If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, the Bronx just received a pretty big endorsement. Despite being one of the five boroughs of New York, and around 3,500 miles away from the UK, it’s currently serving as the inspiration behind the recent regeneration of Croydon, London’s latest rental hotspot.
Croydon Vision 2020 is the name assigned to the regeneration project in the South-London area which will see a plethora of new apartment blocks and a Westfield shopping centre constructed by, you guessed it, the year 2020. But it’s not just shiny new flats and high-end shopping boutiques that are giving Croydon a new lease of life. There’s a scene rising in the background, aptly named The Cronx, and it’s not too dissimilar to the regeneration Shoreditch saw in the early naughties.
Part of the Cronx’s new status as a funky and vibrant hub is down to an emerging art scene, with art galleries The Turf Project, Studio Upstairs and Rise gallery all opening in the last year, bringing a new art quarter to the area. Croydon can now boast over £1m worth of street art, including Europe’s largest mural.
Surrey Street Market, one of England’s oldest markets, has just received £500k worth of investment, which will involve new footpaths, increased lighting and the possibility of evening and Sunday trading. Other benefits include a Boxpark that will be even larger than the one in Shoreditch. It will be filled with niche fashion brands, funky bars and lively cafes, and is scheduled to open in September 2016.
Croydon is now home to south London’s largest tech hub. In the last three years it has gone from practically non-existent to the capital’s fastest-growing tech ecosystem and has become so popular that tech entrepreneur Martha Lane Fox recently launched Go On’s, London’s first digital skills pilot.
And let’s not forget Croydon’s ever-famous tours, run by none other than the National Trust. 1960s skyscrapers are the focus, replacing the usual ideals of quaint towns and picturesque settings that you might associate with a historical tour. The highlight is Fairfield Halls, a music venue played in by the legendary Beatles.
There’s no point enjoying all of Croydon’s new delights if you don’t have somewhere to retreat to at the end of the day. Fortunately, Croydon has more than a few shiny residential developments that give the area a new lease of life. Safron Square, The Island, Morello and Penhurst Square are new residential buildings with a selection of apartments and on-site facilities such as gyms and concierge services.
Rents in Croydon are still competitive compared to other parts of the capital, especially areas in prime central London. The average price for a two-bedroom apartment is just under £1,300 per month, while one bed’s average around £925 per month.
A lack of tube transport has always been one of the main issues associated with South London. The south-east, in particular, has been devoid of London’s most convenient transport service.
Croydon, however, more than makes up for the lack of underground transport with an abundance of travel services that include multiple train lines, a tram service, an Overground line and an excellent bus network. East Croydon is the main station, with services to Victoria and London Bridge taking less than 30 minutes. Gatwick is just in 15 minutes away by train and Brighton is 25 minutes; a quick getaway out of the country, or a relaxed day at the beach, is always a possibility.
West Croydon offers good links into North London via stops at Highbury & Islington, while there is an Overground service that goes to Shoreditch and other parts of East London.
The Croydon Tramlink offers services into Wimbledon, Beckenham and New Addington, and a local bus network conveniently zips people around the rather large area of Croydon.
The main shopping attractions in Croydon revolve around the Whitgift Centre, a shopping centre that first opened its doors in 1970. The Whitgift is entirely functional and serves up a nice selection of retail favourites, but it’s hard not to be excited by the arrival of Westfield which will be completed by 2020.
There’s no reason Westfield shouldn’t have the same impact on Croydon that it’s had on Shepherd’s Bush and Stratford, bringing the area to the forefront of London in the process. There are still a few years before it opens, but once it does, expect rental prices to increase.
Croydon has an exciting future. As prime central London becomes less attainable, it’s important there are alternatives that offer a good quality of living. Croydon is a giant that kept hitting the snooze button, but it’s finally awake, and that can only be good news for the residents or soon-to-be-residents of London looking for somewhere new to call ‘home’.August 15, 2016 rentonomy Moving to the Capital