Buying a home at London City Island: super-connected ‘mini Manhattan’ has shared ownership flats for first-time buyers
As the River Lea meanders towards the Thames, just west of the Royal Docks, an isolated and long-uninhabited swathe of land is rapidly being transformed into a modern mini city with 1,700 homes packed on a 12-acre site almost completely surrounded by water.
London City Island is a £2.2 billion project to reinvent the Leamouth Peninsula in E14, and its first residents moved in back in 2016.
By the time it is completed later this year the densely packed site, known as a “mini Manhattan”, will also have shops, residents facilities including an outdoor pool, social club, rooftop sports pitch, deli bar, plus new homes for English National Ballet and its School, and London Film School.
Access from the peninsula to the “mainland” is via a new bridge linking City Island to Canning Town station.
With its Zone 2 Jubilee line, Docklands Light Railway, and — eventually — Crossrail services, trips to Canary Wharf and central London are fast and easy.
Culture’s in the mix: English National Ballet’s new home is at London City Island, E14
New homes at London City Island, an EcoWorld Ballymore development, are a comfortable 25 per cent cheaper than those at Canary Wharf, which is just two miles and two Tube stops away.
However, one-bedroom flats still cost up to £565,000 in this newly minted London neighbourhood, firmly out of reach of most first-time buyers — until now.
Homes within budget
Housing association Notting Hill Genesis has a collection of shared-ownership homes at the site with prices starting from just over £100,000 and open to anyone who lives or works in the capital.
Jim Munson, head of marketing at Notting Hill Genesis, says it has been “really exciting” to be a part of development that has transformed “a disused patch of land by the water into a thriving new community set against a backdrop of colourful, distinct architecture, superb leisure amenities and excellent cultural and transport hubs”.
He adds: “Our apartments there will offer home buyers a truly great place to live in and enjoy.”
One-bedroom flats start at £110,000 for a 25 per cent share of a home with a full value of £440,000. Buyers will need a minimum deposit of £11,000 and monthly costs will include rent at £756, mortgage repayments of about £490 and £232 service charge.
Two-bedroom flats start at £140,000 for a 25 per cent share. The minimum deposit is £14,000, and monthly costs come in at almost £2,000, including £963 rent, £623 mortgage repayments and service charge at £350.
Although this area is very much under construction, London City Island is handy for Trinity Buoy Wharf — London’s original “container city”, a fascinating mash-up of artists’ studios, small creative companies and cafés — and for the emerging Greenwich Peninsula.
EcoWorld Ballymore is also working on a second project on the south side of the Leamouth Peninsula named Goodluck Hope which will add some 800 more homes plus a primary school to the mix.
Goodluck Hope also features a microbrewery, and there are plans for a new Thames Clipper service giving all residents of the peninsula, once a busy section of the London Docks, a suitably nautical way to get to Canary Wharf or London Bridge.
A brief history of the Leamouth peninsula
Changing face: Leamouth Peninsula was slums, then a veg oil refinery (Getty Images)
As far back as the 13th century records show the peninsula being used as a dock but by the 18th century it was clearly home to a community of dock workers, though life on the peninsula would have been very tough.
In the 19th century it was the scene of some of the capital’s most notorious slums, described in a survey of London as being occupied by “rough, very poor people, living in overcrowded conditions”.
The peninsula was so cut-off and isolated that there were also rumours of incest and inbreeding. Eventually, after the First World War, it was decided that something must be done about the place.
Most of the island’s homes, factories and warehouses were pulled down as part of a slum clearance programme, and its 300 residents were relocated.
The land was then used as a vegetable oil refinery until the site was sold for complete redevelopment.