The rebirth of Docklands
Catherine Wheatley reports on a recovery
Saturday 11 January 1997
Docklands has always aroused strong emotions. When Canary Wharf rose out of the marshes, developers celebrated the birth of a new community. And when the owners, Olympia & York, went bust, the same people furiously blamed poor infrastructure.
But reports of the death of Docklands may have been exaggerated. A new, more rational attitude is emerging, as buyers recognise that the area is good value for money. Estate agents find that demand among City workers and professionals has risen sharply. According to the regeneration agency London Docklands Development Corporation, sales of flats and houses on the Isle of Dogs last year were up 140 per cent on 1995.
Hazel Ankesmit, a personnel administrator working in London's Mayfair, is typical of the new generation of buyers in E14. Tired of a daily commute from Hove, East Sussex, she is paying pounds l10,000 for a one-bedroom flat in Burrell's Wharf, through estate agent Knight Frank.
"I don't want to be in the smoky parts of London and I certainly don't want to live in a conventional road in Wandsworth. I think Docklands is good value. I'm getting security, easy parking and a river view - very important, as I'm a Pisces," she laughs.
The Jubilee Line extension from Green Park via Canary Wharf to Stratford is playing a pivotal role in the renaissance. At the moment the journey from the Isle of Dogs to the West End takes about three-quarters of an hour using the Docklands Light Railway. The new link, scheduled to open in March 1998, should cut commuting time to just 14 minutes.
Although Hazel Ankesmit is used to a long haul to work, the Underground line was a big factor in her choice of new home. "The bus service is all right and I think the DLR is fun, but Jubilee Line is really going to help. Also, shops and restaurants are going to pop up around the station," she adds.
Canary Wharf station will be next door to West India Quay, a proposed retail and leisure complex which will eventually include a supermarket, a multiplex cinema, a hotel, and around 20 restaurants and shops. The developers will also convert the beautiful Grade I listed West India Quay warehouses into 90 apartments. At Canary Wharf itself, the Riverside scheme planned by a Hong Kong entrepreneur will feature a sports and leisure centre, another hotel and possibly a casino, as well as 330 flats.
The projects, due to be completed by the end of next year, should finally crush the criticism that there are no facilities on the Isle of Dogs. Two years ago, unless locals were shopping for a new suit or a Filofax, a trip off the island was essential. But since then there has been a steady increase in the number and range of retailers. Now, residents can get their groceries at Tesco Metro and pop into Books Etc or Music Music before having lunch at Cafe Rouge or All Bar One.
Much of the improvement is due to more businesses relocating to E14: demand for offices is reinforcing demand for shops and housing. According to Rupert Cherryman, of estate agent Chesterton, Citibank's decision last August to pick Canary Wharf as the preferred site for its new UK headquarters will make a crucial difference.
"What's happening at Canary Wharf has generated a lot of interest," he says. "There is a feeling among home-buyers that Docklands is coming of age."
With all the renewed interest in Docklands, buying here is not necessarily easy. Simon O'Donnell, a management accountant, was gazumped last October when he tried to buy a house for pounds 94,500 in the Quay West development. "I've just paid the full asking price for my new place in Jamestown Harbour," he says. "But I still think it's a good deal. I've lived here for six years and I really enjoy it: Docklands is not as far away as people think."
Prices have already gone up by between 5 and 10 per cent, even though purpose-built developments and a handful of office-to-residential conversions will put more than 800 new homes on the Isle of Dogs this year. A repeat of last February's IRA bomb attack is another worry. But Simon O'Donnell, like many other buyers, is unperturbed. "I looked at properties in Greenwich and in Blackheath, but there was really nothing to compare with the Isle of Dogs. You get more for your money here."
26 June 2015 10:30 PM
The P2P industry must do more to shake off an unjustified image of being too complex and risky for the everyday saver, says Andrew Hagger
26 June 2015 10:30 PM
Six of the energy company's customer have cause to blow a fuse this week
26 June 2015 10:30 PM
Derek's portfolio is currently suffering because of his failure to be more ruthless
25 June 2015 08:01 AM
One debtor was given a repayment plan that would have taken 125 years to repay
Challengers are smashing the traditional high street banks when it comes to offering decent savings rates
23 June 2015 11:46 AM
Ignore the new breed of savings institutions and you'll lose interest
NatWest pledged five years ago it wouldn't close the last bank in town. Now villagers have been told the branch shuts in September
23 June 2015 05:02 PM
When the last bank closes, local shops quickly go out of business
19 June 2015 10:00 PM
19 June 2015 10:00 PM
Questions of Cash: The paperwork wasn't right so I was left high and dry with a broken washing machine
19 June 2015 11:00 PM
A reader encountered a problem with a Currys washer/dryer care plan
19 June 2015 10:30 PM
Interest rates have never been cheaper if you want a five-figure personal loan but for lower-value loans it's a very different picture
18 June 2015 12:56 PM
Thousands still waiting for payments to go through
17 June 2015 12:01 AM
There are many people in dangerous debt who don’t seek advice
17 June 2015 12:20 PM
Some 600,0000 payments have been delayed many of which could be crucial
16 June 2015 11:30 AM
An army of tricksters are using online websites to trap their victims
13 June 2015 12:00 AM
Last week Moneysupermarket.com and uSwitch.com faced accusations of price-fixing from Ofgem
Under new state pension rules we will all be much worse off
Interest-only mortgages return to give more flexibility to borrowers
Five Questions On: GB Energy's new tariff
Bargain Hunter: Take your children on Eurostar on a £1 ticket
Simon Read: You're guilty until proven innocent when HMRC sends in the tax credit detectives
- 1 Kim Jong-un shows off airport designed by architect he likely had executed
- 2 Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
- 3 Why it matters 26 million people have changed their Facebook profile picture to a rainbow flag
- 4 German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
- 5 Fifty Shades of Grey author E.L James's Twitter Q&A didn't go exactly as planned
The moment a Queen's Guard soldier lost it and drew his gun at annoying tourist
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
David Cameron struck double blow in his hopes to win Britain a new EU deal
Extend Right To Buy to tenants of private landlords, Labour's Jeremy Corbyn says
Pentagon accuses Russia of 'playing with fire' over nuclear threats towards Nato
iJobs Money & Business
£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...
£22500 - £27000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: Since our inception in 1986, STh...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This extremely successful and well-established...
Competitive with monthly bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced FX...
Day In a Page
Dating back to the 19th century, this four-bedroom home needs modernising. Spanning three storeys, the red-brick house has a fireplace, a small terrace and a cellar.
Just outside of Cambridge, this single-storey home offers three double bedrooms, a living room with vaulted timber ceiling and ladder steps that lead to a mezzanine study area.
This six-bedroom Georgian home is on three floors with open fireplaces, a two oven Aga, an annexe, and cottage gardens with outbuildings and a car barn.
A former coach house, Glebe Farm Stable is now a three-bedroom cottage with a double car barn, an attached office, kennels and an outbuilding that's currently used as a gym.
Located beside an impressive Victorian viaduct, this four-bedroom home has an open-plan living area that is glazed on two sides, with skylights and high ceilings.
A former furniture workshop, this three-bedroom home has high ceilings and painted brick walls, in a village setting only fifteen miles from the coast.
This five-bedroom stone townhouse features a pine staircase and an Inglenuk fireplace, double doors from the lounge give access to an enclosed courtyard.
This five-bedroom, detached home blends traditional and modern design; the sleek kitchen features a gas hob and oven set within an exposed chimney breast.
Moored in Chelsea's Cheyne Walk, this houseboat offers two double bedrooms and a teak deck that's ideal for al-fresco dining.
Surrounded by woodland, this five-bedroom manor house has plenty of outdoor storage space in the form of three converted loose boxes, two smaller outhouses and a woodstore.
This six-bedroom home is set amongst three acres of grounds. Currently a large family home, Clift Hill has potential to make a B&B or countryside retreat, subject to change of use permissions.
This Grade II-listed three-bedroom home is situated on a private road, just a short walk from the sandy beaches of Frinton-on-Sea.
Less than five miles from Malmesbury, this four-bedroom cottage comes with equestrian facilities and gardens that extend to approximately three acres.
Spanning three storeys, this late-Victorian five-bedroom farmhouse is a spacious family home with a modern interior and B&B potential.
With an original church arch, this triplex one-bedroom church conversion has a light, spacious, feel and comes with a secure off-street parking space.
This recently-refurbished three-bedroom home has bi-folding doors that lead out to a decked seating area - ideal for alfresco dining this summer.
Well-located for coastal walks and popular restaurants, this detached four-bedroom home offers views over farmland, to the Solent, the Purbecks and Bournemouth.
If you love high ceilings, school conversions like this one are bang on the money. This two-bedroom flat is minutes from Burgess Park and the foodie haven at Borough Market.
Set within a church conversion in Bermondsey, this two-bedroom maisonette combines existing features, such as original arches and brickwork, with a contemporary finish.
In the pretty market town of Bungay, this grade II-listed Mill House is arranged over four floors, offering four bedrooms and three reception areas.
This four-bedroom Edwardian home offers a combination of original features and contemporary design after a renovation by the current owners.
This four-bedroom home offers a vaulted ceiling in a breakfast room that's ideal for summer entertaining with doors that open to the patio and garden.
On the market for the first time in more than 50 years, this six-bedroom home is a project with vast potential - spread over three floors of living space.
This five-bedroom home comes with a range of outbuildings including a large barn which could be converted into a self-contained granny-flat or rental.
Surrounded by rolling countryside, this four-bedroom barn conversion comes with a self-contained, one-bedroom annexe that could serve as an office or a holiday let.
Located near Harrogate town centre, this five-bedroom Victorian terrace is arranged over three storeys while a current study serves as an optional sixth bedroom.
A ground-floor flat in a country house, located a mile from Sway; this two-bedroom home would make an ideal weekend retreat on the edge of the New Forest.
On a popular residential lane in Caterham on the Hill, this four-bedroom family home offers a secluded garden and a convenient location for local schools and public transport.
Just a short walk from Westerham green, this three-bedroom cottage has a light kitchen with exposed brickwork and double doors that lead to a south-facing garden.
In a prime spot opposite the River Thames, this one-bedroom flat has an 18sq ft reception room with glass doors that open out to a private terrace.
Set in the hills above Llanwrda Village, west Wales, this 18th-century three-bedroom farmhouse has holiday-let potential from a separate barn conversion and annexe.
This charming end-of-terrace townhouse is arranged over three floors, with two double bedrooms and a private courtyard garden located at the rear of the property.
Located in the University area, this semi-detached five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors - there's even a rear garden and off-road parking too.
Only a few minutes' drive from the charming town of Marlow, this two-bedroom home sits on the private riverside estate of Harleyford.
This detached four-bedroom home in Middleyard is arranged over two floors, with features that include a wood-burning stove and bespoke oak staircase.
In a row of eight detached Georgian residences, this five-bedroom home offers views of The Sound, Mount Edgcumbe and Cornwall from its impressive veranda and full-length balcony.
If you love cooking for friends this two-bedroom flat - complete with views of the iconic Battersea Power Station and an open-plan kitchen/dining area - will go down a treat.
Located above Grasmere village, this five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors and offers countryside views across Grasmere Lake towards Silver Howe.
This four-bedroom detached home comes with a double carport, useful workshop, garden and two walkways that offer views of the adjacent countryside.
With space for an equestrian business, a greenhouse for growing your own veg, a wine store and a gym; this five-bedroom home has all the ingredients for a country retreat.
The decked roof terrace of this two-bedroom flat is perfect for summer drinks while large windows and ample storage space make for a light and spacious interior.
Set sail for this four-bedroom farmhouse in Cowes. With five acres of land and an indoor pool, this home oozes character. There is even potential to let a one-bedroom annexe.
Surrounded by approximately 15 acres of grounds, this six-bedroom grade II-listed home has been extensively refurbished yet retains many period features.
This four-bedroom home comes with a two-bedroom cottage and commercial office, with planning to extend, in a stunning courtyard setting.
In a pretty Norfolk village, this four-bedroom family home is surrounded by landscaped gardens, with even a self-contained annex for guests.
A few miles from the seaside at Perranporth, this four-bedroom farmhouse sits amongst nine acres of idyllic grounds - including a lake and two barns used as holiday lets.
This five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors of a converted Victorian hospital, offering spectacular views of the Pentland Hills - only three miles from the city centre.
This four-bedroom detached home comes with grounds that span to approximately 2.5 acres, as well as two large patio areas and a double garage.
This four-bedroom cottage is a Grade II-listed town house, well-located for the thriving market town of Nailsworth.
A four-bedroom apartment on the ground floor of a stunning period property in North Yorkshire, with two kitchens and a large south-west facing garden.