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A future London hotspot to watch

A future hotspot to watch: Hornsey in north London is heating up with thousands of new homes and fast trains to St Pancras

Londoners know Crouch End, the quintessential north London village of artisan cafés and boutiques, and of course Alexandra Palace, the Victorian pleasure park and birthplace of the BBC, which lights up at this time of year with one of the capital’s finest fireworks displays.

But between the two is low-profile Hornsey, a classic Victorian suburb. It offers period homes with potential, while fast commuter links and relative affordability are drawing billions of pounds of investment in thousands of new homes for young professionals and cash-constrained first-time buyers.

If the example of Hornsey’s most recent major development is anything to go by, there is certainly an appetite for homes in N8. St James, an arm of the Berkeley Group, broke ground in 2015 on a derelict industrial site just off Hornsey High Street to build 440 new homes at Smithfield Square, a development featuring a new supermarket and 168 homes aimed at first-time buyers.

The project is almost sold out but there are homes in its final phase, Campsbourne Well, a former Victorian pumping station being turned into six flats. The finishing touches are being put to the conversion of the Grade II-listed property and the homes are on sale with Foxtons, from £525,000 for a one-bedroom flat, and £630,000 for a two-bedroom flat.

Meanwhile, housing association Sanctuary Homes has shared-ownership properties at Smithfield Square, from £108,750 for 25 per cent of a one-bedroom flat and £135,000 for a 25 per cent share of a two-bedroom duplex, in The Quadrangle.


The big beast in Hornsey’s future is the former Clarendon Road Gas Works, a defunct and sprawling National Grid-owned site. House-builder Berkeley Homes is using 12 acres of the site to create an almost self-sufficient new community.

Planning permission was granted in April for more than 1,700 homes linked by a network of courtyard gardens. A third of the homes will be priced with first-time buyers and renters in mind who could otherwise not afford to live in the area.

This is a true mixed development, featuring more than 80,000sq ft of “creative employment space” with room for up to 600 workers, plus restaurants, shops, a nursery and a gym. Work started in August and the first new homes have just gone on sale off-plan at the first phase of the project, Hornsey Park Place. One-bedroom flats are priced from £425,000 and two-bedroom flats from £517,500. Visit

“We expect the entire site to be completed over 10 years,” said a spokesman. “We anticipate first residents to move in late in 2020.”

In the streets surrounding these new homes are fine Edwardian and Victorian houses, many divided into flats. Prices are at their highest at the borders with Crouch End, where you can expect to pay between £550,000 and £600,000 for a two-bedroom flat.


Prices drop dramatically if you set your sights further east, towards Turnpike Lane and Wood Green, where a two-bedroom conversion in the pleasant but slightly less leafy “Harringay Ladder”, a neat grid of period streets, would cost around £450,000 to £500,000.

The area has plenty of green space. The hilly expanse of Alexandra Palace and Park lies just to the north of Hornsey while the New River, an artificial waterway opened in 1613 to supply Londoners with fresh drinking water from the River Lea, runs through the centre of Hornsey. It is possible to walk the river’s adjacent path all the way to Islington.

Londoners have a bad habit of ignoring locations without a Tube, but trains from Hornsey station to St Pancras International take 16 minutes, and you can be at Moorgate in 20 minutes — so it also passes the commuter test. Adjacent Turnpike Lane does have the Tube, with Zone 3 Piccadilly line trains to the West End.

The catch, such as it is, is that Hornsey lacks a heart. Hornsey High Street is not shabby exactly but certainly lacklustre, and Turnpike Lane has really seen better days, although with Crouch End half a mile to the west, the lack of on-the-doorstep café culture and restaurants isn’t a huge hardship.

To the east is Wood Green shopping centre, a drab and slightly threatening post-war precinct. Right now there would be little reason for Hornsey residents to venture there, but for the future there’s a £3.5 billion plan to upgrade the shopping centre, create a new town centre and a whopping 6,400 new homes.

The proposals are in their infancy — earlier this year negotiations with developer Lendlease acrimoniously collapsed — but as and when the plans materialise, buyers who have cottoned on to the charms of Hornsey will be sitting pretty between an archetypal urban village and a modern mecca of shops, bars, and restaurants.


source: ES Homes&Property


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