'Elizabeth line is pricing locals out of the area' say some living in Thamesmead

·4-min read
Daniel Heley said he thought the Elizabeth line would give Thamesmead a boost (photo: Robert Firth)
Daniel Heley said he thought the Elizabeth line would give Thamesmead a boost (photo: Robert Firth)

Residents of a South London town are split over the newly arrived Elizabeth line as some said it was pricing locals out of the area.

The recently opened Abbey Wood branch of the £18.9bn railway line means families in nearby Thamesmead can reach the business district of Canary Wharf in 20 minutes.

The opening of the new line has also made it easier for residents of this remote area of South East London to get to other parts of the capital.

News Shopper: Thamesmead notoriously served as the backdrop for film adaptation of The Clockwork Orange (photo: Robert Firth)
News Shopper: Thamesmead notoriously served as the backdrop for film adaptation of The Clockwork Orange (photo: Robert Firth)

Thamesmead notoriously served as the backdrop for film adaptation of The Clockwork Orange (photo: Robert Firth)

Thamesmead, which was mainly constructed in stages between the 60s and 80s, previously missed out being connected to the Jubilee Line when it was extended to North Greenwich in the 1990s.

Without transport links to link it to the rest of the capital, Thamesmead has remained best known for its unfavourable appearance in the 1971 film adaptation of Anthony Burgess’s The Clockwork Orange.

The film centres on a gang of youths who terrorise people in a dystopian Britain.

With the arrival of the Elizabeth line, some locals hope that the sprawling town, which straddles the boroughs of Greenwich and Bexley, can finally shrug off its bad reputation.

News Shopper: Thamesmead notoriously served as the backdrop of the film adaptation of The Clockwork Orange (photo: Robert Firth)
News Shopper: Thamesmead notoriously served as the backdrop of the film adaptation of The Clockwork Orange (photo: Robert Firth)

Thamesmead notoriously served as the backdrop of the film adaptation of The Clockwork Orange (photo: Robert Firth)

Daniel Heley, a producer for charity Greenwich Dance, recently moved into new offices, in the recently completed The Nest building overlooking South Mere lake – one of the many waterways Thamesmead was built around.

Mr Heley said he thought the Elizabeth line would give a boost to the area.

The 35-year-old said: “I think the Elizabeth line is going to change the area a lot – it’s on the up. Peabody Housing Association are doing lots of work here and I hope the area will become more accessible to people and that they’ll come and visit.

“We moved from our offices in Charlton in May to here in Thamesmead.

"Most of our work is with the community in Greenwich but I think now we’re here we can start to build links with people in Thamesmead and bring more to the community.”

Mr Heley added that he’d never had a problem getting to Thamesmead from Shooter’s Hill where he lived. But he said some colleagues still found it a struggle to get to the area from where they lived, namely Erith and Lewisham.

News Shopper: Thamesmead notoriously served as the backdrop for film adaptation of The Clockwork Orange (photo: Robert Firth)
News Shopper: Thamesmead notoriously served as the backdrop for film adaptation of The Clockwork Orange (photo: Robert Firth)

Thamesmead notoriously served as the backdrop for film adaptation of The Clockwork Orange (photo: Robert Firth)

Housing Association Peabody is building 3,000 homes in South Thamesmead where Mr Heley works as part of plans to regenerate the area.

This stretch of Thamesmead, which is nearest to Abbey Wood and the Elizabeth line, is at the heart of plans to build 18,500 new homes across Thamesmead.

A half an hour walk north near Thamesmead town centre, a pedestrianised stretch of retail shops that opens out into a large Morrisons, life-long Thamesmead residents Katrina and Jane are less enthusiastic about the Elizabeth line’s arrival.

Katrina and her three children share a cramped three bedroom house with her parents because she can’t afford to rent privately in the area. Katrina, who is also a carer for her dad, said the opening of the Elizabeth line meant rent prices had got even higher.

She said: “I can’t afford to rent so I’m sat at my mum’s and dad’s house with the kids. I’ve not had the opportunity to use the Elizabeth line yet. When I tried they were on strike.

“I can only see us using it when we need to get to the station to go see family in Doncaster.

"I think overall it’s a bad thing. It has dragged the rent prices up.

“If I wanted a place, I’d have to move to Kent or Medway.

"But there are people moving back into London I know who’ve done that because crime is so bad there.”

Jane added: “People like us have lived in Thamesmead all our lives. Why should we have to leave to get a property? I see all the development in South Thamesmead and we’re losing green spaces because of high rises there.

"People want to live there because of the transport connections but it’s not us.”

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