Halfway between Shoreditch and Croydon, Brockley is perfectly placed to be the next up-and-coming corner of growingly desirable South East London.
Locals and officials agree that the mix of low prices, open spaces and community atmosphere make it unlike anywhere else in South East London, and people new to the area are discovering Brockley’s charms.
Brockley local councillor Darren Johnson has noticed that, in spite of the recession, the area has seen “a real explosion in great local businesses.”
He added that Brockley has “a great social mix that makes for a really lively community, combined with some great housing at more affordable levels than they would be north of the river, as well as beautiful parks.”
In recent years the area has seen a rise in alternative and innovative shops and restaurants that further enhance its uniqueness.
Coffee shops like The Broca and Browns of Brockley indulge the early-morning commuters, while restaurants like The Orchard and The Toad’s Mouth Too offer more sophisticated fare, and The Brockley Mess’s quirky combination of an art gallery and a café appeals to more creative residents.
Brockley Market is also a hidden jewel of East London. With growing crowds each Saturday, the market is home to all sorts of stalls and customers from all walks of life.
Margaret Rose, owner of the eclectic shop Magi Gifts, has lived in Brockley for 13 years and enjoys the community feel in the area, saying: “It’s a really lovely place to live, with lots of green spaces and a nice mix of people around.” She has found that customers in the shop show the diversity of the area, with a number of students, but also “lots of kids and up to 60-year-olds.”
One of the most enticing aspects of Brockley is undeniably the affordable housing, although prices are increasing as interest in the area picks up. According to Home.co.uk average detached house prices have seen a massive increase of 57% since 2006, while terraced houses gone up by 46%.
Sukh Kallar, of Cannon Kallar estate agents, has noticed a recent peak in interest in Brockley properties, saying the area is “becoming more desirable to a different class of people, who realise you can get more for your pound here.” He believes the wide spectrum of properties available mean there is “something for everyone” in Brockley.
Alan Jones, of Pavilion Property Services, agreed that while newcomers like the community feel and the small local shops, the most desirable aspect of the area remains property prices in relation to its proximity to central London. “Only being 10 minutes away and in Zone 2 and remaining relatively affordable is seeing the area have continued growth,” he said.
Brockley is also known to residents as one of the safer areas in East London. Chris Peterson, a student who has lived there for 2 years, said he feels safe at any hour. “Everyone’s looking out for one another,” he said.
Gabbie Baylon, a single mother, says she will feel comfortable bringing up her child in Brockley, saying: “There’s access to schools and transport, and a really great community atmosphere.”
For all these reasons and more, Brockley is establishing itself in the East London area. If prices continue to rise, however, there is a risk that, much like other areas in South East London, it will become less accessible to the people who make it special. If this happens, says councillor Johnson: “We start to lose the social and cultural mix that has made Brockley such a vibrant place to live.”
Whether it’s the house prices, the parks, the coffee shops, or the location, Brockley is slowly becoming one of the more coveted areas on the East London Line, so keep your eye on it!