Gravesend, crossrail and london resort at swanscombe

David Lawrenson of LettingFocus explains why he is investing in Gravesend and Northfleet ahead of the London Resort Holdings opening and the extension of the Crossrail (Elizabeth Line).

Gravesend, Crossrail and London Resort At Swanscombe

One of the main ways I outperformed in making money in residential buy to let property was by simply buying into areas that were going to see positive change ahead of that positive change occurring.

And then just sit back and wait for the change to come – and for property prices and rents to get a boost.

Usually, this has involved buying into areas where major new transport improvements were coming.

I always think it is best to wait until all the planning hurdles have been approved and the diggers are really moving in.

We have done this successfully in Bermondsey, Brockley and Lewisham – which were all, luckily, places that were close to home anyway.

These areas benefited from the extension of the Jubilee and the old East London (now TFL) “tube” lines and the Docklands Light Railways extension respectively.

We make money in other ways, of course – by buying the right type of properties in these areas, looking after our properties well and very carefully choosing the right tenants and looking after them well, charging them a fair rent.

But buying into areas due for a transport boost is really neat though, because unlike some of the other stuff, it does not actually involve doing any real work – it is a classic of what economists call a “positive externality”. You benefit financially from something else happening initiated by someone else!

And anyone can do it. Just google what transport or other regeneration improvements are coming up within an hour of where you live and then buy into that area. Simple!

Over more recent years we have bought into Gravesend and Northfleet as we hope to get a boost from the London Resort Holdings development – the largest leisure theme park to be built in Europe since the Disney monstrosity in Paris.

The London Resort will be about 5 miles away from where we have bought property, on the Swanscombe Peninsula (a sliver of land sticking out into the Thames). Swanscombe is far enough from Gravesend to be away from the excess traffic, but close enough to benefit from the enormous number of jobs to come during construction and after, once it is built.

Also, I expect that pressure will surely come to extend the Crossrail (Elizabeth Line) out to nearby Ebbsfleet, which is just 4 miles from Gravesend town centre to hook up with existing high speed links to Paris and Brussels (HS1) at that station.

Gravesend, Crossrail and London Resort At Swanscombe – Projects Await Go Ahead

I have to say that my move into Gravesend and Northfleet is a bit more of a risk, because neither project has actually been given formal go ahead yet, though the London Resort Holdings is as “good a shoe in” as you can expect to get. The project has just a few planning hurdles to clear, with some optimists expecting it could be up and running as early as 2024.

And the extension of Crossrail to Ebbsfleet, near Gravesend / Northfleet looks just plain logical. The rest of the line goes out into deepest Berkshire to the west and far into Essex to the north east, but inexplicably stops at Abbey Wood in SE London. It does not even make it into Kent proper!

Extending it about 8 miles further east on existing train lines and joining it up with the fast links from St Pancras to Brussels and Paris just looks logical.

Of course, both projects could become victim of the so called “pandemic” (is something that kills just 1 in 2,500 mostly old and v sick people still classed “a pandemic”?) and the associated CoronaPanic.

Projects could be cut due to lack of cash. It might be deemed that no theme park will ever open again anywhere in the world.

In the frightening new world of the “New Abnormal”, people may not scrunch up and scream together on scary theme park rides ever again, so no need to build a new one. And people may never travel on trains much, so no need for a new train line either.

I guess these risks exist.

I hope they don’t come to pass.

But even if they do, Gravesend and Northfleet are well underpinned for growth anyway – and the local economy looks sound.

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4 comments

  • Would you not prefer Crossrail to be extended to Gravesend instead? It can be done and would provide excellent connections for Medway and Maidstone commuters. Furthermore, it would then present a long term opportunity for extending further east. Or is George Osborne’s toy garden city more important?

    • Yes, I would – and I actually think it would happen, once you make the case for Ebbsfleet, then Gravesend only another 3 miles

      • Ok, well that’s good to hear – although the current promoted arrangement published by C2E – which used to be C2G!, would have the Ebbsfleet Crossrail station sited south of the international building, thus preventing the new line extending further eastwards. That is barmy, unacceptable and shortsighted. By now Gravesham Council should have “grown a pair” and demanded that any station serving Ebbsfleet must be sited in the vicinity of the current Northfleet station, to safeguard a future extension to Gravesend. Much has been said about the huge population growth of EGC – which just a few years ago, stood at just a couple of hundred. However, let’s be quite clear that by the time Ebbsfleet reaches it’s 60k population, Gravesend would have in excess of 100k. The Lower Thames Crossing and London Resort are likely to exacerbate those figures going forward.
        There will also be questions regarding existing services between Dartford and Gravesend, should Crossrail not get to the town.

        The idea that Stone Crossing, Swanscombe and Northfleet, could ever retain their existing services in addition to Crossrail serving the former two, and Ebbsfleet serving the latter, is for the birds.

        The commuters of Gravesend and Medway – a huge growth area in it’s own right, will not take kindly to service reductions along the North Kent line because of a new line that won’t even serve either.
        In truth, Gravesend needs a second station to the east, in order to facilitate inevitable and substantial part low density and part critical mass residential and business growth developments in North and East Gravesend/Gravesham.
        The focus for Gravesham BC and KCC should be on this – with longterm strategic rail planning, for Gravesend/Gravesham, rather than wrongfully (in my view), believing that a garden city to the west of Gravesend (2.5 miles) somehow resolves north Kent’s public transport problems – it doesn’t.

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