Much of central London’s zone 1 area now commands premium prices. Mayfair, Belgravia, Knightsbridge and Kensington are seen as havens for international cash, pricing local buyers out of the market and forcing them to look elsewhere for family homes and easy commutes. One area reaping the benefit is Shepherd’s Bush.
The west London suburb is sandwiched between smarter neighbourhoods: Holland Park and Notting Hill to the east, and Chiswick to the west. To the south is Hammersmith, while Wormwood Scrubs Park and the railway depot area of Old Oak Common, earmarked for development as a major transport hub with both High Speed railway and London Crossrail connections, lie to its north.
Shepherd’s Bush has come a long way from its days as the setting for the 1960s TV sitcom Steptoe and Son, about two rag-and-bone men. Back then, the area was the birthplace of rock band The Who. As a child, singer Roger Daltrey lived in Percy Road, a terrace of Victorian houses, and he played early gigs with The Who in local venues. Jack Lyons, co-author of The Who Concert File, describes the band’s last appearance at the Goldhawk Road Social Club in 1965, where he witnessed “a small army of mods trying to kick some guy across the Goldhawk dance floor”.
How times change. Estate agents cite the £1.7bn Westfield shopping centre, which opened in October 2008, as a significant part of recent regeneration. Spread over 43 acres, the mall has more than 300 shops, a cinema and 60 bars and restaurants. Westfield invested £170m in transport and the results include a new slip road from the A40 Westway, a revamped Central line Tube station and a new London Overground station, with links to the national rail network. In spring 2012, Westfield received planning permission for a £1bn expansion to the mall. The plans propose 1,522 new homes and 500,000 sq ft of retail space.
On the other side of Shepherd’s Bush Green, the second Underground station has been renamed Shepherd’s Bush Market. The multicultural market, comprising stalls and shops nestled in the railway arches between Goldhawk Road and the Uxbridge Road, is targeted for redevelopment. The £200m mixed-use scheme, which received planning permission in March last year, promises 212 residential units as well as more than 6,000 sq metres of retail space. Controversially, Orion Shepherd’s Bush Limited plans to demolish some two-storey Victorian shops on Goldhawk Road.
There are further examples of investment in the area. Work has begun on a £50m project to turn a Grade II-listed former cinema building, the Pavilion, into a four-star, 322-room hotel. Dorsett Hospitality International plans to open in December.
One four-bedroom house in Pennard Road charts the changes in the area. “I first sold this in 1992 for just under £100,000 completely un-modernised,” says Carl Burgess of estate agency Winkworth. “We then sold it at the beginning of 2002, done up, for £480,000 and then again this year for over the asking price of £1.1m. We would now get even more for this house.”
“Starch Green, on the western edge of Shepherd’s Bush, is possibly the best area,” says Robert Barr of agency Kerr and Co. “Larger semi-detached family houses with bigger gardens make this the sought-after area. However, the terraced streets of Boscombe Road, Findon Road and the north end of Percy Road provide generous houses with smaller gardens but a shorter walking distance to the Tube.” Kerr and Co is selling a three-bedroom house near Starch Green, including planning permission to add 900 sq ft, for £1.925m.
Flats in Shepherd’s Bush range from £200,000 for a studio to £800,000 for a large three-bedroom property. Houses fetch £450,000-£900,000 for a two-bedroom, and from £750,000 to around £2m for larger properties.
Lime Grove Mews, a new-build gated community of 49 apartments and 20 houses developed by St James, has almost completely sold off plan, although two four-bedroom houses remain available at £1.6m and £1.75m. Other similarly-sized developments are at various stages of planning. The Goldhawk Road Industrial estate, which has permission for 24 townhouses, 33 apartments and 16,000 sq ft of commercial space, is due to be completed by One Housing Group in 2014.
Will these new developments change the character of Shepherd’s Bush? “What’s interesting about the area is that it still retains a little bit of its edge, even through all the years since [its 1960s heyday],” says Barr, although he mourns the passing of the Bushranger pub which closed a few years ago: “It was a proper pub, with sawdust on the floor.”
● Hammersmith & Fulham residents have the third-lowest council tax bills in the country
● The borough has a higher proportion of young adults aged 25-39 (36 per cent) than the rest of London and the country as a whole
● A resident’s parking permit costs £119 a year
● In February 2013 there were 1,538 crimes in the borough with a rate of 9.31 per 1,000 of the population
● Asking prices have increased 2 per cent since the final quarter of 2011, according to Hamptons International
What you can buy for …
£500,000: A two-bedroom garden flat
£1m: A four-bedroom house, perhaps compromised by a small garden or the need for modernisation