Lockdowns, working from home and travel restrictions made home buyers rethink what they really wanted from their living environments last year. From simply needing more space to wanting a more modern home; and everything in between, the ‘renovate or relocate’ quandary is one thousands face every year.
This exact predicament came up for Rob and Claire in 2021, when Claire was made redundant from her role as a Financial Ombudsman. With the property market being so fiercely competitive, the initial reaction was to use the redundancy pay to improve their Victorian conversion in Lewisham.
“As lovers of entertaining, the kitchen was the first room we tackled, but once completed, it quickly became clear that the renovation hadn’t given us the space we wanted. And so, began our property search for a new home for us and our two cats, Nezumy and Inu.”
“We had originally written off new builds as overpriced and undersized, instead centring our search on mid-century houses in areas set to welcome Crossrail. Yet strangely enough, we were coming away from viewings more excited about the new build apartments flats than the period properties. There was something about the idea of lateral living that really appealed” comments Claire.
Rob and Claire put their Lewisham home on the market in August, and in September 2021, they discovered Peabody’s Southmere. One of the first milestones in Peabody’s ambitious regeneration of Thamesmead, a 30-year project which aims to attract 100,000 residents to this south-east London neighbourhood, Southmere will eventually comprise over 500 homes as well a public square with a community library, shops and resident facilities.
Set in a vibrant lakeside setting, with direct access to a concierge service including a resident’s lounge and co-working space and more than double the amount of green space per person than the London average, the appeal of the development is understandable. Offering a unique opportunity to benefit from the capital’s newest transport route, residents can travel on the Elizabeth Line and reach Canary Wharf in just 11 minutes, Liverpool Street in 17 minutes and Tottenham Court Road in 23 minutes. This adds to the existing transport connections which link Abbey Wood to the rest of London.
Speaking about what drew them to Southmere, Rob remarks; “It was love at first sight when we viewed a three-bedroom apartment at Southmere. Being able to move in without having to do any work to it was extremely attractive – particularly given the work we had just done to our cottage in Lewisham. The design is very ‘us’ – full of mid-century influences, large dual aspect windows with a big sliding door out onto the balcony and lots of storage. It’s well set up with a very considered design, to be expected in a new build property, every square foot is useable, unlike the nooks and cranny’s associated with period properties and the open plan lay out is perfect for entertaining.”
Peabody has a reputation for designing inclusive neighbourhoods that support wellbeing, and these new properties are no different. With 568 acres of parks, 7km of canals, 5 lakes, 5km of river frontage and 30,000 trees on your doorstep, Rob continues “It’s London, but not London. The Thamesmead location was a huge draw. We knew we wanted to be on Crossrail, but we couldn’t believe that we could be on Crossrail, shave off two thirds of the time we spend commuting each day, and live by a lake, with horses in the neighbouring field. It’s very different to Lewisham!”-
Rob and Claire were keen to move somewhere with a sense of community and culture, providing a connection with their new neighbours.
“It’s not just the property and the location though that we love. I grew up on a now demolished council estate in Deptford where everyone was made to move out. But Peabody are giving former residents of Thamesmead the option to stay and to live in a new build home. I think it is so important that people can stay in the area they have grown up in to not lose the essence and culture associated with it. There’s a real sense of community here. We’re really looking forward to seeing how the community develops as time goes on,” notes Claire.
“We’ve already met a fair number of our neighbours; we’ve created a WhatsApp chat with the other residents on our floor and are planning on hosting everyone for welcome drinks one evening soon. Omicron delayed our original plans for a Christmas drinks party, but it’s so nice to be able to get together now, and so easily too!”
To find your place visit https://www.peabodysales.co.uk/developments/southmere/