St Mary Cray

(64 Posts)
Anitai Tue 14-Jan-20 21:02:08

I’m hoping someone familiar with the Sidcup/Orpington/ Bexley area could advise if St Mary Cray is a safe, pleasant area for an interracial couple to buy their first home? We’re both in our early 30s and have rather low budget of £310k.

We both commute into Central London on a daily basis and would need a journey that’s under an hour. We’ve come across a 2 bed in St Mary Cray but aren’t familiar with the area. Is it a safe bet? or are there any other areas we should consider on our budget. I’m really hoping someone can help!

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JoJoSM2 Tue 14-Jan-20 21:23:51

Just looking at the local school stats (St Mary Cray Primary) and it looks like a very deprived area with an awful school.

Is 310k for a 2-bed house? It might be a bit tight for a house but you should be able to get a flat somewhere nice for that? I’m over in Sutton so not too familiar with the areas but actual Orpington, Sidcup and Bexley are all nice and quite affordable as far as I know.

JoJoSM2 Tue 14-Jan-20 22:07:37

Oh, if you’re open to other areas, then you’ll definitely get a 2-bed flat in a private block in Sutton. It’s pretty multicultural, safe, fab schools. Big town centre and lots of amenities. Trains to LB, Victoria and the Thameslink. For smaller town centres/villagey places around here, Worcester Park, Carshalton and Wallington are nice and 2-bed flats should be available under 310k.

Anitai Tue 14-Jan-20 23:00:40

@jojoSm2 thanks for your input. We were actually hoping for a 2 bed house but don’t think it’s possible on our budget. I’ll have a look in the areas you have suggested. smile

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PancakesAndMapleSyrup Tue 14-Jan-20 23:02:09

Dont. It's not very nice at all. Somewhere you want to give a very wide berth.

Anitai Tue 14-Jan-20 23:05:43

@PancakesAndMapleSyrup oh dear, I guess the hunt continues!

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earsup Wed 15-Jan-20 01:44:35

Friends dad had a flat there...not very pleasant area...had travellers in next field chucking poo etc over fence.

skippy67 Wed 15-Jan-20 09:04:59

I wouldn't recommend it at all. Especially for an interracial couple.

Anitai Wed 15-Jan-20 09:20:47

@earsup that’s awful, sorry to hear that. Would you say that all of the ‘Crays’ (footscray, St. Paul’s cray) are the same? I.e run down, deprived etc

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Anitai Wed 15-Jan-20 09:22:15

@skippy67 this isn’t the first time I’ve heard this but a part of me was hoping it wasn’t true. Would you say it was the same for the surrounding areas too?

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PancakesAndMapleSyrup Wed 15-Jan-20 11:25:42

Yes avoid all the crays tbh as someone mentioned above you would be better looking at carshalton/sutton the other side of bromley/Croydon to be honest.
In order to stretch funds have you thought of looking a bit further north like the commuter belt towards Cambridge. I dont mean cambridge itself as the budget wont stretch but a Cambridge or Cambridge North station on a fast to kings cross or liverpool st is 52m or 57m respectively. We moved up from south east london and now drive 15 mins or so to the stations mentioned and into london. It is very do able and you get far more for your budget. May be worth spending a weekend exploring. You also have stations further down the line towards london too that you can look at.

earsup Wed 15-Jan-20 16:02:51

I dont know to be honest as only visited the flat in summers...he has since moved...others also say its not a pleasant area...good luck with the search.

PettsWoodParadise Sun 02-Feb-20 07:59:02

Sorry to those who live in the Crays but it isn’t the best area. You’d get a nice 2 bed maisonette with garden in Petts Wood for your budget. They are in small blocks of four so don’t feel like traditional flats and you do not pay service charges on them.

PettsWoodParadise Sun 02-Feb-20 08:01:58

This one is under offer but the type of property I mean

Lightsabre Sun 02-Feb-20 08:54:20

I think you'd be better off looking at Plumstead Common. There are small two bed cottages for £290-£325 and the area is on the up with Crossrail due to arrive soon. It's multi racial too. Down the hill on Plumstead High St is more down at heel but I'd still prefer it to the Crays and the London transport links are very good (Southeastern and Thameslink trains plus Crossrail coming). Or there are cheaper properties in the Bexley Borough (DA15/DA16). Or Dartford - Crossrail will eventually be extended to Dartford and property prices are very cheap.

Anitai Sun 02-Feb-20 09:00:31

@PettsWoodParadise that maisonette is rather nice. I think we need to change our mind set slightly as we’re both still set on purchasing a house.. this may be slightly naive of us. Especially as we are still struggling to find anything decent within budget. Our absolute top end is now £320k

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Anitai Sun 02-Feb-20 09:03:49

@Lightsabre we’ve actually got a viewing this morning in Plumstead but unfortunately it’s close to the high street so it’s not looking entirely promising. We’ve also got a viewing for a small 2 bed cottage in Sidcup (Rider Close) the street doesn’t look amazingly but we’re getting desperate

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PintOfBovril Sun 02-Feb-20 09:08:25

Yes I would suggest Swanley, Shortlands or Petts Wood as alternatives. Again no offence to anyone living in any of the Crays but they are not very nice and I wouldn't be happy letting my children play out/walk to school alone etc.

Lightsabre Sun 02-Feb-20 09:18:03

I think the Sidcup (that area is called Blackfen) one is a bit far from the stations but I don't know that area really well. There are lots of buses on the main road so you should be able to get one to Eltham station or Falconwood for example. Personally, I'd keep looking in Plumstead Common there is a nice one on Alabama Street (£325 asking) and another at the Slade (£315) which has a trendy cafe on the doorstep as is the Common. 10 min bus ride to either Woolwich or Plumstead stations. Woolwich also has the DLR and a swanky new creative quarter being built. Have a walk down by the river in the Arsenal development to see how the area is changing. Quick drive to Blackheath and Greenwich too for cafe culture. Plumstead is in catchment for the Bexley Grammar schools too.

behindlocknumbernine Sun 02-Feb-20 09:18:22

If your budget is max 320, then these are within reach as most properties sell for less than advertised price.

I can’t comment on the area though 🙂 gloriously quirky lovely inside needs a bit of tic

Lightsabre Sun 02-Feb-20 09:24:52

There are also some cheaper properties in Whetstone Rd, Blackheath (SE3). All of the Greenwich Borough is a mixed ethnicity area - Bexley, Sidcup not so much. This area is a large council estate but a lot of the houses have been bought. It's a short bus ride to Blackheath station and the Royal Standard for shops. The main good secondary school is Thomas Tallis or the Greenwich Free School. There is a less successful school on the Estate.

TaleOfTheContinents Sun 02-Feb-20 11:45:39

OP, we're also looking to buy in the Orpington area and everyone we've spoken to says to avoid the Crays (St Mary and St Paul's) at all costs. The prices there are much cheaper than in other parts of Orpington for a reason, I guess. Be careful of where you look in Sidcup. I was told similar things about the Blackfen area and people said that Sidcup in general wasn't the nicest area.

mollibu Sun 02-Feb-20 15:39:06

Hi, OP.

I live bang in the centre of St Mary Cray and reading a few replies I can tell most haven't given it a chance.

I love living here, it's really really not as bad as everyone makes out. We've never had any trouble and we've been here 21 years. Where abouts was the house in Cray? I might be able to help give you an idea of what it's like if it's near me?

Hope this helps smile

AnneElliott Sun 02-Feb-20 16:06:00

I would avoid both Cray areas and Plumstead, particularly near the High St. A house by the common would be better.

Blackfen is fine in my view. I'd prefer it to Plumstead. No issues with interracial families at DSs school there.

Anitai Sun 02-Feb-20 18:43:44

@behindlocknumbernine Thanks for these. The 3rd property is the one we viewed today, it was pretty awful.. it looked nothing like the pictures. We wanted to run out as soon as we got in. Such a waste of time!

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