Docklands: full of Eastern promise

Canary Wharf is now too expensive for many buyers, but new developments are pushing the frontier of Docklands ever further, says Penny Jackson

Looking back it seems extraordinary to estate agents who first moved into London's Docklands that they had to entice buyers out to places like Wapping and the Isle of Dogs. But what at first seemed outlandish locations quickly became fashionable haunts. Now, as they tempt people even further east into the Royal Docks, history is beginning to repeat itself.

This time though there is a difference, because for every person who asks, "which docks?" there is another who has seen the success of London's spread eastwards and wants to be part of the next stage. More than a few have already decamped to the one of the largest hand-dug expanses of water in the country.

The immediate focus is on Royal Victoria Dock, south of Canning Town and east of Royal Albert Dock and City airport. Already home to the ExCel exhibition centre and with four hotels planned for this year, developers are moving in with smart schemes designed to attract the essential first stream of buyers. Russell Taylor of FPDSavills, estate agents, knows how difficult it can be to urge buyers into an area that has a good few years of regeneration work ahead. "They do have to think long-term. After all, it has taken Wapping 15 years or more to establish itself. But those who want to push out the boundaries and invest in some exciting plans for an old industrial area will definitely see values go up."

At present, he says that anyone looking to buy in Canary Wharf under £400,000 will be pushed outwards by price. As the migration of people to this one small spot continues, so they will have to look further afield for homes they can afford. At Eastern Quay, prices for a two-bedroom apartment in the George Wimpey development on the south of Victoria Dock start at £250,000 and will be ready in November. It adjoins Britannia village, which is well established and sold off-plan six years ago. The same developers built the Western Beach scheme at the water's edge and near the watersport centre.

Counting cranes on the skyline will keep new residents busy for a while, and living on a vast building site is one of the drawbacks of watching an area take shape. Another is being under the airport flightpath. But transport links, the one asset that was so badly missing from the first wave of docklands development, is very much in evidence here: the Docklands light railway is starting on an extension to the south of the docks, running out to the airport and eventually, by 2007, across the river to Woolwich.

Along the way, a new stop will be created at Silvertown, an area undergoing transformation, close to the Thames flood barrier. One of the most successful buildings along this stretch of river has proved to be Barratt's Barrier Point, an 18-storey tower which has won 10 national awards. It adjoins a public park designed for the site and has spectacular views over the Thames. Three years ago, when west London agents were prone to dismissing Silvertown as out on a limb, apartments at Barrier Point were selling from under £90,000. Today, those same flats change hands for between £250,000 and £300,000.

A few hundred yards downstream, Tradewinds, a new development of 250 apartments, is taking shape and 180 have already sold off-plan. Prices there start at £369,995 for a two-bedroom apartment in the riverside tower and from £189,995 for a one-bed in a block behind. With a fair wind behind it, Barratt has also turned its attention to Victoria Dock, where one of the largest single redevelopment projects in Docklands is coming out of the ground. Capital East, an 18-storey glass-walled building, will cover more than three acres of dockside, with 700 apartments, restaurants, offices and shops. The first apartments available, priced from £209,995, are being sold from a floating sales centre on a Thames barge.

Richard Donnell, head of FPDSavills residential research department, identifies the potential of the area over the next 10 to 15 years: "It is a blank sheet for exciting mixed-use schemes. It takes time for markets to mature and a crucial factor is transport. It is a commercial area with massive scope for new building since there is only the odd old building here and there." One of the few warehouses left suitable for converting into homes is about to be launched by Savills, with prices starting at £227,500.

Beyond the clearly defined area of the Royal Docks lurks the Thames Gateway Initiative stretching out to the Medway towns and involving plans for 200,000 new homes.

South of the Thames, Woolwich has already been given a boost with Berkeley's redevelopment of the Royal Arsenal. The old buildings that survived the heavy bombing of the last war are part of the mixed scheme underway. Apartments, townhouses, commercial and leisure facilities are being planned for the Thames site, with a central park and courtyards.

Purchasers who were drawn there by the character and history of the military storage depot founded in the 17th century also know that the arrival of the Docklands railway is a crucial link with central London. In four years, the £250,000 they are currently paying today for a two-bedroom apartment should look very attractive. Like Victorian England, little can go wrong if we follow the transport links, and most of those are heading east.

FPDSavills, 020-7531 2500; Barratt marketing suite, 020-7476 7163; Berkeley Homes, 020-8331 7272.

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
News
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
people
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
News
i100
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
News
i100
Property search
Property search
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: UI / UX Designer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This firm are focussed on assis...

Recruitment Genius: General Processor

£7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A vacancy has arisen for a General Processor ...

Recruitment Genius: Outbound Sales Executive - B2B

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A great opportunity has arisen ...

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Associate

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time and Part time positio...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot