this sprawling site will have become a contemporary town centre complete with shops, cafes and restaurants, a school, a gym, a cinema, and – appropriately given its rock’n’roll heritage – a live music venue.
This summer Weston Homes is launching 181 new one, two, and three-bedroom apartments, set around a private podium garden, at The Old Vinyl Factory, right at the heart of the action.
Crucially, the development, named The Venue, is less than a 10-minute walk from Hayes & Harlington station, which has trains to Heathrow airport and London Paddington and is on the Crossrail route, with new Elizabeth line services. By the time the first residents move in, Crossrail will be up and running, slashing journey times to central London and beyond – making living in west London and working in the east a really viable option.
Projected journey times from Hayes are impressive: 20 minutes to Bond Street, less than half an hour to Liverpool Street, and a zippy 34 minutes to Canary Wharf. The M4 and M25 are also a short distance away from The Venue by car.
Other major residential redevelopments – including the old Nestle factory site beside Grand Union Canal – are also under way in Hayes, while well-known companies that remain in the area, providing local job opportunities, include Heinz, United Biscuits and West London Film Studios, which is favoured by the likes of Marvel and Netflix. More recently, they have been joined by upscale audio firm Sonos, and technology companies GoDaddy and SITA.
WIDE OPEN SPACES
Hayes is a particularly good choice for those looking for plenty of green space on the doorstep. Lake Farm Country Park and Minet Country Park are both just down the road, and the huge Colne Valley Regional Park is nearby.
Also in Hayes, London Wildlife Trust’s Gutteridge Wood nature reserve is a proper London gem, particularly in spring when carpeted with bluebells.
Hayes has a good sports centre and there is a stylish open-air theatre in Barra Hall Park. Coldharbour Lane, the local high street, has a big opportunity to get better. It is not a place to love – yet – but there are everyday shops that we all need.
For those with children, Hayes is a natural choice because the overwhelming majority of schools in the area hold at least a “good” report from Ofsted, the government education watchdog.
BOOK YOUR VIEWING
Apartments at The Venue are priced from £365,000 for a one-bedroom home. Local residents and workers could pick up a Discount Market Sale home from £291,000. For more details contact Weston Homes on 020 3976 8245 or visit www.weston-homes.com