Property News: Proximity to a top primary school or major sporting venue boosts a home's value

Hedges at the root of many disputes; £85m village plan for London 'island'; Demand for rentals at two-year high; Developer plans new London rail link
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The Independent Online

Properties in the catchment areas of the top 50 primary schools is on average 33 per cent higher than property in surrounding areas, according to research from the Barclays Group. And it appears that sports fans may also be prepared to pay more to live near their favourite hallowed turf. A study commissioned by npower shows that the price of property around some of the country's leading sporting venues has risen sharply over the past year.

Hedges at the root of many disputes

Hedges are the root of many a neighbourhood dispute, so homeowners suffering in the shadow of someone else's overgrown variety may be pleased to hear about a new leaflet, Over the Garden Hedge. It offers advice on the type of hedge to grow, what to do about the wrong hedge and outlines your legal rights and obligations, as well as what to do if you cannot reach an agreement with your neighbour. The leaflet is available on line:, or by telephoning 0870-122 6236.

£85m village plan for London 'island'

One of London's last underdeveloped "islands" is to be transformed into an £85m village with 193 apartments and town houses, a marina, park and ecology areas. The island, at Brentford Lock in West London, is formed by the River Brent and the Grand Union Canal. Situated just off Brentford High Street, the island was used by Isambard Kingdom Brunel as a transport terminus in the 1850s. The developers Charles Church and Crest Nicholson will link the island to the mainland by two new bridges, via gated access. CCTV security, concierge and underground- parking facilities will also be in place. The apartments are priced from £250,000, townhouses from £500,000 and the first phase will be available later this year, with the completion of the whole development scheduled for 2005.

Demand for rentals at two-year high

Demand for rental property is at its strongest for two years, keeping rents steady across most of the country says the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. Home-owners selling and renting before buying again, and first-time buyers being priced out of the market are boosting the rental sector. Rents rose in most regions, with the exception of London and the South East, but the highest rents are still found in London, where the average monthly rent is £1,619, compared to £714 nationally. Meanwhile, the Government's Starter Homes Initiative, designed to help key workers buy homes with a combination of low-interest loans and joint-ownership schemes, has had a low take-up rate. Only 2,678 key workers have bought a home in this way - the intended figure was four times this.

Developer plans new London rail link

The vast developments underway along the Thames are at last beginning to open up previously inaccessible parts of the waterway. Mayor Ken Livingstone has just opened the new pedestrian tunnel walkway under Vauxhall Bridge, linking the St George Wharf development with the Albert Embankment. The 7.25 acre riverside will include a hotel, eateries, office and retail space as well as private and affordable homes. At Fulham's Imperial Wharf, the Strategic Rail Authority has reached agreement with the developer to open a new rail station to link into the West London Line and connect to West Brompton and Clapham Junction.