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Regeneration: Old Kent Road

Mark Hempshell reports

It is almost impossible to put together a report about the Old Kent Road without mentioning Monopoly. On the board game, the Old Kent Road is an unappealing brown square often overlooked by those preferring to invest in glitzier real estate. While appearing to be good value it is a location that takes a great deal of time and hard work to generate strong rental income from.

When it comes to the real Old Kent Road in south east London, investors and developers will be hoping the situation is very different. There is, however, much investment and hard work being planned for the area and we will take a closer look at what is going on here.

The Old Kent Road Opportunity Area is a 114ha area straddling the A2 road, passing through the London Borough of Southwark. The overall plan for the area is for a 20 year development programme involving a circa £10bn investment, which will provide around 20,000 new homes with around 35% affordable properties and support 10,000 new jobs. Extensive new public amenities including transport, new schools and a completely new town centre area, is also planned.

The Old Kent Road area has already benefitted from some new development and several major proposals. Since 2015, planning permission has been granted for more than 7,000 new homes in the area, including more than 2,000 affordable homes. And yet it might still be described as being ripe for regeneration. It is currently characterised by post-war suburban social housing (with an existing population of around 35,000) and commercial developments. In some ways these suburban developments now appear somewhat ill-suited to an area, which is now on the fringes of central London.

As a development location, the Old Kent Road area certainly has location on its side. It is only 2-3 miles from the City of London. Although transport links could be regarded as already quite good there is a proposal to extend the Bakerloo line of the London Underground to serve the area, which sits between Bermondsey and Peckham, both areas which have enjoyed a degree of upward mobility in recent years.

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