THE opening of the landmark Bankside train station, the first new station on the South Bank of the Thames for 120 years, is yet another reason why homebuyers are clamouring to live in the SE1 postcode -- now a thriving cultural centre that includes Tate Modern and Shakespeare's Globe theatre. Bankside station will be linked to a rebuilt Blackfriars station on the north bank via a striking glazed concourse and platforms with a solar cell canopy.
As part of the busy Thameslink route from Brighton to Bedford, the new station allows for a trebling of the number of trains per hour and provides commuters with better connections to places such as Wimbledon and Sevenoaks.
But the biggest impact will be on the local property market. "It's another regeneration catalyst in an area that has been on fire since the opening of Tate Modern a decade ago," says James Hyman of estate agent Cluttons.
The area is not only a cultural and tourist destination, it is an expanding residential neighbourhood and increasingly a place for office workers, especially those in media and finance. Knight Frank now includes South Bank in its prime central London index, the first time an area south of the Thames has been covered.
Previously, the index monitored only the established desirable districts of Chelsea, Kensington, Knightsbridge, Notting Hill and St John's Wood.
JUMP ON THE BANDWAGON Would-be buyers have not missed the boat. Typically, homes along this stretch of the Thames range between Pounds 800 and Pounds 1,300 a sq ft, which estate agents say is good value for such a buzzing riverside neighbourhood close to all the action (Bankside to the Bank of England is a leisurely 15-minute walk).
Back from the river, there are cheaper pockets set to rise in value, notably the triangle formed by Waterloo, London Bridge and Elephant & Castle, where homes cost Pounds 500-Pounds 700 a sq ft.
Southwark council is planning a wider renaissance to encourage the 30 million people who visit the riverside strip each year to venture into this promising hinterland.
Part of the area's charm is its urban residential mix: swish riverside flats, handsome Victorian terraces, charitable and church housing, factory and warehouse lofts, live-work units for creatives, well cared-for public housing and niche private developments.
Blackfriars Road, a wide boulevardstyle thoroughfare running from the Thames to St George's Circus, has been singled out as a key development zone and is poised for major change.
"This is where the next wave of regeneration will be," says Southwark's Dan Taylor. The aim is to replace outmoded Sixties office blocks with …