Love Lewisham?

A BC reader wants to know whether she should make the move to Lewisham:

After 15 happy years it's finally happened - I've been priced out of my beloved Brockley. Needing to leave our current flat by April, due to the landlord's circumstances, I have just put down a deposit on a rental flat on Albion Way in central Lewisham. Local letting agents have simply had nothing available for our modest budget of 950pcm. So it's off to pastures new! 

The problem is now I can't stop thinking about security - the flat in Lewisham is ground floor with side access to a small back garden and overlooked only by a car park (the one behind the Salvation Army). Whilst I've spent many happy Saturday mornings trundling round the market, I've never spent much time after dark in Lewisham and have the impression it's a pretty desolate stretch. 

I'm concerned about me and my partner walking home at night - we're both female, late 20s - and the probability of mugged or burgled is pretty high, going by recent post code crime stats. I know this can happen anywhere and we're both very savvy, but I can't help approaching this new flat with trepidation as a result - it's slap bang in the town centre and, as I said, pretty exposed. What are your thoughts readers? Am I making a bad decision here do you think? Would you live there? 

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't live in Lewisham if it was free!

Saarf London Bird said...

My daughter (soon to be 18). regularly walks from Lee through Lewisham to home when she's been out with friends, usually at silly o'clock. Never had any trouble. Brockley isn't that far from Lewisham and with the spate of stabbings and gun crime around here, I don't believe you'll be worse off in Lewisham. Crime will always find a victim. Just be streetwise and don't walk home swinging your smartphone for all to see.

mp said...

nunhead is still cheap

Anonymous said...

I don't think it's much worse than Brockley really (not that anyone on here will share that view).

Just be sensible - don't get your phone out where people can see it, dont listen to music, stay on the light side of the street, dont get drunk and walk home on your own etc. (the same rules I'd follow in any part of any city) and you'll at least be reducing the risks.

Almost Catford-er said...

Having not lived in Lewisham I can't comment...but having fairly recently moved from Brockley conservation area to the cheap edge that is almost Catford, I can say that I feel fine walking home here, both from the Crofton Park side and the Catford side, and suggest maybe that you consider a move in this direction? Nice parks, and the amenities of Crofton Park nearby, just a bit more of a walk along to old haunts and friends - but a lot cheaper...

Anonymous said...

Thanks people - those are helpful comments so far!

My main concern, as I said, is that it is ground floor with easy access to the rear where the bedroom's located (it has patio doors). I've asked the agents to make some modest security amendments (e.g. a letter box guard, maybe an external light) but they're yet to confirm if they will.

Our downstairs neighbour on Wickham Road has been burgled twice mid-afternoon of late so I know that it's more or less just (bad) luck of the draw, and we both certainly do take all the personal safety measures you suggest here in Brockley - as we would anywhere. I just don't want to feel nervous at night coming to or from home - and especially not when I'm in it!

I'm probably also just anxious about leaving the area as it's been my chosen home all my adult life and I love it... But it's not like Lewisham's far!

Almost Catford-er said...

That's a difficult one...while part of me thinks you are right to be aware that your discomfort is just a result of the planned move from your comfort zone, another part thinks that if your instinct is shouting 'no!' about this particular property, you should perhaps listen to it...

Mondee said...

First anon, if you live in Brockley then you do live in Lewisham. Sorry to break it to you.
Yes, there are parts of Lewisham that are less salubrious than others.
Is there not anything available on the other side of Hillyfields, so SE13 but more Ladywell than Lewisham central? Or Ladywell itself? There's a 2-bed flat on Malyons Rd in Ladywell on for £950, and one on St Margaret's Rd in Brockley for £1000 pcm.
That said, I don't think Lewisham is as bad as people make out. And you are very close to the station, so you don't have far to walk - and if the flat is slap bang in the town centre, your walk home will presumably be (or can be) along main well-lit streets? It sounds very convenient.

Mondee said...

I would get an alarm box. Statistically, burglars don't bother with houses they think are - or might be - alarmed. There are plenty to choose from that don't have alarms so no point taking the risk. It doesn't have to be a real alarm - even our alarm company told us, while they were installing our alarm, that a fake box can be just as effective!

burglar bill said...

Thanks for the tips mate - I'll be round after dark

Anonymous said...

Again, thanks.

Mondee, if you're aware of a flat in Malyons Rd for 950 and wouldn't mind sharing the link that'd be helpful - we've certainly seen nothing at that price and that really is as high as we can go. The problem (for us!) is that people aren't moving - due to price increases it's best to stay put and we're not able to do that through no fault of our own. There are very few available properties.

I am well aware I live in the Borough of Lewisham :-) But the town centre, being primarily commercial rather than residential, is pretty quiet at night and a bit of a different kettle of fish. The Met's crime mapping engine (make of it what you will) shows the post code that we're heading to as having the highest incidence of residential burglary, violence against the person, and other pretty serious crimes in the Borough.

Almost Catford-er your commments are spot on and I think we ought to resume our search!

Thank you all - it's great to be able to access feedback and advice from people other than friends/family etc.

Lady in the Well said...

Follow your instincts, seems like you are uncomfortable with the security of this particular property so don't do it or you'll never sleep at night.

Lady in the Well said...

There's one in Francemary Road, Ladywell (SE4) for £900pm which is a very nice street.

Also a newly refurbished 2 bed/2 bath flat on Ladywell Road for £196pw

Anonymous said...

I found my flat in Brockley through the Greenwich Branch of Meridian Estates - they were the only letting agents I found that didn't charge for a ridiculous amount of excess stuff (extortionate reference fees, moving in fee etc). Def worth calling them though as their website is rubbish!

190 Trafalgar Road
London SE10 9TZ
020-8858 5628

fong said...

If you call the safer neighbuorhoods team they can come round and do an inpection on how burgular-safe your place is, making any necessary changes (more secure locks, a chain, a chubb, a London Bar for the door frame). They normally only do this for places which have been burgled, but if you say you are really worried then they're normally amenable. I imagine you'd have to check with your landlord if you wanted to make any changes to the property.

Mondee said...

Sorry anon who started this thread, I wasn't referring to you when I pointed out that Brockley is in Lewisham but to the first commentator, who said they wouldn't live in Lewisham if it was free...
Re Malyons Rd, I just did a quick rightmove search to see if there was anything closer within your budget and came up with it - don't know anything about it apart from what you can see here:
http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-to-rent/property-33458020.html
It's top floor so no security worries there.
If you're prepared to head a little further out, it looked like there were a couple of places in Hither Green as well, e.g.:
http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-to-rent/property-33458020.html
although admittedly £25 over budget.
PS sorry, I never did learn how to do links.

Anonymous said...

Thank you! Lots of wise words and helpful hints there!

I've enquired about all the properties mentioned and, quelle surprise, they're already let - this is the case about 99% of the time (agents are always telling me it takes 48 hours to update their postings, fair enough, but it makes searching so much more laborious when so few of the advertised properties actually remain available).

I have nothing whatsoever against central Lewisham(I can spend a disproportionate amount of my weekend perusing vegetables there...) but I've decided it really isn't wise to go ahead and move into a property I have such a bad feeling about. As my mam just told me: be honest with yourself for once (haha, steady on ma!!)

The search shall continue. Thanks again everyone for your sound input.

Mondee said...

Yes, my brother had that problem when he was looking to rent around here (I'm sure it's the same everywhere). You have to hound the estate agents, basically, ringing them every day so that you are at the top of their list of people to call when a new property comes onto their books.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that people who can pay a rent are priced out of Brockley by people who get the house on benefits.

Yes because £400 a week is really above what the average Londoner can afford, buy below the limit of what the Council can provide to people that chose not to work.

So perfectly good houses are used for hostels in zone 2, while families have to move out.

Crofton Park Ranger said...

A decent size/condition one bed flat in Crofton Park might go for £850 PCM (I considered converting my property to buy to let)... but whether anything is being advertised right now is another question.

I reckon there may be some more properties coming on to the market after the olympics...

Anonymous said...

Have you tried classified adds,websites,friends,facebook etc rather than just estate agents?

Machoman said...

I used to answer similar questions to women who wanted to move to Kilburn; which had a reputation. They angsted over this with West Hampstead, a much more sedate offer altogether.

In fact my advice was always 'Kilburn'.

Why?

If a woman got into trouble late at night in West Hampstead, the sedate community would pass right by . In Kilburn, which was much more in your face, with men who could 'do the biz' in your face, a woman in trouble was NEVER ignored.

I suspect 'Lewisham' - which Brockley is in by the way - is no different.

Miss L said...

I think ground floor properties everywhere are vulnerable to burglaries. I've certainly heard of many in Brockley, and in some way the more quiet residential streets of Brockley seem like a more likely target anyway, especially at the backs of houses when it's quiet.

I've lived in various addresses in New Cross, Deptford and now in SE13 a couple of streets away from SE4. When out late, I always carry a rape alarm and my keys, and try to walk quickly. I feel slightly vulnerable but not more than I would anywhere. If it's really late or I feel worried for any reason, I'll get a cab from Lewisham station.

karensouthoftheriver said...

I live in this area (slaithwaite road) and feel safe coming home at night. As the area is sandwiched between lee high road and lewisham high st the roads as fairly quiet in a good way ( not too through traffic). However lee high road and the high st are busy late into the night with lots of buses, a fair number of shops food places and a couple of pubs . This means that there a lots of people round fairly late,

NAT said...

Good point Machoman.

The paralell between W. Hampstead/Brockley and Kilburn/Lewisham is neat.

16" East said...

Glad to hear you are pulling out of that flat. Right decision in my opinion, you will not regret it.

Ps. I have a 2 bedroom house in Charlton I can offer you for £950-1000pcm, safe and quiet cul-de-sac with residents only parking. 4 mins walk to co-op, 7 mins walk to station. Zone 3, and superb rail service with 8 trains per hour, short hop on direct buses to North Greenwich Tube, Blackheath and Greenwich. Tenants vacate in a couple of weeks. Sorry, no direct buses to Brockley though..

Anonymous said...

Just don't get your iPhone out, ever

NAT said...

Wishing you both the best of moves to Lewisham.

Come back to here in three months and tell us how its been great. Hey?

Anonymous said...

There's a million pound family home in the centre of Lewisham.

Brockley Central Estate Agency said...

I have a friend who will shortly be moving out of a nice first floor flat in Croftongate Way behind the Rivoli. I think he pays £825 or £850 and its a very friendly block of 4 flats.

I can get the landlady's details if you are interested. I'm sure she'd be happy to rent it out quickly...

Brockley Central Flat-Hunter said...

I'd be interested to have the Landlady's details for the Croftongate Way flat. I'm a well house-trained tenant with all the requisite references and table manners looking for a friendly block.

Anonymous said...

@Brockley Central Estate Agency:

I'm the original Anon. poster. Yes, that sounds definitely worth a shot - thank you.

If you could get the landlady's details and email them to me that would be great.

lshchevalier@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

If not too late to comment we don't live too far from there and walking around at night it seems fine albeit quiet, though getting better all the time!

The police station is also not far which adds to some sense of security.

snazzyjack said...

I came from Lewisham, and I can tell you, it's a lot safer than Brockley. Brockley has a lot of hidden organised drug related crime, and I'm hoping to move back to Lewisham.

Le Roi said...

Brockley, Lewisham its all the same thing really... when I was growing up there in the 90s it was the other way around, Brockley was considered 'cracktown' and Lewisham was seen as more well to do

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