Community reborn through renewal

PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 October, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 15 October, 2010, 12:00am

A major regeneration project is promising to transform a former semi-derelict estate in southeast London's Kidbrooke district into a flagship of urban regeneration.

Kidbrooke Village caters to most buyers, offering everything from starter apartments to large family homes.

All of the homes within the development have modern design details and interior specifications that will appeal to investors looking to buy property in the British capital.

Developer Berkeley says Kidbrooke Village offers an outstanding choice of quality and sustainably built homes - all use renewable sources of energy, such as solar panels and biomass boilers, for example - within one of the largest regeneration projects in Europe. The entire project is expected to cost about GBP1 billion (HK$12.3 billion) upon completion.

The Kidbrooke Village community will consist of four neighbourhoods with homes and other facilities, such as schools, shopping centres, health care and leisure services spread over 109 hectares - 55 hectares will be left as open space and parkland.

The first phase of the Kidbrooke Village project is being rolled out, offering investors an early opportunity to buy into the development.

City Point, one of the neighbourhoods that make up Kidbrooke Village, has a lakeside location near Sutcliffe Park, where wetlands draw a variety of wildlife.

This phase includes suites and one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments with many overlooking the park.

Subsequent phases will include Blackheath Quarter, a community with three and four storey family homes of up to four bedrooms, and one-, two- and three-bedroom flats.

The Blackheath Quarter development benefits from its location near Blackheath Village, which is about one kilometre away and is accessible via tree-lined avenues.

The area is home to the Heath, one of London's most famous green spaces sitting at the highest point of the borough.

Capital Plaza will be the heart of Kidbrooke village. It is being built around the existing Kidbrooke station and will provide a transport interchange with train and bus links to central London and nearby areas.

The plaza will also house many community facilities, such as health care centres, supermarkets, restaurants, bars and cafes, and prime location homes within the development.

The final phase will be Meridian Gate, which will feature three-storey, three- and four-bedroom family homes and apartments, with many of them looking out to Sutcliffe Park and nearby Cator Park.

The latter will form a 'green river' throughout the development, linking it to existing parks such as Sutcliffe and Blackheath. Cator Park will give residents, 'a wealth of choice in outdoor activities,' according to the developer. 'Sports pitches and tennis courts provide the opportunity for organised sports, but that still leaves plenty of room for enjoying just being outdoors in a more informal way'.

Kidbrooke Village is a long-term regeneration project culminating in a community of more than 4,800 homes that is expected to be completed in 20 years.

Berkeley is developing the area in conjunction with Greenwich council.

A new transport interchange improves links to the rest of the capital and beyond. Trains from the new station run to London Bridge in 15 minutes and Waterloo East in less than 20 minutes; services to Charing Cross and Victoria take 23 minutes and 28 minutes, respectively.

Trains connect with the London Underground, and overland lines.

Bus services take residents into key areas in southeast London, including Greenwich, Woolwich and the O2.

The property market in Britain favours overseas investors. The weakened pound opens opportunities for Asian buyers to buy into the London property market at bargain prices. Low interest rates also give overseas buyers an edge.

Uncertainty in the market at the beginning of the recession saw many developers halt projects, which has created a supply and demand imbalance at a time when the capital's population continues to grow.

For buy-to-rent investors, that's good news. There is a surplus of tenants looking for homes to rent and they are willing to pay for quality, new-build apartments. Despite rumours that the London market is cooling down, it still continues to outperform other regions, according to the third quarterly house price index report by Nationwide.

According to the building society, annual house price growth in the capital was 9.2 per cent in the third quarter, down from 13.2 per cent the previous quarter. However, the capital saw its sixth consecutive quarterly rise in prices at 0.4 per cent.