More For Your Money: Isleworth, TW7

A tale of two towns
Click to follow
The Independent Online

Its postcode derives from Twickenham, its noise is from jets approaching Heathrow and its stench is courtesy of the vast Mogden drainage works - that's sewage-treatment plant to you and me - that borders Isleworth to the south and west. Even the town's numerous period homes come with baggage, tending to be isolated in small pockets, often near trading estates on busy roads.

Its postcode derives from Twickenham, its noise is from jets approaching Heathrow and its stench is courtesy of the vast Mogden drainage works - that's sewage-treatment plant to you and me - that borders Isleworth to the south and west. Even the town's numerous period homes come with baggage, tending to be isolated in small pockets, often near trading estates on busy roads.

Isleworth's immediate neighbours are Osterley and St Margaret's. Nearby are Twickenham and Richmond. You can easily spend a million pounds or more on a home in any of these areas except Isleworth, where the largest and dearest detached house is lucky to achieve £750,000. Exceptions are the charming riverside enclave, Old Isleworth, and The Grove, a conservation area near Osterley.

But Isleworth has pleasant surprises and residential pockets of its own. The town's almshouses are architectural gems, and many of its roads are well suited to families with children or dogs. Liberally sprinkled throughout the town are playing fields and small parks and greens.

In addition, many long roads are closed to through traffic, frustrating for visitors and rat-runners, but quiet and safe for locals. Especially pleasant are homes alongside Isleworth's other river, the Duke of Northumberland's (actually, "an artificial channel dug in Tudor times" joining the River Crane). Small and obscure, it is nevertheless a bona fide tree-lined waterway, a haven for birds and riverside walks.

Isleworth also benefits from its neighbours and its geography. Large green spaces abound: Syon Park (main picture) borders Isleworth, and Osterley and Richmond Parks and Kew Gardens are nearby. With Kingston and Hounslow included in its shopping catchment area, there are plenty of opportunities to spend money.

"Isleworth is a town of two halves, divided by the London Road [A315], and the north is the more salubrious," says Mark D'Costa of Regents estate agents.

"The difference in price between the two areas can be as high as £100,000. The north contains the popular Northumberland Estate, with mostly 1930s semis. The southern part, towards Mogden, is less desirable, although there are some nice developments here too."

What can I buy?

Starting prices are about £100,000 for one-bed flats, £180,000 for two-bed flats near the tube or rail stations, and £200,000-to-£225,000 for three-bed houses. A three-bed freehold house needing work or poorly located or ex-council can be cheaper than a two-bed flat. The dominant style is 1930s (and later) semis, but period homes and modern blocks are numerous. Well-located five- and six-bed houses, including brand new properties, start at about £450,000, rising to about £700,000. The property mix also includes narrowboats.

North, south, east or west?

In The Grove, spacious detached houses on very large plots can sell for between £1m and £2m. Farther south on Riverside Walk, agent Anthony James is selling a three-bed semi for £315,000. Similar houses on busy Worton Road or within whiffing distance of Mogden are closer to £240,000. East means Old Isleworth, where Hamptons are selling a four-bed two-reception period house in a gated community for about £1m. Period cottages and houses co-exist with recently built townhouses.

What's the transport like?

Isleworth train station for service to Waterloo is on the London Road, and the Piccadilly Line service is available at Osterley Station, on the Great West Road (A4). Hounslow Council is lobbying Crossrail to include stops at Isleworth and Syon Lane. The Crossrail scheme aims to link Maidstone with Shenfield and Abbey Wood via Heathrow and central London.

How are the amenities generally?

Old Isleworth has popular riverside pubs, an LA Fitness centre, and Greedies, an upmarket café. There are theatres and cinemas in Brentford, Richmond and Kingston.

How well are families served?

The local primary school scores below the English average, but Gumley House Roman Catholic Convent School is well above average, and two secondaries, the Green School (girls) and Isleworth and Syon School for Boys, are also performing well. For playing as well as spectating, rugby dominates the scene round here, and the stadium at Twickenham has a museum. A steam museum and a musical instrument museum are located near Syon in Brentford.

Can you shop till you drop?

There's a Tesco superstore opposite Twickenham Rugby Ground. Ivybridge Retail Park on Twickenham Road has Comet, Currys, Halfords, JJB Sport and MFI. For better shops, head for St Margaret's or Twickenham.

What about nature lovers?

Inside the magical butterfly museum in Syon Park, visitors and butterflies intermingle. Permanent residents include tarantulas, scorpions and beetles. There are blackbirds and parakeets along the Duke of Northumberland's River on Riverside Walk, and swans on the Thames at Old Isleworth.

And one for the pub quiz

Which rare animals live on Isleworth Ait, the island in the Thames opposite Isleworth?

Answer: the two-lipped snail and the German hairy snail.

Anthony James, 020 8847 0488; Hamptons, 020 8940 2772; Regents, 020 8577 5678

Comments