The Bermondsey most young Londoners know is all pints at The Woolpack, weekends browsing in Maltby Street Market and sherry and tapas at José, all in the metaphorical shadow of the Shard.
Just down the road things are less shiny and trendy, but South Bermondsey — for generations a not-very-pretty semi-industrial backwater — is finally in line for its own resurrection, led by transport and football.
With government funding in place, work on detailed plans for South Bermondsey’s long-awaited London Overground station is under way. Transport for London says services from the station, between Queens Road Peckham and Surrey Quays, will begin by 2025.
Those who recall the transformative impact that the arrival of the Overground had on Shoreditch and Hoxton 10 years ago would be right to start getting interested in South Bermondsey.
Millwall Football Club’s redevelopment
Another big boost is being delivered by Millwall Football Club — the Lions — which has unveiled plans to redevelop its ground, The Den.
As well as an enlarged architectural landmark stadium surrounded by brick arches, the proposals include new homes, a new public plaza lined with shops and restaurants, and a sports centre. A club spokesman said a planning application will be lodged this year.
Meanwhile, developer Renewal is also set to lodge an application this year, for New Bermondsey, its £1 billion masterplan for 30 acres around Surrey Canal Road, to include some 3,000 new homes.
Earlier versions of the proposal also featured shops, parks and squares, cycleways and footpaths, a “creative quarter” of galleries, artist studios and live-work units, plus sports facilities.
The other big player in South Bermondsey is Berkeley Homes.
Last summer it won permission for a multibillion-pound scheme in Malt Street, on a five-acre former meat factory site. The eight-year project could start later this year.
As well as 1,300 homes there will be offices, open space and a new linear park “inspired” by the Grand Surrey Canal which once ran through the area.
South Bermondsey’s new shopping and food space
Change is also eating away at the fringes of South Bermondsey.
In Canada Water, British Land is spending £4 billion upgrading a 46-acre development site with homes, shops, leisure facilities, restaurants and entertainment. And in Old Kent Road, a series of big new developments are planned.
Last year Galliard Homes and Aviva Investors were granted permission for a £600 million mixed-use scheme including a 48-storey tower, 1,113 new homes, piazzas, a public square and a linear park.
In total, £10 billion is expected to be spent on developments along the road, focusing on the two-mile stretch between the Bricklayers Arms roundabout and the junction with Ilderton Road.
Paul Gibbens, sales manager at Oliver Jaques estate agents, says South Bermondsey’s promise is starting to pull well-informed buyers with an eye on the long game into South Bermondsey.
“There is a lot of future potential,” he says.
The area’s reputation has also improved, he feels, now that the notorious post-war Bonamy Estate has been replaced by modern new homes.
Buyers who want to get in at the start of South Bermondsey’s regeneration could opt for one of the flats or small houses built on former industrial sites in the Eighties and Nineties.
A one-bedroom flat will cost about £300,000, and a three-bedroom house from £525,000 to £550,000.
Buying in South Bermondsey
There is almost no period housing until you get to the streets around Thorburn Square, on the borders of Bermondsey itself, where prices jump to £750,000 to £850,000 for a three-bedroom house.
There’s also a handful of new homes, notably at Deptford Foundry, just south of The Den.
One-bedroom flats start at £395,000 and two-bedroom flats at £540,000. Help to Buy, available on some of the flats, cuts the deposit down to five per cent.
Built on a former metal foundry site, the scheme also includes workspaces for artists and designers and is within walking distance of Deptford, with its bars and restaurants.
The current big compromise with South Bermondsey is a serious lack of amenities. You could pretty much count the number of local cafés and restaurants on the fingers of both hands, and you need to go to Old Kent Road for basics like a supermarket.
“It is not a destination,” agrees Gibbens. “But you can get to places like Shad Thames and Borough Market really easily, the train links to the City are good, and it is a quiet, residential area.”
What you need to know about South Bermondsey
Transport: trains from South Bermondsey (Zone 2) to London Bridge take five minutes. The planned New Bermondsey Overground station will have trains south to Clapham Junction and north to Highbury & Islington. A Bakerloo line extension along the Old Kent Road is under consideration.
Education: Ilderton Primary School is “outstanding”; Pilgrims Way Primary is “good”. Haberdashers’ Aske’s Hatcham Temple Grove is new; its predecessor was rated “outstanding” for early years learning. City of London Academy (Southwark) is rated “good” by Ofsted.
Green space: Southwark Park is a 15-min walk north of The Den. Burgess Park is a half-hour walk to the west.
Football club developers
Football clubs are increasingly important players in London regeneration. A study by property consultants JLL shows that between 2017 and 2021 five clubs, led by Arsenal and Spurs, will have built 3,600 homes.
Arsenal moved to Emirates Stadium in 2006, freeing up its old ground to be turned into Highbury Square, with 650 flats and a central garden.
When West Ham moved to the Olympic Stadium in 2016, work began on converting its Boleyn Ground into Upton Gardens, featuring more than 800 new homes.
Prices at the current phase, Academy House, start at £528,000.
Tottenham Hotspur, upgrading White Hart Lane, is building a £430 million stadium, 600 flats and a sports science college. AFC Wimbledon is working with Galliard Homes to redevelop Wimbledon Greyhound Stadium with 600 homes and a new ground.
‘A great place to invest for the future’
Friends since school, Georgia Canagon, 28, and Laura Middleton, 29, bought a flat together at Deptford Foundry, between hipster-friendly Deptford and up-and-coming South Bermondsey.
Georgia, an operations manager with Anthology, the scheme’s developer, was aware of Deptford Foundry from its earliest stages and loved its views, location and the easy commute — although since March, when she and Laura, a trainee solicitor, moved in, they have spent more time working from home than in the office.
The flat was £585,000 and the monthly mortgage and service charge cost them just over £600 each.
“I love the vibe of the Deptford area,” says Georgia. “It’s culturally diverse and great for young professionals looking to enjoy the nearby bars and restaurants.
“I also enjoy living nearby some open green space with Deptford Park and Folkestone Gardens.
“South Bermondsey looks quite underdeveloped and industrial at the moment. Regeneration to the area would be great and having a new station would definitely be beneficial to that South Bermondsey pocket.
“It is certainly a great place to invest over the coming years.”