For years now, the east has been the land of regeneration. The long lead up to the Olympic Games in Stratford and the success of the City fringes have seen most of property agents’ “up-and-coming” rhetoric focused in that direction and one could be mistaken for thinking there was simply nowhere else for traditionally prosperous west to go.
But the release of the first homes at the former BBC Television Centre last month thrust Shepherd’s Bush and its environs of White City into the limelight. The first major development to take place in the area for decades is being overseen by Mace, Stanhope and Mitsui Fudosan, and it’ll bring 5,000 movers and shakers to the area and a new Soho House private members club.
However, some agents argue that the first real catalyst was Westfield London’s arrival in 2008. And it’s set to expand, with permission for an enormous extension including a 230,000sqft John Lewis store.
“The opening has helped transform the heart of Shepherd’s Bush, while the arrival of the Overground improved poor transport links to the North and South London,” says David Fell, a research analyst at Hamptons International. “The W11-W12 boundary separating Shepherd’s Bush from Notting Hill and Holland Park marks one of the capital’s widest gaps in house prices. But the gap has narrowed in recent times, as prices in Shepherd’s Bush rose at twice the London average in the last year.”
W12 is still great value for money, especially compared with its neighbours, and this has drawn in the developers. Aside from Television Centre, Linden Homes’ Parkside Place is another big scheme alongside Imperial College’s new student accommodation on Wood Lane.
These new builds will add to an already diverse housing stock, says Mark Nockles, local sales manager at Foxtons. “The property portfolio is diverse, comprising a mix of new build, ex-local authority and period properties. The area attracts a range of buyers, including professional couples and families, as well as first time buyers and investors.”
This recent influx has led to the streets around Askew Road – dubbed Askew Village by local agents – “a hotspot in the making.” Trendy retailers, such as Ginger Pig butchers, artisan bakery October 26, Detour Cafe and Bears Ice Cream, are pushing up the area’s appeal among young professionals priced out of nearby Notting Hill.
“Those looking for something a bit more quintessential, yet still driven by investment potential should not overlook Askew Village,” says JLL’s Richard Lustigman. “Our advice is to spend some time scratching beneath the surface of an area to uncover its hidden gems.”
For fans of period property and large family houses, most of Shepherd’s Bush was built in the 19th century, which means there are plenty of Victorian terraces and Georgian mansion blocks on tree lined streets, and plenty of fixer uppers, too.
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“It’s a good area for anyone who’s interested in taking on a project as many houses haven’t been refurbished or extended yet,” says Jo Eccles, of Sourcing Property. “The family houses can go up to approximately 2,000sqft with decent garden sizes. There are also some great schools in the area, such as Burlington Dates Academy on Wood Lane and Cardinal Vaughan on Addison Road.”
Shepherd’s Bush is rising in the west, and, with something for everyone, now is the time to buy.
Shepherd’s Bush happens to be home to one of the best promoters of new writing, Bush Theatre, which moved from its pokey old home on the Green in 2012 to the old library. Now it’s a 144-seat venue showcasing new playwriting talent. If it’s big names you’re after, the 02 Shepherd’s Bush Empire is still going strong with a eclectic mixture of comedy, dance and rock acts. Food-wise, Laveli Bakery is a local, family-run favourite, making a variety of cakes and bread from scratch every day. Adam’s Cafe on Askew Road, is another local gem serving up Tunisian and Morrocan dishes and great herbal teas. Gastropub Defector’s Weld also comes highly recommended, with DJs on Friday and Saturday nights, live comedy, film and quiz nights. On the larger scale, of course, Westfield shopping centre is on the doorstep and is being expanded and Television Centre will house Soho House’s newest London outpost.