Old Kent Road’s £10bn regeneration: the Monopoly board’s cheapest square set to be transformed with more than 40 new developments
It is the £60 Monopoly board “dud square” at the heart of a £10 billion blossoming of one of London’s most down-at-heel areas.
A study of the Old Kent Road in south-east London has identified more than 40 major planned developments that will transform the two-mile urban stretch between the Bricklayers Arms roundabout and the junction with Ilderton Road over the next decade.
The investment boom is being fuelled by the proposed extension of the Bakerloo line to Lewisham, which would run under the ancient thoroughfare and include two stations on the Old Kent Road when it is completed in 2029.
Other factors include the rapid gentrification of neighbouring districts such as Bermondsey and Peckham, which has created a “spillover effect” as prices and rents are pushed upwards, according to the study from estate agents Kalmar.
- The Old Kent Road follows the route of one of Britain’s oldest roads, a Celtic track that was in use before the settlement that became London even existed.
- It has been the primary link between the capital and the Kent coast since Roman times and became known as Watling Street under the Anglo-Saxons.
- It was immortalised as the first stretch of the Pilgrim’s Way route to Canterbury by Geoffrey Chaucer in The Canterbury Tales.
- The industry that grew up around the Old Kent Road was bombed during the Blitz and many of the damaged streets were replaced with council estates and later retail warehouses.
- Famous landmarks include the former Thomas A Becket pub, best known as the location of the gym used by boxer Sir Henry Cooper. US boxing greats Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier and Sugar Ray Leonard also sparred there.
Chief executive Richard Kalmar said that while “it may be a while before Old Kent Road replaces Mayfair on the Monopoly board” the area has “unrivalled potential”.
The Old Kent Road is best known as the first and cheapest property square — and the only one south of the river — on the original Monopoly board, with a rent of just £2, rising to a maximum of £250 with a hotel.
The report said the 32 most advanced regeneration proposals will provide almost 8,000 homes, nearly 900,000 sq/ft of office and commercial space and 48,000 sq ft of community facilities.
Property prices in the area have more than doubled since 2006 and are approaching £800 per sq ft, according to the report, called “The Transformation of Old Kent Road”.
This puts it on a par with long-gentrified residential areas such as Crouch End and Shepherds Bush. It also drags the residential values of the “brown square” closer to the more expensive “blue squares” of Pentonville Road and Angel, Islington.
Developments in the pipeline include Cantium, Old Kent Road — a five-acre retail park and 1,113 homes including a 48-storey tower, around a square — and Malt Street, a 5.7-acre plan for 1,300 homes, 75,000 sq ft of commercial and retail space and 250-metre linear park.
Johnson Situ, cabinet member for development and planning at Southwark council, said: “We have an ambitious vision for the Old Kent Road; to build on its unique creative character and make it a place where industry can thrive, people can enjoy cleaner, greener open space with better air quality and more sustainable transport options, and we can deliver the social rent and genuinely affordable homes Southwark needs.”