12th May 2012 8:48am | By Editor
The phrase ‘up-and-coming’ has never rung more true for a neighbourhood. And now is the most exciting time to move to this concrete jungle in east London.
There’s a lot going on here at the moment – unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll have heard about the Olympics and all the money being pumped in to regenerate the area (Westfield Stratford City cost £1.4bn alone). There’s obviously going to be a huge buzz around the area this summer, and development is planned to continue in
the years after.
Don’t move here if...
You like your neighbourhood to be pristine – it certainly isn’t right now and building sites dot the centre and Olympic areas.
Shaswat Patel, from Letting International on Romford Road, says Stratford’s becoming a much more attractive place to live.
“We’re finding a lot of people, especially from Europe, are looking to live and work here – Italian, Greek, Spanish, Romanian. It is buzzing at the moment,” he says.
“It used to have a lot more lower-income housing, but with the Olympics coming here and new blocks going up we’re finding a lot more young professionals, in their early twenties to early thirties, moving here, so it’s becoming a bit more chic than it used to be. It’s exciting times.”
Where to hang out
Stratford has its fair share of old-man pubs and bingo halls, but since Westfield Stratford City opened, there are more eating and drinking venues to hang out in. There’s a TGI Friday’s (great cocktails, always chock-full) and a branch of All Star Lanes for if you’re in the mood for some dinner followed by retro bowling.
Boutiques and arty cafes haven’t reached Stratford, but shopping-wise, it’s got everything you need – cheap shops like Wilkinson on the High Street and in the Stratford Centre, and the shiny new shops in Westfield. Pretty handy when you need to grab something in a rush.
It may be Zone 3, but Stratford has it made for transport. From Stratford station, the Central line will take you to central London and the City, and you can link up with the DLR and Overground trains to places like Dalston, Islington, Richmond and Clapham. The DLR also has stops at Stratford International (where the Eurostar stops) and Stratford High Street. But unsurprisingly, the area has been earmarked as a hotspot for delays during the Games.
What can you rent
You can pick and choose according to your budget and taste in Stratford. It’s in demand, but not so much so that rental prices have overtaken the rest of London. Shiny new blocks of flats are up for grabs near Stratford City, overlooking the Olympic Park, and houses, flats in converted period properties as well as ex-council blocks are to be found five to 10 minutes’ walk from Stratford City station and further out.
Lee Lingard, from Movers Property on Romford Street, says: “People want to be in the new Stratford City part. But to find a bargain, you’d have to look at the fringe streets going east towards Forest Gate border, or going north towards Maryland territory.”
What the locals say
“Stratford is busy and prices are going up, but I like it here. I usually go to Stratford Park or West Ham Park to chill out with friends. There should be more clubs, though!” - Natalia Kotowska, Student, 18
“There are a lot of restaurants in Westfield – Indian, Chinese, all types of food. And it’s affordable. The people are friendly here and really helpful.” - Tony Jose, Catering assistant, 27
“With the Olympics coming here, it’s starting to thrive. There’s an old Stratford and a new Stratford. Westfield’s the best place for shopping, restaurants and bars.” - Karina Albert, Sales, 22