Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Suburbia Need Not Be a Style-Free Zone; Boris and Bromley Lead the Way to a Better Suburbia, Reports David Spittles

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Suburbia Need Not Be a Style-Free Zone; Boris and Bromley Lead the Way to a Better Suburbia, Reports David Spittles

Article excerpt

Byline: reports David Spittles

SUBURBIA is attracting styleconscious bargain hunters, priced out of inner London and seeking interesting regeneration projects with eco-friendly architecture, good design and low running costs.

Property values in many edge-of-London locations are now within reach of first-time and struggling buyers seeking cheaper sharedownership options.

Mayor Boris Johnson has pledged a better deal for London's "neglected suburbs" after years of investment focused on the inner city. His Outer London Commission has a brief to promote growth industries such as green technology.

So is the future looking good for suburbia, once dismissed as a place for middle-class families to settle down in -- and not much else? Last month, the Mayor's commission visited Bromley to launch a [pounds sterling]50 million fund for the revamp of suburban town centres.

Bromley South Central is one such project, a collaboration between the council and regeneration specialist Cathedral Group. The mixed-use scheme, moments from the train station, will be set around a new public piazza and include 173 full-priced and affordable apartments, a hotel and a nine-screen cinema. Completion is due next year. To register for the homes, call 020 7939 0800.

Bromley is London's largest borough -- 59 square miles, most of which is green belt running into Kent and Surrey, with 17-minute train links to central London, making it popular with well-heeled career professionals. But there are also lots of young singles, couples and families desperate to get on to the property ladder.

More than 800 new homes at Bromley Common aim to fill this housing gap.

The land -- some 34 acres -- used to be mainly sports fields owned by cement company Blue Circle and includes much-loved allotments, a sensitive local issue. …

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