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Calling SE London Mumsnetters ... Forest Hill/Crystal Palace/Brockley ... where would you like to live?

(49 Posts)
RooTwo Tue 25-Jun-13 09:50:40

We have sold our flat in Hackney and are looking for somewhere to live in SE London. After a brief flirtation with the idea of the seaside we've realised we really need to stay in London and are looking in Forest Hill/Brockley/Crystal Palace. Am in terrible dilemmas about best place to be - saw fab house in Forest Hill but just off Stanstead Road which I just found rather uninspiring - too trafficky and kind of the wrong side of Forest Hill (ie not the hilly bit). Seen various places that look lovely in Crystal Palace which also seems like it has more going on than in Forest Hill. We have two DCs who will have to move into Years 1 and 3 so we do have to think about schools, too. We would like to live somewhere nice and friendly, green spaces, good transport links, decent schools - nice cafes and restaurants would be a great bonus ... Not too much to ask, then! smile We do have a budget of up to 600K so can afford a decent house. Any advice would be most welcome before my brain totally fries!

pinkdelight Tue 25-Jun-13 10:00:24

My vote would be:
1. Crystal Palace
2. Forest Hill
3. Brockley

CP is more open, great shops, lots going on and you'll get a decent house in catchment of a nice primary. FH is v nice too, but I'd want to be on the hill and you'd get less for your money in catchment. But still nice and well-connected. I don't know Brockley as well. I know a lot of people like it but it feels too cl

pinkdelight Tue 25-Jun-13 10:02:27

(Sorry!) too close to New Cross madness to me. Maybe I've just gone suburban in my motherhood! Feels like you'd be paying more for less quality of life. But there's a nice artsy vibe. Mind you, you'd get that in CP too. (Can you tell I live in CP??)

pinkdelight Tue 25-Jun-13 10:05:19

Honor Oak Park might be a good compromise between FH and Brockley? In catchment of Stillness ideally. Or come to the CP overground festival in Westow Park this Saturday. That'll win you over. Couldn't believe our luck when we went there last year.

zgaze Tue 25-Jun-13 10:20:59

I live in CP - actually moved here from Brockley. There are some lovely bits of Brockley particularly in the conservation area in the roads surrounding Hilly Fields (fab park with big sandpit play area, cafe etc). There are some nice shops (Gently Elephant for kids shoes and bits and pieces) and cafes / bars (The Orchard, Broca etc) but as a whole the area is not a patch on Crystal Palace. There's so much more going on here - Great independent shops, excellent restaurants, loads of really good pubs, giant park with dinosaurs, lake, boats, sandpit, the National Sports Centre in iconic Brutalist architecture building with Olympic sized pool. Depending exactly where you live there are some outstanding primary schools (though there are some pockets where school places are an issue so do your research).

Agree with pinkdelight (wonder if we know each other, the palace is a small world...) that you should come and visit the area this weekend while the Overground Festival is on, it was brilliant last year.

RooTwo Tue 25-Jun-13 10:22:57

Oooh pinkdelight thank you for thoughts! We are coming to CP to look at houses on Sat - will definitely drop by Westow Park! Just had a look at the website, looks amazing ... it does seem like there is lots going on down there - and after Hackney I don't want to end up somewhere too suburban feeling (which is a bit how it felt in the bit of Forest Hill I looked). Just being horribly nosy, do you have children in CP schools? I have done lots of research about Forest Hill ones but don't know much about those in CP.

RooTwo Tue 25-Jun-13 10:28:19

And thank you zgaze too ... great to hear such good things about Crystal Palace. We were going to drop kids with their grandparents on our house recces this weekend but I think we'll bring them with us and go to the festival ... any advice on schools or are your kids not at that stage yet? We are going to look at houses on Woodland Hill and Pleydell Avenue.

pinkdelight Tue 25-Jun-13 10:45:57

I guess your situation is different to if you wanted a place in YR, in that you can at least find out if schools have places and you mightn't need to live right next door to get in. Is that your plan - to call around and see where's likely to have places? There's a bit of movement here so you might be okay not living mega close, but Pleydell isn't really close to a good school (correct me if I'm wrong zgaze!). Woodland should give you a good shot at Paxton, if they have places (oversubscribed but you never know). There's also Cypress, Rockmount (both good) and Downsview (slightly further from transport links), and another primary further down off Anerley Hill though the name escapes me, not heard much about it. It's a bit less nice at that end but close to station.

pinkdelight Tue 25-Jun-13 10:50:40

Also, Paxton is in a federation with Kingsdale and Elmwood so may be able to advise on spaces there if they're full (Kingsdale is much bigger). Woodland Hill house looks v nice btw! And well placed for triangle and Gipsy Hill. Good luck with your recces and hope you enjoy the festival!

pinkdelight Tue 25-Jun-13 10:51:59

I meant Kingswood - the primary, sorry. Kingsdale is the secondary down that way.

RooTwo Tue 25-Jun-13 11:13:19

Thanks v much pinkdelight ... really helpful. Just rang estate agents though and both houses we wanted to see are already under offer! BOO. sad He told me it's worth looking at houses in Anerley but that is getting a bit too far south for me I think ...

pinkdelight Tue 25-Jun-13 11:21:09

Darn! There's a 4-bed on College Green (right by the park) and a six-bed on Essex Grove (though that might be a doer-upper), both close to Rockmount. If you search around the schools, you should find something nice in your budget, whether its classed as CP, Upper Norwood or Gipsy Hill.

pinkdelight Tue 25-Jun-13 11:27:42

But just to confuse you, there's also a couple of decent houses on Tewkesbury Ave in Se23 in your budget close to lovely Horniman school. So worth checking those out too maybe. We scoured se23 before moving here but just couldn't find the right place at the right price. Nightmare isn't it! But you'll get somewhere. Keep em peeled...

RooTwo Tue 25-Jun-13 11:56:26

Darn indeed. It's a total nightmare - terrible time to be buying a house. The one on Pleydell Ave went for 80 grand over the asking price!! Insanity.

We did actually look at one on Tewkesbury Ave - amazing 30s house but in need of too much work and at the top of our budget already. But yes it is really lovely around there isn't it. College Green one I saw too but we are after a period house ...

Squigglypig Tue 25-Jun-13 12:03:45

Ahem, we live just off the uninspiring Stanstead Road, probably near the bit you were looking at. We originally wanted CP as we'd lived there before but I'm not upset as I think the transport is a bit better on this side as we also have (whisper it - Catford) nearby. I would say the pluses are that you will get more for your money that in CP, also the area is nice and quiet and we're surrounded by good primary schools (Kilmorie, Dalmain).

I would throw a spanner in the works and suggest that for your money I'd also look at Ladywell - not least for the lovely riverside park that runs through it and the fab Hilly Fields (again we couldn't have afforded it but my sights are now that way inclined if we ever come into a few more quid).

But CP is lovely, we just couldn't have found the type of property we wanted round there (Victorian).

Levantine Tue 25-Jun-13 12:12:58

Anerley def too far out for you i think. we did a similair move last year, was quite hard to find somewhere

Mintyy Tue 25-Jun-13 12:14:55

I would go for Crystal Palace, I think. But if I could live anywhere it would be at the top of Canonbie Road, Forest Hill.

RooTwo Tue 25-Jun-13 12:18:21

Oh dear, I didn't mean to be mean about Stanstead Road houses, squigglypig! They are lovely houses, it just felt like I'd rather be on the other side of Forest Hill - that to get anywhere you have to deal with that huge busy road. I don't know - am in terrible conundrums as houses selling so quickly that we are going to have to snap up places v quickly. The house we looked at was on Colfe Road. Lovely house, I must say ... and neighbours' kids go to Kimorie.

Squigglypig Tue 25-Jun-13 12:38:47

That's alright, it definitely wasn't an area I was even considering until we started looking and realised that there were only about 10 houses in SE London that matched our criteria and were within our budget.

My DH was more enthusiastic than I about the area (and also wouldn't consider any of the 1930s houses I liked) and I have to say having moved last year we've found ourselves on a lovely road where the neighbours all know each other, there's loads of other children on the street and we even had a street party a couple of weeks ago. I think the attraction of CP is that everything is contained within a very visible triangle whereas in Forest Hill there is a lot going on but you have to look a bit harder for it.

Also although Stanstead Road is the South Circular, it's not actually that bad - I think Colfe Road you are nearer the junction with Brockley Rise and that is a horrible busy road, but if you walk further up or down Stanstead Road it does get quieter.

I also have hopes for Catford, it's getting a big input of money in the next few years to do it up (a Costa opened a couple of months ago shock horror!) and actually it's growing on me already. But like I say have a look at the houses round Hilly Fields/Ladywell as I'm more and more impressed by that area.

Levantine Tue 25-Jun-13 12:47:17

I should have added, I do sympathise!

Barbabeau Tue 25-Jun-13 12:53:14

FH is lovely, especially behind the Horniman. It has easy access to East Dulwich if you want the bars and restaurants. You're also nearby to Peckham Rye Park, Dulwich Park, Sydenham Woods, One Tree Hill, etc so you're never far from green space.

I was very attracted to CP as well but we got the impression that there were a lot more CoE or Catholic schools there which would have reduced our choices, being non religious types. We were looking around Gipsy Hill / CP general area. Not sure if that's a fair assessment.

Not very familiar with Brockley but have friends nearby and they love it.

FairyJen Tue 25-Jun-13 12:58:47

I live in honor oak park and I love it!!!! Best parts of brockley and forest hill.

Educationally, stillness is an outstanding school and has top marks from ofstead across the board. My dd (6) attends if you want more info smile

WhatKatyDidnt Tue 25-Jun-13 15:53:50

Rootoo, gosh I know both of those houses - spend way too much time on rightmove! The market in south east london is utterly bonkers at the moment. All the areas you mention are good in their own ways - I'd keep looking at them all until the house for you comes up. Have you thought about Sydenham? The High St isn't the most attractive but good houses, parks, schools, transport.

GrandPoohBah Tue 25-Jun-13 16:19:52

Plus things like the Sydenham music festival and local historic talks, the Dolphin pub, Mayow Park has just had quite a lot of money spent on it, the high st is part of the Mary Portas regeneration scheme, fantastic transport links (3x stations going to London Bridge, Charing X, Blackfriars & Victoria all under 20 mins).

Not sure about primary schools around there though - I suspect they've changed quite a lot since I was attending them wink

Barbabeau Tue 25-Jun-13 17:26:29

The style is not to everyone's taste but there are some 1960s town houses for sale on Sydenham Hill on the Dulwich Estate. The rooms are generally nice sizes and they have big windows. You'd be in catchment for Eliot Bank.

Think the pricing of them is ambitious though.

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