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East London v. South East London

(45 Posts)
MadBusLady Tue 24-Jul-12 21:31:35

Can anyone sell Leytonstone/East London to me? We've been looking in South East in zones 2-4 but for somewhere that's supposedly the cheap quarter it seems bloody expensive. We have c£350k for a decent grow-into period house and the only major proviso is we'd like to be very close (as in under half a mile) to an East London line station into the City. That effectively rules out Brockley, HOP and Forest Hill which are very expensive near the stations, so we'd be looking at Sydenham/Penge. I think they both look fine, it's just still not great value. I have a sneaking feeling, and DP has even more so, that we've missed the boat a bit there.

So then we had a look online at Leytonstone (swapping East London Line for Central Line) and it seems much cheaper. Why? I know nothing else about East London except that I have a positive dislike of Stratford Westfield and (controversial though this may be) Walthamstow. So there isn't really any pull for me there at the moment, whereas there are lots of places in S and SE London I already like.

No DCs, so schools not an issue but we are very fogeyish mature and tend to like the same stuff that comes with family areas.

All views appreciated.

tricot39 Tue 24-Jul-12 21:56:32

Schools WILL become an issue if you are buying a family home and are planning to have a family in it. Don't make the same mistake as me by failing to take it into account....

ogredownstairs Tue 24-Jul-12 23:48:44

Don't know, but interested, so bumping. Have lived in and love bits of SE London but East London is a bit of a mystery to me. I think I read a Standard article about Leytonstone the other day, saying period houses were good value but hard to find one that had escaped the pebbledash and uPvc window treatment.

petitmort Wed 25-Jul-12 07:29:09

Elthams's still reasonable value but rising fast. Not close to ELL but DLR at Woolwich.

I reckon you've missed the boat on Sydenham etc or anywhere in Zones 2/3.

What about Norwood Junction? On ELL and Zone 4 I think - good budget for there.

MadBusLady Wed 25-Jul-12 07:44:54

I wonder about Norwood Jn too, but suspect DP will feel it's a bit too far out, particularly if we can get decent value in the East. He comes from NW (England I mean) so finds the whole prices/commuting times thing in London completely horrifying grin

I wouldn't mind about pebbledash and uPVC too much actually Ogre I think I'd see it as a challenge to restore. We've seen very few houses that haven't had that treatment in SE London (that we can afford anyway).

Tricot that's a worryingly good point though I guess I'd be looking at whether the schools in an area were generally good/improving rather than whether specific schools were good, wouldn't I. I am a novice at this, is there an easy way to compare overall performance for areas or boroughs?

PrinceRogersNelson Wed 25-Jul-12 08:31:35

I have sent you a PM smile

TheCyclist Wed 25-Jul-12 11:39:31

Hello, just though I'd chip in - I'm a Leytonstone resident.

The Standard article t'other week was mainly about Leyton, which sort of sits between Walthamstow and Leytonstone. I'm no fan of Walthamstow. I find it a very run down and grubby place. Leyton has improved a lot in recent years but is still pretty shabby.

We've been in Leytonstone for nearly a decade, having been priced out of Bethnal Green where we lived for years. We knew quite a lot of people who lived in E11, so we had a look and liked it. House prices were very cheap then - 150k or less for three beds was typical! Why is it so cheap? I don't know. It certainly has a lot going for it:

Good points:

Loads of open space (wanstead flats)

Very friendly - we know all our neighbours. Strangers actually say hello in the street.

Much more central than you might think; 20-ish minutes to Tottenham Court Road on the central line. It's nearer 'town' than Ealing. I cycle to work in The City every day. Takes about 25 minutes. I've even walked it a few times.

Lots of cultural events - especially Leytonstone Festival and Leytonstone Arts Trail.

Some decent restaurants - Singburi, Mudra and The Olive.

A couple of cracking pubs: The North Star and The Red Lion which hosts a craft and vintage market every other week.

It feels safe.

The council has spent a lot of money doing up the public realm on the High Road and Cann Hall Roads - both look much better.

There are signs the place is gentrifying. Met quite a few people priced out of Hackney, Bethnal Green, Bow and Stoke Newington who have moved to the area. Lots of houses being 'done up'. The pebbledash and stone cladding effect seems less common in Leytonstone than in Leyton - though there are plenty of tastecrimes right enough.

Bad Points:

Parts of the High Street are very run down.

Traffic can be a nightmare.

Severe lack of decent shops.

I'm afraid I don't know about schools - we're hoping to leave London before our little lad is at school age, but I have been told that the primaries in our area are good.

The 'best' (It's all relative) areas are Bushwood and Upper Leytonstone, both very handy for the tube station Lots of quiet residential streets of medium to large houses. Pretty sure 350K would get you a property in these areas - it would definitely get you one in the Cann Hall area, which is where we live. Full of typical Victorian London terraces.

Has the area improved in the ten years we've been here? Undoubtedly. Would we move here again? Certainly. No regrets at all.

I hope this helps - any questions, ask away!

MadBusLady Wed 25-Jul-12 12:48:51

Hi Cyclist - thank you so much, that is very helpful. We had zeroed in on the Bushwood area already as being close to the tube, so it's good to see it being recommended. There are one or two things there we can afford - run down but we don't mind that, just the opposite. <mad renovation gleam in eye>

I am also quite excited about the Red Lion - I didn't realise it was there, and it is run by the same chain as two of my favourite SE London pubs. So we're going to go and have a look around there (if can bear the idea of public transport in this weather) later this week. I'm a bit emotionally attached to SE London now but going to try and be open-minded and having a beer in the pub will probably help. The shops might be the sticking point as I don't drive, so half-decent food shops do need to be within reach. Would you happen to know if there are butchers/greengrocer options etc on the High Road, or is it all about the big Tescos I can see from space?

I formed the same opinion as you about Walthamstow (though tbf only on the basis of one visit). I know people rate it a lot and I thought I must be being deficient in not seeing whatever it is they did.

petitmort Wed 25-Jul-12 15:01:51

I might be wrong on this - but I'm sure I read somewhere that most of Norwood Junction's trains into London Bridge are expresses and take 10/11 mins - just a short walk into the City then.

TheCyclist Wed 25-Jul-12 15:15:55

The Red Lion is one of the best pubs in London - child friendly too. Absolutely full of buggies and prams on saturday afternoon. It's only been open about a year but is already at the heart of the community. The North Star is also worth a look if you're in Bushwood. Browning Road is a particularly nice street (although it does end up on quite a grim bit of the High Road).

I should have expanded on what I meant by 'severe lack of decent shops.' You'll be struggling a bit to buy, say, a nice hat - but there's no shortage of decent greengrocers. Probably the best is TFC on the high road by the bridge, Cheap as chips and also do fantastic bread. There's a butcher opposite the Tube called Rayners which I use from time to time. What we really lack is a decent Deli. Also, Wanstead is walking distance from Bushwood and has one of the best 'butcher, baker and candlestick maker' high streets in London. If you wanted, you could do a week's shop without ever setting foot in that Tesco.

When Woolies shut down a few years ago, it was replaced by an Argos. It's pretty clear that retailers see Leytonstone as viable, rather than a place in decline. In recent months we've got a mini-sainsbury and a Costa coffee. Actually, one thing Leytonstone isn't short of is coffee shops. Horizon (opposite the Red Lion) is particularly good.

MadBusLady Wed 25-Jul-12 17:57:09

That sounds perfect, Cyclist, thank you. It's "functional" I'm after rather than chi-chi. For nice hats there's always town, or Stratford if I can take it. Canary Wharf shopping probably not too bad from there as well.

Off to have a look tomorrow I think (in 28 degrees of heat as the Olympics commence half a mile away, yes, I time these things to perfection.) Just been on the phone to my dad about house-hunting and he said "Well, when I was young Leytonstone was a shithole" but then he is 60+ and also comes from Croydon so he can't talk grin

MadBusLady Wed 25-Jul-12 17:58:36

Petitmort, I am unaccountably drawn to South Norwood so have shown DP this thread. I had observed those train times myself but maybe he'll believe it if other People On The Internet say it's true. smile

TheCyclist Wed 25-Jul-12 18:54:32

Ha - to be fair to your dad Leytonstone was a very ropey old place until about five years ago. It's come on leaps and bounds since then. Like anywhere It has its ups and downs and some streets are better than others. But I've never walked down the high street thinking 'I wish I lived somewhere else'. It sort of reminds me of how Stoke Newington was in its transition period about 15 years ago.

Canary Wharf is a doddle to get to on the DLR from Stratty. I worked down there for a bit (and so is Paris, by the way - 7 minutes on HS1 to St Pancras and thence to France!)

tricot39 Wed 25-Jul-12 20:19:47

I'd be looking at whether the schools in an area were generally good/improving rather than whether specific schools were good, wouldn't I

Try posting on the education board about how to pick a place to live with a good school and you will get a range of views.

Once you pick a house or area, you will only have a choice between 2 or 3 primaries and secondaries, all of which will have very different characters. It is worth looking at the specifics of each school as they can vary markedly.

In Waltham Forest there is a massive under-supply of places for primary children. Schools which should only have single form entry are having to squeeze 2 or 3 forms per year into their buildings. There is a primary school booklet which comes out every sept/oct so try to get hold of one from the LBWF education service. It will tell you which schools are oversubscribed by listing out which roads will/will not get a place to see where you might get in. You might be able to get a copy from last year as that will give you the gist.

But I would start by checking out the secondaries if you are thinking this will be a long term move. They seem to be much trickier than primaries. You will hear about the marvellous Latymer grammar in Edmonton but beware that there are 10 applicants per place - so don't think that this is an easy back up plan! In addition to the Ofsted reports, consider hanging out at the school gates to see how the pupils behave as they leave. I have done this in the area that I am looking to move to and it speaks volumes.

is there an easy way to compare overall performance for areas or boroughs?

Not really. You have to locate the schools near you and then look up the Ofsted reports individually. You then combine that with other information you can gleen from parents/locals/google (search under the school name with police/knife/gun etc to see what sort of stuff - if anything - comes up!) as well as mumsnet.

An ofsted search on a Bushwood postcode (E11 3AY??) brings up this list.

You can refine it for secondary schools. The reports give quite a bit of detail, but summarise this as a numerical score of 1 (best) down to 4 (worst) for each assessment heading, as well as an overall score for quick reference. If you want to look into it further, I am no expert so try posting in education!

Good luck with your house hunting!

MadBusLady Thu 26-Jul-12 18:49:22

<is distracted by thoughts of Paris>

Blimey, thanks Tricot! Clearly a lot more complicated than I though shock. How do you all cope?? Scanning the OFSTEDs sounds like a good idea (I have done that before just to get a feel for the area) and gives me the opportunity to whip up a quick spreadsheet <geek> but suspect it will end up as a lesser criteria. But I can't say I wasn't warned smile

tricot39 Thu 26-Jul-12 18:53:59

ooh love a spreadsheet!

MadBusLady Thu 26-Jul-12 18:56:50

I have index cards of commuting times too. <manic gleam>

lambinapram Thu 26-Jul-12 18:58:46

Gwyn Jones in upper leytonstone is supposed to be a good school.

tricot39 Thu 26-Jul-12 18:59:57

Never bothered with commuting times but did have maps with the 5 and 10 minute walking perimeters for the tubes!

tricot39 Thu 26-Jul-12 19:00:51

lamb primaries mainly seem ok - it's the secondaries OP will need help with.....

tricot39 Thu 26-Jul-12 19:08:32

Oh yes - I forgot to say that this thread randomly popped up when I was searching for info on Forest School. It is mentioning the areas you are looking at in Leytonstone and the differences between it and Redbridge. If it makes a difference a lot of people move from LBWF to Redbridge for secondary schooling so it might be cheaper to look there first!

OhDoAdmitMrsDeVere Thu 26-Jul-12 19:08:56

I live in Walthamstow but visit lots of families in Leytonstone.
If I had known about Leytonstone before chosing E17 I would have definately moved there.

Some lovely, lovely houses and you can live right next to huge open spaces whilst being minutes from the tube.

There are some real hidden gems.

I like living over this side because it it so easy to get out of London. I miss Islington but it took an hour just to get to the edge of bloody London!

There a lots of primaries in Leytonstone (I work in specialist early years) and nearby. They seem to have had a lot of money put into them recently.

I like Walthamstow <hard stare @ TheCyclist grin> but Leytonstone has tons of charm and period properties (they are thin on the ground round here).

I no v.little about SE London so can neither diss it or big it up grin

TheCyclist Thu 26-Jul-12 21:47:38

MrsDeVere, I can definitely see why some people like E17 - especially the 'village'. smile

OhDoAdmitMrsDeVere Thu 26-Jul-12 22:00:27

To be fair - we only chose it because we could afford it. It was E17 or Edmonton or Tottenham.
E17 was the most accessible and the most diverse. So we went for it.
I would have prefered to stay in Holloway - city girl through and through!

Village is lovely but overpriced. I live in the really unfashionable part but its fine for us and I think will begin to attract more people. Not much period stuff but good, sturdy ex LA 1940s houses with gardens.

Given a lottery win I would be back to norf london in a shot - preferably a nice rectory overlooking the heath grin

confusedperson Fri 27-Jul-12 09:21:15

I live in South Norwood, close to Norwood Junction and no matter who says what, I like it. A fast train takes 11 mins into London Bridge in the mornings! ELL is also there. South Norwood High Street is a no-no, but the area near the Country Park is lovely. I love riding my bike there every now and then. I also love that we are close to Crystal Palace, Beckenham, Shirley (posh!).. and Croydon for shopping, although I do all my shopping online! We had recently new home owners moving into our road, priced out from Streatham and Rotherhithe.
Primary schools are surprisingly good and improving, although only two are outstanding.
All votes up for South Norwood!

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