With brilliant Boxpark for food and gigs, thousands of new flats and Westfield on the way, this town’s shapeshifting again.

Reinvention is the name of the game in the south London town of Croydon. The Sixties saw a highway lined with office blocks run through the town centre, the arrival of the Whitgift Centre shopping mall and the opening of a major cultural centre, the Fairfield Halls.

Tramlink, opened in 2000, remains the only tram service in the South-East. Now Croydon is shapeshifting again, with a £5.25 billion regeneration bringing thousands of new flats including some of the country’s tallest residential towers — the 43-storey sparkling pink-and-purple Saffron Square tower is now a new local landmark.

As the town awaits its long-promised £1.4 billion Westfield mall, which will eventually transform the Whitgift and Centrale shopping centres, the food, drinks and events destination that is Boxpark Croydon has arrived to enliven the town.

One of the most exciting developments Croydon has seen in years, it opened in October last year next door to East Croydon station with its superb fast central London trains.

Housed in 80 refashioned shipping containers and modelled on Boxpark Shoreditch, Boxpark Croydon is home to restaurants, bars and gigs in a pop-up that will eventually be demolished for the huge Ruskin Square regeneration scheme.

Until then, the residents of south London are able to eat their way around the world with food from Mexico, Taiwan, Brazil, Spain and the Caribbean, while they sit just nine miles south of central London.

 

Estate agent Ashley Whitehouse, from the local branch of Foxtons, admits the town got a bad name after the riots of 2011, when one of the defining moments of those tense days was the sight of a woman leaping from her burning flat close to the blazing House of Reeves furniture store in West Croydon. However, he stresses there is no doubt that these are days of exciting change.

“Boxpark has transformed the town’s nightlife and with the eventual arrival of Westfield, residents are looking forward to having one of the best shopping centres in the South-East. “At the same time house hunters are getting over their phobia of the town and realising it has a great future and represents value for money, with many first-time buyers giving Croydon the thumbs up.”

Property scene

You’ll find a huge variety of homes in Croydon, from large detached Victorian houses in South Croydon to two-bedroom Victorian cottages in West Croydon, to large detached Twenties, Thirties and later houses in Shirley Hills and on the Whitgift Estate off Addiscombe Road.

There are Thirties semis in Shirley and Wates-built Sixties and Seventies houses in the Park Hill Village area near East Croydon station, where there are also 21 much-admired Seventies houses by Swiss architects Atelier 5 in the St Bernard’s conservation area.

Croydon also has modern flats in some of the country’s tallest residential tower blocks.

What’s new?

Thousands of new flats are either planned or under construction in Croydon. Developments where flats are currently for sale include Vita, a Places for People development of 161 homes in a nine-storey plinth block with a roof garden and a 22-storey tower block in Lansdowne Road.

It forms part of the Ruskin Square scheme to the west of East Croydon station, a mixed-use development which will eventually comprise five new office buildings and 650 new homes, along with shops and restaurants.

Flats at Vita are ready to move into and two-bedroom homes are priced from £424,000. For more information, visit vita-ruskinsquare.co.uk or call 020 8681 8132.

Fifteen Lansdowne is an office-to-residential development of 98 one- and two-bedroom flats, also in Lansdowne Road. Of the two-bedroom flats, 22 remain and prices start at £475,000.

The first residents have already moved in and the whole development is now ready. Through Foxtons New Homes — call 020 7973 2020.

Help to Buy is available at Island (island-croydon.com; 020 8680 0283); Morello (020 3811 5303); The Quarters (thequarterscroydon.co.uk; call Savills on 020 3320 8220); Impact House (020 8688 6552); Coombe Cross (also 020 8688 6552) and Penhurst Square (0333 577 0664) in Addiscombe.

Island is a Regency Homes development of 153 one- and two-bedroom flats and 11 penthouses including a 20-storey tower block in St James’s Road, West Croydon. The flats are move-in ready, and one-bedroom flats start at £350,000, with two-bedroom flats at £430,000. Call 020 8680 0283.

Morello is a joint venture between Redrow and Menta of 297 one-, two- and three-bedroom flats and penthouses in four interconnected blocks in Cherry Orchard Road close to East Croydon station, due for completion by the end of the year. Off-plan sales start at £330,000. Call 020 3811 5303.

A later-stage Morello Tower is a 54-storey tower block designed by Make Architects. The Quarters is another office-to-residential conversion into 46 one- and two-bedroom flats in Wellesley Road, with prices starting at £350,000. Call Savills on 020 3320 8220.

Impact House is an office-to-residential conversion into one- and two-bedroom flats in Edridge Road by developer Inspired Homes. Prices start at £304,950 for a one-bedroom flat and £344,950 for a two-bedroom flat, for completion at the end of the year. Call Inspired Homes on 020 8688 6552.

From the same developer, Coombe Cross in South End, South Croydon is being converted into 90 one-, two- and three-bedroom flats, with one-bedroom flats from £292,950; two-bedroom flats at £329,950 and three-bedroom flats from £625,000, for completion in the summer. Contact as before.

Penhurst Square is a Bellway development of one-, two- and three-bedroom flats and four-bedroom houses in Grant Road, Addiscombe. Two-bedroom flats start at £374,995; three-bedroom flats at £428,995 and four-bedroom houses at £511,995. Call Bellway on 0333 577 0664

Family Mosaic has eight one-bedroom shared-ownership flats for sale in Lennard Road in West Croydon. Prices start at £84,000 for 30 per cent of a flat worth £280,000 with a deposit of £12,600. Monthly payments total £851 a month, comprising rent of £449, mortgage £264 and service charge £138. Call 020 7089 1315.

Staying power

The large houses in Shirley Hills and the Whitgift Estate are homes for life and rarely come to the market.  Elsewhere, with Croydon once again reinventing itself only time will tell if the new crop of incomers will stay.

Postcode

CR0, the main Croydon postcode, covers the centre of Croydon and a large area extending as far as Selhurst, New Addington and Beddington. CR2 covers South Croydon, Selsdon and Sanderstead. CR9 is the Shirley postcode.

Best roads

Pine Coombe and Bishops Walk in Shirley Hills; any of the Whitgift Estate roads such as Fitzjames Avenue, Grimwade Avenue, Mapledale Avenue and Sandilands.

The Waldrons is a little-known conservation area between the town centre and Waddon near Duppas Hill with some fine early Victorian semi-detached villas.

Up and coming 

Forestdale is an estate of Seventies houses arranged around culs-de-sac in Addington. The Lawdon Estate in Shirley is another Seventies estate of houses, this one built around communal courtyards.

Both are well designed but houses prices in both are held back by their isolation, although Forestdale is connected to the town centre by two tram stops.

Travel

Fast trains to Victoria and London Bridge from East Croydon take about 17 minutes, with trains to Blackfriars in about half an hour. The station also takes passengers to Gatwick in 15 minutes and Brighton in 50 minutes.

Victoria and London Bridge trains also run from South Croydon and West Croydon stations but these take between 25 and 35 minutes. West Croydon is on the Overground with trains to Shoreditch High Street, for the City, and Dalston Junction.

Tramlink runs through the centre of Croydon connecting it to New Addington, Beckenham Junction and Elmers End to the east and Wimbledon via Mitcham Junction to the west.

East, West  and South Croydon are in Zone 5 and an annual travelcard to Zone 1 costs £2,208.

Council

Croydon is Labour controlled. Band D council tax for 2017/2018 is £1,558.93.

 

This article was written by Anthea Masey and originally published on the Evening Standard (Home&Property session). Visit their page to see the lowdown of living in Croydon – including a note about our own award-winning Byte Cafe.