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North Greenwich: life in one of 'London's best neighbourhoods'

News Shopper logo News Shopper 02/12/2022 Joe Coughlan

Matt Hunt in front of the Upper Riverside apartment blocks in North Greenwich. Picture: Joe Coughlan (Image: Joe Coughlan) © Provided by News Shopper Matt Hunt in front of the Upper Riverside apartment blocks in North Greenwich. Picture: Joe Coughlan (Image: Joe Coughlan)

A south London neighbourhood overshadowed by cooler neighbours has been named one of the best places to live in the capital, with experts saying rapid development has attracted a “new demographic” of residents.

Expatica, a website recommending places to live for those moving countries, has listed North Greenwich as one of the best neighbourhoods in London. The site mentioned the increase in  high-rise buildings was one of the reasons for increased interest over recent years.

North Greenwich sits right on the River Thames, with Greenwich town directly to the south west. Greenwich town is typically seen as the nicer of the two neighbourhoods due to its famous park, university and former naval college. But North Greenwich has surprisingly been tipped as an up-and-coming rival to the town centre.

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Kerri Sibson, COO of property developers Knight Dragon, said over three million people visit North Greenwich each year. The executive said that arts and culture have been a large factor in the regeneration of the area. This includes public art exhibitions at The Tide park and NOW gallery, as well as workspaces for creatives in the Design District and Bureau coworking space.

Simon Humm, head of sales at Hamptons estate agents in Greenwich, said that the peninsula initially became attractive to professionals in the late 1990s when the first flats were built in the area. The first residents of the Millennium Village moved into homes on School Bank Road in December 2000, celebrating with Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Mr Humm said: “In more recent years there has been a significant shift and an improvement in amenities for residents, with new coffee shops, restaurants and bars opening in the area bringing a less transient community. And with the arrival of new and better schools, North Greenwich is now deemed to be an area for families too.”

New restaurants and shops in North Greenwich came as part of the shopping centre in the O2 arena, a feature which Councillor Denise Hyland remembers being called the “white elephant” by doubtful locals. Earlier this month, JD Wetherspoon announced that they would be opening a new pub in the O2 worth £3million, scheduled to open next February.

News Shopper: Jack Gillman in front of Peninsula Square. Credit Joe Coughlan © Provided by News Shopper News Shopper: Jack Gillman in front of Peninsula Square. Credit Joe Coughlan Jack Gillman in front of Peninsula Square. Credit Joe Coughlan

Also included in upcoming plans for the area is Morden Wharf, a huge set of tower blocks up to 36-storeys tall on the peninsula. The proposal includes 1,500 new homes for the area, alongside a new public space including 3.9 acres of greenery and 17,000 square metres of shops.

Other additions from the plans include making the jetty at Morden Wharf public, as well as increasing office space for workers in the area. Mr Humm said: “There is always high demand from professionals given the links to Canary Wharf. However, with the improvements to the area such as the new design district by the O2, we’ve seen a new demographic of buyers.

“North Greenwich has so much to offer now, in comparison to 10 years ago when people new to the area would like the flats and houses, but feel that there wasn’t much to do in the immediate vicinity.”

Jack Gillman, 24, lives a ten minute walk from the O2 arena. He said the area was great for getting into Central London, but had lost some of its community feel with recent newbuilds.

Mr Gillman said: “North Greenwich somewhat lacks soul I would say, especially if you go to more artsy places like Soho. But I guess if an area’s only recently developing, like North Greenwich is, then that’s to be expected.”

News Shopper: The proposed tower block at One Peninsula Square. Picture: Crosstree © Provided by News Shopper News Shopper: The proposed tower block at One Peninsula Square. Picture: Crosstree The proposed tower block at One Peninsula Square. Picture: Crosstree

Matt Hunt, 20, moved to North Greenwich this year. He said the area was convenient for getting around the city, and that he preferred the “quiet” community on the peninsula compared to central London.

Councillor Denise Scott-McDonald said: “I have been a councillor for the area since 2014 and I have seen it grow from strength to strength. I have watched this amazing community flourish. The area has its own, unique identity. It’s a modern, young at heart and forward-looking community with many of its residents living in flats with fantastic views of the river, the ecology park, Canary Wharf or the rest of London.”

Earlier this month, plans for another development in North Greenwich aimed at students, named One Peninsula Square, were revealed by developer Crosstree. The updated plans, originally sent in 2018, include 800 new homes next to the O2 arena.

Aside from adding more shops to the area, the space also boasts good transport links with nearby bus stations and the Tube. Cllr Scott-McDonald praised the bus and Tube options on the peninsula, and said the area’s inclusion in the Expatica list was “exciting” for the town.

Greenwich Council leader Anthony Okereke previously described North Greenwich Tube station as the “game changer” that the area had been waiting for. Comparing the area to the current developments being planned in Woolwich from the new Elizabeth Line, the council leader said infrastructure is the “key thing” to change an area.

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