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Blackheath area knowledge & advice please!(29 Posts)
I saw a thread on here about Blackheath / Maze Hill and so I know there's a lot of SE London expertise here! Would be grateful to hear any thoughts about our family move options.
We are fortunate enough to have a good budget (750-850) which in any other part of the country could afford us a luxurious pad, but not in Blackheath! We are currently in a high rise 2-bed flat with no outside space in a built up part of east London. During lockdown we have been stuck without a car and not able to use the tube / buses due to health conditions. Where we live we have been 'locked' in by a busy dual carriageway so unable to walk on foot into central London unless we want to get fumigated by Co2. Consequently we have been yearning for green space and a nicer local environment for our DD and ourselves.
Original plan was to stay here until DD (1 yo) is 3 and then move and get her into a primary. What with how we feel, combined with stamp duty holiday we have decided to take the plunge earlier than expected and move. Our top area of choice would be Blackheath and ideally John Ball primary, (although there are lots of decent primaries around the area) or anywhere at the edge of Greenwich Park, so we could walk to the greenery in 5-10 mins max. Everything round there is so expensive and has a much smaller footprint than we have been used to. Here we have 1000 sq ft in our 2 bed and plenty of storage. It would make sense to try and get a 3-bed in case we have a 2nd child (unsure) or as an office to wfh. However, we could live with a 2-bed for another 5 years or so as long as the footprint was decent and it had some storage / cupboard space. Even this seems a stretch in BH, or in Greenwich or Maze Hill. Once you move towards North Greenwich is gets cheaper but we really want to avoid the sound of the road and the busy Blackwall tunnel stretch as we are craving popping out to the park every day.
Now I know from MN that Charlton is way better value for money and looking on Rightmove we could get a wonderful home for our budget, like nothing I'd ever imagined. BUT, walking to the heath is 30-35 mins or more over a main road. Every time I imagine our life it always comes back to the dream of being able to pop out onto the heath or Greenwich Park within 10 minutes, to fly a kite with our DD, teach her to ride her bike, walk to school, watch the fireworks, have a picnic etc etc. I don't mind a 30-40 mins walk at all, but that is not conducive to popping out regularly like a 5-10 minute walk would be.
I know most people would probably go for the family home in Charlton, but are we mad to be considering the idea of living a stones throw from the heath or Greenwich park in a 2 bed flat? Would we be bonkers to choose a flat and have our "garden" as the park / heath instead?
Also, for context transport-wise DH has to travel to the city and also the wharf.
Thank you x
I know the area very well. Yes, your budget won't get you much in blackheath.
Have you looked at Lee/Hither Green? Depending on what roads you live on you'll be walking distance to Blackheath village. Both very family friendly places and you will get much more for your money.
Could you just go that bit further out to Beckenham? You’d get a nice house for your money, excellent schools for primary and secondary. There’s a pleasant town centre (slightly bigger than Blackheath but has independent shops etc) and lots of greenery.
Blackheath and GP are absolutely heaving busy and it's not the same as having your own garden at all.
Could you come a bit further out, get more space and more house. Your budget isn't huge for blackheath. As PP said Hither Green is a good option and can commute into Canon Street and change at Lewisham for DLR.
One option might be a flat in the area you want but only in the short term, say 3 or 4 years. She'll still be small enough for you to manage in a flat, the walk to the Heath/park etc is more doable, and you can try and get her into the school you want. If you can save up for a few more years, plus the (hopefully) increased value of the property, it might give you enough for somewhere bigger in that area, or slightly further out towards Charlton etc for a bigger house, by which time your dd will be in the school you want, and you actually won't be spending every day in the park with her like you do with a toddler.
Downside is a longer journey to school though.
Alternatively as pp have said, areas like hither green are more reasonable than blackheath, and still green space around.
I wouldn't look at Greenwich itself at all tbh, other than the park itself, it doesn't have much open green space, and the centre is very busy and touristy. I'd def look at either the Standard/charlton side or the hither green/Lee/Lewisham side.
I prefer Blackheath to Greenwich as a place to live as Greenwich is very touristy and busy. I would prefer to be central and smaller property in Blackheath than on the outskirts but depends how small you can make work. I would also check out the schools if needed - it was a while back but both friends I had round there ended up paying a lot to go private when the state schools they were offered where dire. One had spent 5 years going every week to church thinking that would guarantee them a church school place. May have improved but I know 3 families there and all went private, only one out of choice.
Also, have you looked at the stats for John Ball? It seems to have been declining over the last 3 years.
You might also like to check the admission distances for the past 3 years at the state schools you’re interested in. You’ll probably find they have v small catchments so that will limit your choice/size of property near desirable schools.
With the budget you have and the lifestyle you want, I'd look in the area between the railway line and Woolwich Road, between maze Hill and Halstow Road.
You'd get a 3 bedroom house with a garden, but also a short walk to the park (and east Greenwich pleasaunce which is a much smaller but lovely green space). Halstow school if you can get close to it but be aware its catchment is small).
Wouldn't be in catchment for John Ball but you'd get a lot more for your money than the other side of the heath and there are still good primaries
There's bags of green space all over in the borough of Lewisham with excellent routes to central.
Your budget is way too low for a house in Blackheath.
It's great living in the borough. 😊
Have you looked at houses on St Joseph's Vale? They aren't massive but quite a few come with garages for extra storage. I imagine they would be in catchment for John Ball too.
Otherwise - some of the span houses on the Cator estate?
They would be smaller than you have now though.
I would go for a 3 bed now over a 2 bed and having to move again.
Or a flat in a conversion with communal garden? You do get more sq ft for your money in those.
@DiscoJanet thank you.
Yes, to explain more, I think the lockdown etc has pushed us to consider doing an interim move for our own well-being and lifestyle. Initially we thought we'd wait and do the whole family home thing later. Now we are thinking we might move now for a few years (3-5 years) and then move again. Due to stamp duty holiday we would be saving a hefty chunk and so we felt it would be worth it in a kind of "life is for the living" way, and to enjoy the next few years.
As we have only ever lived in flats we are not mad keen on having a garden or ground floor living either - it's unfamiliar. We are open to it but it's not something we are desperate for iyswim. A lot of friends who live outside London ask "when are you going to get a house" as if it's the obvious next step, but we have never lived in houses and there are some benefits to flat living, such as living higher up, having more light and views, and warmer home / lower heating bills!
I have looked at Hither Green but in my mind I thought it was also a bus ride to Blackheath rather than an easy walk? I need to get there and walk it through.
Good advice about the school @JoJoSM2 thank you - I will check
Sorry just to say as well, we have thought a lot about this over this year and we really don't want to move to Beckenham or other parts of Lewisham. We love to feel of Blackheath being village but still obviously London and not suburb. We could obviously afford a lot of property if we moved out further but that's the rub!
If you go to the Blackheath side of Hither Green station (rather than Catford side) you can walk to centre of Blackheath in about 20 minutes or so, depending on where you start / walking speed. You can then walk over the heath and to top of Greenwich Park for a longer walk and then into Greenwich Park if you want.
@Tinacollada thanks- can I ask why?
@Blue5238 thank you, I think this little area could be a great solution. Potentially even walkable to cutty sark dlr as well. I will check out that school.
I'd echo previous posters and suggest you look at Hither Green or Lee. Manor House Gardens is a lovely local green space, there's another park as well, and you can walk up to Blackheath easily (or frequent buses along burnt ash hill). Just stay the blackheath side of the railway line/south circular to keep the distances manageable.
Why move to Blackheath? If you live in East London already why not move further out? Look at Leytonstone (Bushwood area in particular - several excellent schools) or Wanstead. Much better value for your money, and actually far greener by the forest, plus more spaced out/quieter and excellent schools.
And I have friends in St Joseph's Vale who love it - there's cut throughs to John Ball primary
There's a 3 bed there for £740
Plus there's a 4 bed come up in Belvedere Mews for £750
Private road, gated.
I have a garden flat very close by (and honestly, I've never felt unsafe- this area is possibly the poshest I've ever lived - I go out all hours with the dog and never had any problems). So just in case you change your mind there's loads of lovely 3 bed flats close to the Heath.
Those first two are very likely to be in the catchment for John Ball though I do hear the boundaries are tight
That last house in Belvedere Mews isn't though - much further away. It's in Blackheath Standard - loads go private school there - pointer school is very close by
@CaramelWaferAndTea I personally don't think Leytonstone compares to Blackheath.
Also, as said further up, we do want to feel like we still live in a city which Blackheath still gives you due to views of the wharf etc. Wanstead etc feel like they could be anywhere, in my personal opinion.
If you’re ok with a flat and not fussed over a house, then it should be ok to be right in the village for that? It does sound like you’ve been quite spoilt with a 1000sq ft 2-bed as that’s absolutely huge.
I would be tempted by something like this though does need new kitchen and possibly bathroom but its large enough for a family and right on the heath.
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