Offering over 240 hectares of parks and green space, five lakes, and seven kilometres of canals, Thamesmead, south-east London is one of the capital’s most significant regeneration projects. We were invited by Peabody, one of the UK’s oldest and largest housing associations specialising in building high quality, award winning homes and investing in communities, to view their Southmere development, the first major phase in the reimagining of Thamesmead.

The Southmere, Thamesmead vision

We like to think of towns and cities as ‘living organisms’. They take on a life of their own as their communities grow and transform over time. They develop their own unique personality which is often expressed through their inhabitants and their culture. They may begin life as disjointed entities but their ambition and continuous evolution ensures that they are never static.

“This is quite the statement of ambition,” we thought to ourselves, arching our necks backwards to take in the full height of the new buildings in Southmere, itself a brand new housing development in Thamesmead, south-east London.

This is part of a 30-year vision by the Peabody housing association to realise the full potential of Thamesmead, a town known for its suburban housing and brutalist 60s architecture sitting on former marshland on the south bank of the River Thames. This vision includes 20,000 new homes, 100,000 residents, new jobs, and new facilities promoting leisure, learning, culture and community.

Our friendly hosts were excited to share this vision with us as they escorted us into the building to view the different apartment configurations currently available for purchase. Just moments earlier, we had visited the sales office and been amazed by the scale of Peabody’s ambition, represented by a model version of the master plan.

We could live here…really!

Our tour began with a view of Southmere’s one-bedroom apartment which offers a spacious, open-plan living, dining, and kitchen configuration. The kitchens come with contemporary two-tone handle-less furniture, stone effect work surfaces, subtle lighting, generous storage, and white goods.

We moved on to view the two and three-bedroom apartments in Swift Court. These apartments continue the theme of bright and airy spaces with floor-to-ceiling windows bringing in lots of natural light into the open plan living room/kitchen and bedrooms.

The master bedrooms come with en-suite bathrooms and built-in frosted glass wardrobes. The soft carpets and pendant feature lighting present an image of elegance.

Soft-grey marbled ceramic wall and floor tiles complement the white steel bath covered in a panel with a light oak wood effect and the polished chrome heated towel rails. Recessed LED downlights projected a calming ambiance and amplified the natural tones.

We could immediately envision how much fun it would be to let our interior design ambitions roam freely in spaces like these.

As foodies who love to cook and entertain, we were impressed with the generous dining area space in all the apartments. All the apartments enjoy private outdoor space. However, buyers lucky enough to still find units with wrap-around balconies and terraces will enjoy the option of combining indoor and outdoor space in one continuous flow.

Urban lakeside living suitable for flexible and home working and without the Transport for London Zones 1 and 2 price tag is the promise that Southmere offers.

As of the time of writing, first-time buyers can benefit from the government’s Help to Buy scheme to purchase Southmere’s one, two or three-bedroom apartments with a 5% deposit, supported by a government equity loan of up to 40%.

Perfect for first-time buyers, 1, 2 and 3 bed Shared Ownership apartments and 3 and 4 bedroom townhouses will also be launching later this year.

The part-buy part-rent scheme provides eligible buyers the opportunity to purchase a percentage share of their new property rather than the full price upfront, so a much smaller deposit is required.

As we rounded up our tour, I remember wishing that options such as these had been available 10 years earlier when, as a young city worker, I was looking for an affordable apartment within Zone 4, with decent transportation links into London, away from the hustle and bustle of London, but with proximity to retail and leisure options and access to the outdoors and green space.

Community at its beating heart

Southmere’s ambition may be sky high but at its core is the local community.

During our tour, we learned that Peabody understood from the very beginning that in order to build the community of the future, they had to acknowledge, celebrate and elevate the community of today.

Following our tour of the elegant apartments in Swift Court, we wandered around Cygnet Square, a unique space located on the banks of Southmere Lake and specifically designed to become the thriving centre of community life in Southmere.

We were excited to learn that the annual Thamesmead Festival (14th August 2021) would be hosted in green spaces surrounding the square.

The annual Thamesmead Festival is a celebration of local arts and culture. Visitors can expect a thrilling mix of food, live music, storytelling and spoken word, dance, comedy, a carnival procession, and a chance to see colourful murals designed by local artists such as Paige Denham, Keith Hau, and Paul Elliot.

Overlooking Southmere Lake is the Nest Library and Community Centre, with architectural beauty in its design. When completed and commissioned, the library will fit neatly into a tapestry of cultural projects that Peabody supports in collaboration with local organisations such as the Lakeside Centre, radio station RTM.FM and the Thamesmead Arts & Cultural Office.

With its strong focus on elevating local arts and culture in Thamesmead, Southmere presents an exciting opportunity for creatives looking to live and work in an inspiring location.

Thamesmead offers five lakes, seven kilometres of canals, 5 kilometres of river frontage, and aquatic environments. Southmere Lake is being revitalised with new reedbeds, floating islands, and wildlife habitats.

A proposed boating and sailing club will boost the range of outdoor activities and water sports available to the local community.

Live your potential in Southmere

Thamesmead certainly fits our earlier description of a town undergoing evolution thanks to Peabody and their sky high ambition – starting with their first homes at Southmere.

Future amenities in Southmere include independent cafés and restaurants, a pub/distillery, a bakery, a cycle shop, workspaces, and fitness studios. We can only imagine what the area will look like in the near future once fully developed.

To further paint a picture of the potential of Southmere, it offers easy access to London City Airport (10 minutes), Canary Wharf (11 minutes), London Bridge (17 minutes), and Heathrow Airport (51 minutes on the Elizabeth Line – scheduled for completion in 2022) from Abbey Wood Station.

Announcements by the Mayor of London include (tentative) future plans for an extension of the Docklands Light Railway from Gallions Reach to Thamesmead.

Anyone looking to realise their dream of getting on London’s property ladder and fulfilling their work-life balance aspirations will find Southmere a development worth considering.

Buying property at Southmere, Thamesmead – more info

Prices at Southmere begin at £315,000 for a one-bedroom home, £400,000 for a two-bedroom home, and £547,000 for a three-bedroom home. Help to Buy is available on all homes under £600,000. 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments and 3 and 4 bedroom townhouses will also be launching through Shared Ownership in autumn.


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Co-Founders & Curators at HDYTI

Eulanda & Omo Osagiede are London-based freelance writers and award-winning social influencers who run the popular travel, food, and lifestyle blog HDYTI (Hey! Dip your toes in).