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(19 Posts)
Applesauce29 Wed 15-Jul-15 16:22:39

Does anyone know about this area? Is it nice, safe, good community feel? What are the schools like? Is there much to do with babies and young children?

Have been looking on Rightmove and there are lots of nice spacious period houses in conservation areas for less than £800k - seems a bit too good to be true!

BreeVDKamp Wed 15-Jul-15 16:28:30

It doesn't feel particularly nice or safe whenever I drive through it, but can't put my finger on why. I did go to the HSBC there once and it was all kicking off. That's not really enough to judge a place on though I don't suppose.
Im guessing it's for a family home rather than an investment? I'm sure you can get something suitable for £800k in Forest Hill, Honor Oak, Brockley etc.

janinlondon Wed 15-Jul-15 16:36:07

I'm guessing you are looking at the excellent transport links, which are not so good from Forest Hill or Honor Oak, but Bree is kind of right I think....

Applesauce29 Wed 15-Jul-15 17:00:52

Yes, after a family home for the next 10+ years (so ideally at least 3 double rooms, and garden), with easy commute to the City (Cannon St / Bank / Liverpool St). Don't really know any of those other areas mentioned either. What are the main differences between them?

Plateofcrumbs Wed 15-Jul-15 17:07:43

Catford rather lacks charm, Forest Hill is much nicer, but you'll pay much more for the privilege. There is a lot of good property at great prices in Catford though, and it does get touted as an 'up and coming' area.

glorious Wed 15-Jul-15 17:08:53

Catford is... lively! Parts I'd live in happily (e.g. South side where conservation area is, or borders with Hither Green and Ladywell ). Others not so much. It's not the kind of place for baby classes and nice cafes.

You could get a lovely 3 bed house I'm Hither Green for well less than £800k. Ours is worth around £ 600k. Direct trains to Cannon St and Charing Cross.

Gasp0deTheW0nderD0g Wed 15-Jul-15 17:29:00

I live on the other side of the borough from Catford. It's a mixed area but the flats by the shopping centre are scheduled to be demolished and that will make a big difference. There is a huge new estate being built on the site of the old greyhound track very near the stations which will also change the demographics. I like living in SE London. I've been here for nearly 30 years and it's changed a lot in that time.

I'm a long way past the baby/toddler stage so can't tell you what's available on that front but I'd be amazed if there isn't a fair amount. SE London seems to be going through a huge baby boom!

There are lots of green spaces nearby - check out Beckenham Place Park, Ladywell Fields, Blythe Hill Fields, Hilly Fields, Mountsfield Park, Manor House Gardens, Manor Park, Telegraph Hill.

Points to consider:

London Borough of Lewisham, solid Labour (almost no councillors who aren't Labour) - fairly high council tax, services more of a mixed bag. Refuse collection is good, libraries and pools not bad.

Shopping in Catford - not brilliant, but you would be very close to Bromley and Lewisham for better shopping (Bromley is a lot more upmarket than Lewisham but Lewisham has all the basics including a good street market).

In my experience Lewisham Hospital is generally good. It's a teaching hospital with (currently) A&E, full maternity services and a SCBU.

Transport links are a big bonus. Two railway stations in Catford and others nearby. Lewisham has the DLR as well as National Rail. The Overground runs south from New Cross Gate to Croydon and the stations are not far from Catford. Lots of buses. (At some point the Bakerloo line is likely to be extended to Lewisham and possibly Catford, but I wouldn't hold your breath over that happening within the next 20 years.)

Lewisham schools have improved a lot but the secondary schools are a more mixed bunch than the primary schools. Within striking distance from Catford you would have Sedgehill - mixed comp, on the up; Trinity - C of E small mixed comp, on the up; Coniston, mixed comp, on the up; Prendergast Ladywell Fields, mixed comp, on the up (possibly more of a bumpy ascent than some of the others); Forest Hill Boys, comp, consistently well regarded for a long time; Sydenham Girls, comp, ditto; Haberdashers' Aske's Knights, mixed comp, on the up as far as I know.

Further out: Bromley schools are generally good, including St Olave's and Newstead Woods, which are super-selective grammar schools; Bexley and Sutton grammar schools; Dartford grammar schools.

Private schools: St Dunstan's, consistently well spoken of; Blackheath Girls'; Eltham College; the innumerable schools in Dulwich.

Hope this helps!

dontcallmelen Wed 15-Jul-15 22:46:01

Hi you really need to do your research, catford can be a bit gangsta in parts, the shopping is pretty grim, hither green has become quite upmarket, forest hill/stanstead road end of catford is better, as pp bylthe hill has the park & stillness & kilmorie are good primary schools i believe, would streer clear of bellingham/downham, take a look at
beckenham good family houses excellent schools & shopping, plenty of green spaces/parks leisure centre
very family friendly & safe.

Applesauce29 Thu 16-Jul-15 12:23:30

Thanks for the comments. I will add the other areas to my list to check out.

After having had a walk around Catford I realise now why the gorgeous houses in the conservation area are so cheap. I saw quite a few people that I can only describe as 'weird' and possibly mentally unstable, walking down the roads talking to themselves. Also, lots of drunkards openly swigging from cans. It's a real shame as it has the potential to be a really nice area (no tower blocks near the conservation area, leafy wide streets with integrated schools and no pubs), but I couldn't bring myself to move and raise my child here.

Monty27 Thu 16-Jul-15 12:37:04

Catford centre is just awful, however up behind the two stations is Blythe Hill Fields and Ladywell Park, stunning. You would just have to avoid the centre of Catford at all costs which is actually possible as there are plenty of neighbouring shopping areas and Catford is great for a commuter. Its widely said that the demographic is completely changing and its becoming a bit 'nappy valley' and many young families are buying there. The Guardian did an article on Catford a while ago, and it featured in the Standard recently as well. If you have a google you should find them.

Good luck in your search.

Gasp0deTheW0nderD0g Thu 16-Jul-15 13:03:33

I saw quite a few people that I can only describe as 'weird' and possibly mentally unstable, walking down the roads talking to themselves. Also, lots of drunkards openly swigging from cans.


Is that really so unusual in any part of inner London? We certainly have it in SE4 and my children seem to have grown up unscathed. Mental illness and alcoholism occur all over the country but I suppose in leafier areas they are simply more likely to manifest themselves indoors.

Applesauce29 Thu 16-Jul-15 13:22:44

Well, I currently live in Tower Hamlets where there is a massive Bengali community (Muslim) who don't drink and the pubs are mostly separated into two groups (overpriced yuppy type / gastropub for those with money who work in the City / Canary Wharf) and classic Eastender type old fashioned London pubs frequented by council estate people with blacked out windows I wouldn't go in alone as a woman. Don't really see people drinking in the parks / outdoor spaces except for teenagers on summer evenings occasionally.

notagenius8 Thu 16-Jul-15 17:23:28

What kind of a society do we live in if we need to be surprised we can buy a decent house in a grotty part of southeast London for 800k!! smile

We just moved to Hither Green, but west side of tracks (dodgy side supposedly), I think you'd struggle to find a nice house and spend all of 800k too, more like 650k-700k ish, if you want nice, try Lee (so more east from Hither Green station). I walked around a few times and it feels like Putney to me, feels very genteel, very leafy, good schools, your budget could just get you a 3 bed house. It's a more "ready-to-move-in" community, ie you don't need to wait for gentrification, if this is what you are after. Transport links from that part to central London v easy.

babydad Fri 17-Jul-15 11:55:20

Aldo just moved to the west side of Hither Green notagenius8.
It is definitely not as villagey as the East Side, but for £800k you would get a very decent sized house. You could even get something on the East Side for that,. just not as big.
It's definitely got the housing stock like Catford, but just a little further along in terms of being set up for a family. Transport links and green spaces are also fantastic.

TremoloGreen Fri 17-Jul-15 13:07:01

I wouldn't fancy living in Catford. Forest Hill and Sydenham Hill/ Upper Sydenham is a bit nicer and you would get something decent for your money there (SE26 postcode cheaper than SE23). Lots of very good primary schools - Eliot Bank, Dalmain, Horniman, St Barts, Alexandra, and Kelvin Grove is meant to be making huge improvements and starting to prove popular. Realistically, Forest Hill Boys and Sydenham Girls would be where you would get a place for state secondary. Very good choice of independents.

I didn't know that FH Boys and Sydenham Girls were considered good (lived very near SG and found some of the pupils a bit scary!), we moved for a better choice of secondaries/ get out of London, but I imagine that they will only improve if you look at the way the primaries are going now.

You won't really find a part of inner London with no social problems/violent crime, although some bits feel safer than others I guess.

maxtrue Fri 17-Jul-15 14:19:37

Sorry but Sydenham is an excellent school, my daughter and her friends are thriving there. It is one of the few proper comp schools left so yes you will get girls from families that don't care about them or society!
The debating team has just beaten over 100 schools to become champions!
I also have only heard excellent things from Forest Hill boys!

CeeCee123 Tue 21-Jul-15 20:57:17

Another vote for SE26 - Sydenham is excellent, cheaper than Forest Hill, great schools, lots of green spaces, good community feel. Catford is sporadic - some nice parts, agree that the High Street is a bit grim....
... although I can't believe no-one has mentioned the biggest attraction in Catford - the giant fiberglass cat!

Dukketeater Tue 21-Jul-15 21:06:20

For £800k you'd get a 4 bed house out in the more london parts of surrey with good transport links to london semi rural so lovely for your weekends, great schools, safe community feel, nice for families. Places I mean are Coulsdon, Warlingham, Kenley, Riddlesdown, Sanderstead, Caterham, Whyteleafe...all of which have mainline stations. I'd spend my money there. I say this as somebody who went to primary school in Catford and Forest Hill and then Secondary School in one of the places I listed.

Catford isn't too bad but if I was going to sink that kind of money into a property I wouldn't do it there.

Applesauce29 Tue 21-Jul-15 22:27:24

Thank you - some lovely suggestions, tho these would be probably the furthest we'd commute from time wise, so more for consideration should we decide that I step back from city career and do something more low key and maybe have a second child, so only one of us has to do the commute.

Think I want to prioritise commuting time now for reasonable 3 bed with great school en-route to station. Easier said than done in inner city London!

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