Tooting overtakes Shoreditch in capital’s cool stakes
Published: Wednesday 13th November 13
Tooting is fast becoming one of London’s hippest districts according to a report in the Evening Standard.
The newspaper reports that hitherto cool places like Shoreditch are losing their sheen and that the smart crowd is now heading south of the river to SW17.
The paper highlights its buzzing bars, restaurants, its burgeoning arts scene, its market and its much loved open air pool the Tooting Bec Lido – Europe’s largest open air freshwater pool.
According to the paper: “It has been dubbed the new Shoreditch” adding: “After years out of the spotlight for SW17, the balance is shifting across the river - and Tooting is absolutely rooting. There’s a great swathe of park and plenty of places to drink, dance and dine.”
The paper continues: “It’s about to get another boost. Chicken Shop, which is part of the Soho House group, opens on Tooting High Street on November 22.
“Founder Nick Jones says: ‘I love south London, having lived in Wandsworth. We had a lot of fun launching Chicken Shop in Kentish Town in 2012 and thought it was time to take it south of the river. South London is a thriving community’.
“So what sort of a place will Chicken Shop nest in? Stylist and blogger Alexandra Stedman says: “Tooting Broadway is mainly independent shops with BYOB restaurants. Housing is affordable. It has the ‘edge’ that Shoreditch now lacks.”
Tooting’s hip reputation is complemented by the growing popularity of its near neighbour Balham which was named earlier this year as the country’s most sought after place to live.
Leading estate agents haart said that more people were trying to buy a home there than anywhere else in England. Its study found there were 46 registered buyers for every property in the SW12 postcode, compared with a London-wide average of 19 and a national figure of eight to one.
Agents said property prices in Balham offered great value for money to buyers, while the growing stature of boutique shops, bars and restaurants in its town centre was also a big pull.
Paul Smith, chief executive of haart said at the time: “Balham may have been derided by Peter Sellers but is now being mooted as a kind of new Notting Hill - the hip south-of-the-river enclave.”
And hot on its heels to reinforce the idea that the Brighter Borough is London’s best came a report from banking group Lloyds TSB which revealed that Wandsworth is the favourite place to live in England and Wales for aspiring young professionals.
Its study found that the borough is hugely popular with people aged 25 to 35 because of its great transport links, close proximity to the West End and the City, its many parks and open spaces and its vibrant mix of Victorian and Edwardian properties as well as its new riverside flats and conversions.
Nitesh Patel a housing economist at the bank said: “Aspiring young professionals are typically well-qualified and in well-paid jobs. They tend to live in areas that are not far from the city centre, but are also places where they can enjoy open green space and a café style environment.”
As well as its great location, excellent transport links and fine open spaces, Wandsworth also boasts some of the best schools in the country – an important draw for young parents or those planning to start a family.
According to education standards watchdog Ofsted, 92 per cent of local schools are good or outstanding. This places Wandsworth in the top eight of high performing local authorities in the country. In comparison on average only 74 per cent of schools in other parts of the country and 80 per cent in London are judged good or outstanding by Ofsted inspectors.
The borough has also charged the country’s lowest average council tax bills for the past 20 years. This year’s Band D bill in Wandsworth is £686 compared to a London average of more than £1,300.
A study of bills over the past 20 years has shown that Wandsworth Band D payers are £10,054 better off over that period than taxpayers in neighbouring Merton, £11,741 better off than Kingston residents and £12,108 better off than their counterparts in Richmond.
The borough also boasts some of the best sports and leisure facilities in London, with its high quality leisure centres boasting the latest gym and fitness equipment and four indoor swimming pools, as well as the Tooting Bec Lido.
The borough also has the lowest crime levels in inner London.
Council leader Ravi Govindia said: “The borough of Wandsworth is a great place to live and the council is absolutely determined to make it even better.
“We have some fantastic shops, bars and restaurants and wonderful green open spaces like Tooting Common and Battersea Park. We also have some amazing local schools, and we are doing lots of work to make our excellent bus, tube and rail links even better than they already are.
“Crime rates are very low, local services are among the best in the country and council tax bills are the lowest in the whole UK. When you bear all this in mind, it’s easy to understand why the Brighter Borough is so popular.”
People are already talking about why they love living in Wandsworth. To find out more about the council’s ambitions to make the borough Britain’s best and to see what other people are saying – visit www.wandsworth.gov.uk/lovewandsworth