Dean for MetroFriday 28 Mar 2014 6:00 am Share this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messenger Fizzy Stepney Green (Picture: Supplied) Stepney: This week, Metro Moves east to an emerging neighbourhood that could be the next big thing East London’s capital of hip is indisputably Shoreditch but cool doesn’t come cheap. Legions of buyers who can’t afford to live there or in other fashionable neighbourhoods – such as Bow or Victoria Park – are now taking a serious look at Stepney.
Much of the East End was known as Stepney prior to 1900, when a small borough of the same name was created. In 1965, it was absorbed into the new borough of Tower Hamlets, and Stepney now covers a compact enclave between Whitechapel Road and Commercial Road. A church has stood on the site of St Dunstan’s in Stepney High Street for more than 1,000 years. The existing building dates from the 13th century and is east London’s oldest surviving church. A medieval village developed around it and the area grew rapidly during the 19th century, when immigrant workers and poor families, shunted from other parts of the capital, moved in. Stepney remained a mainly residential area, and many of these workers were employed in nearby docks and clothing factories, warehouses and shops.
It was possibly London’s most cosmopolitan borough – but also the most overcrowded and slum-ridden. More than a third of its homes were destroyed during the Blitz, mostly replaced by uninspiring council estates. Until recently, the gentrification that’s swept through Shoreditch, Spitalfields and Bow seemed to have bypassed Stepney completely but the landscape is now changing, in more ways than one. So-Stepney (Picture: Supplied) As part of an ongoing borough-wide regeneration and rebuilding programme, a £220 million transformation of the Ocean Estate – one of the 10 percent most deprived estates in the country – is nearing completion.
The scheme, led by Tower Hamlets Council in partnership with East Thames Consortium, includes more than 800 new homes, both affordable and private. A total of 1,200 existing council homes have been extensively refurbished, outside space has been landscaped, and new community facilities provided. This regeneration has raised Stepney’s profile. It’s no longer overlooked but has moved into pole position for buyers after a relatively affordable east London home. ‘Stepney’s up and coming and getting better and better,’ says Andre Harriott of Winkworth estate agents. ‘It hasn’t yet reached the coffee shop stage but Shoreditch and Victoria Park are close by, and Westfield Stratford City is just up the road for shopping. As it’s always been residential, unlike Shoreditch, it doesn’t have converted warehouse and factory apartments but a mix of Victorian terraces and modern flats, usually built where ex-local authority housing has been redeveloped.
Stepney is far better value for money than neighbouring areas. We currently have a one-bed purpose-built flat under offer at £250,000, and two-beds are £300,000 to £350,000. Period two-bed conversions are £350,000 to £400,000, and three-bed Victorian houses are around £500,000, compared to £750,000+ in Bow.’ ‘We see a lot of first-time buyers, helped by bank of mum and dad, and parent investors, buying for children at university – often Queen Mary University. Prices are rising but the rental market hasn’t followed suit. One-beds start from about £275 per week, and two-beds from £335.’ Johnson’s Lock in Stepney (Picture: Alamy) Stepney Green is the poshest street.
It includes a stretch of elegant Georgian houses along a cobbled granite lane overlooking a narrow strip of land – all that remains of the fields where Richard II clashed with Wat Tyler during the peasants’ revolt in 1381. The oldest is a fine Queen Anne villa, built in 1692 for a wealthy merchant. Mansion block Dunstan Houses, completed in 1899, was designed as low-cost accommodation for workers and recently appeared on the small screen as a location in BBC1’s Call The Midwife. If you’re after a newbuild, Essian Place is the latest phase of Bellway Homes’ So-Stepney development.
The eight one and two-bed apartments, set in a quiet cul-de-sac and all with a garden or balcony, cost from £325,995. For those going down the rental route, Fizzy has 63, one, two and three-bedroom flats available on either a short or long-term basis at its newest scheme, Fizzy Stepney Green. Rents start at £1,473 a month, and include the services of a dedicated property manager who can take deliveries – handy when you’re out working all day. The block is only two minutes from Stepney Green station, on the District and Hammersmith & City Lines. It’s in Zone 2 and an annual Travelcard into Zone 1 costs £1,256.
Whitechapel, on the Overground network and a future Crossrail station, is one stop away, and the DLR can be picked up at Limehouse. There are a handful of urban parks – among them Shandy Park, Stepney Green Park and Mile End Park – and, surprisingly for somewhere so built up, a proper working farm. Stepney City Farm breeds sheep, pigs, goats and poultry, has a lively café and shop, and hosts a Saturday farmers’ market. Don’t hold your breath for an allotment – the waiting lists so long that you won’t get one for decades.
Thank you to the Metro for their Post : https://metro.co.uk/2014/03/28/stepney-is-no-longer-the-overlooked-poor-relation-4680647/