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Living in West Norwood vs West Dulwich


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#1 urpert

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Posted 03 September 2007 - 02:14 PM

Afternoon all,

We used to live in a tiny but delightful 1 bed flat at the Gipsy Hill end of Clive Road. We moved away to distant Kent a couple of years ago, but miss our friends and the South London lifestyle (!) so want to come back. Funnily enough, property prices have gone up a bit while we've been away. Although we really like West Dulwich, it's at the very limit of what we can afford, so we're also looking at what seem like very nice roads in West Norwood (Selsdon Rd, Thornlaw Rd etc). But we know West Norwood well, and we're aware the high st is still on the grim side and there isn't much to do in terms of eating/drinking out. That probably isn't a problem (The Mansion and the White Hart have both opened since we've been away, and bussing to either isn't really a hardship). But what is West Norwood really like to live in? Would we be uncomfortable walking back from the station/bus stops at night? :ph34r: It's really hard to know without trying it, but we don't want to make a mistake and constantly regret not buying something more expensive in the area we know.

I'd be really interested to hear your comments. We've been back very regularly since moving away (and I still lurk on here), so we are pretty up to date with most of the changes in the area, but I'd particularly like to hear what West Norwooders feel about the place.

#2 HeadGardener

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Posted 04 September 2007 - 09:25 AM

I've lived in West Norwood, in a road very close to those you mention, for more than a decade.

It's undeniable that West Norwood is not as gentrified as West Dulwich and doesn't have the same cachet. That may be why people in the parts of WN nearest to Dulwich often like to include the D word in their address!

It's true too that Norwood Road/Norwood High Street are lacking in nice places to eat and drink, although during the day there are some nice cafes - such as O Girasol, the newest arrival - to have lunch. West Dulwich has very few shops so wherever you lived, I guess you'd quite likely end up using those in West Norwood. The shops here are a mixed bag; there are some good independent shops like Beamish and McGlue (grocery/deli), Ivor Howell for photography and the wonderful Strowgers for DIY and household stuff. Even Somerfield and Superdrug can be useful, albeit they're not glamorous, and Tesco are coming soon (whether that's a good or bad thing is a moot point, as you'll see from other threads). We do have a surfeit of takeaways and estate agents.

I feel quite safe in WN and have never worried about walking home from the station at night. Of course, WN is not without crime - some of it very violent and alarming - but there have been violent assaults in Dulwich too. My own view is that you shouldn't be deterred from moving to West Norwood, but I guess much will depend on your needs and preferences: factors such as how old you are, where your work is, whether you have children, and so on. West Norwood is (in my view) good for children and families. Obviously, it's not as chic as West or East Dulwich, but that also means it's a bit more 'real' and has more of the social mix that you would expect to find in London. I love Dulwich but it's such a bubble of middle class loveliness, awash with Boden and Cath Kidston, that it sometimes feels a little weird (to me, anyway).

West Norwood is far from perfect, but there are people in West Norwood working to improve the area and its facilities through bodies such as the Norwood Forum and Norwood Action Group. The more of us who make our views known to councillors and others, the more successful we are likely to be. Apathy never achieved anything.

Edited by HeadGardener, 04 September 2007 - 09:27 AM.


#3 urpert

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Posted 05 September 2007 - 07:18 AM

Thanks for a helpful and detailed reply. You've confirmed what we already thought, but it's good to hear it from a local! We're not that bothered about the lack of immediate entertainment, since several of our good friends live in the roads between West Norwood and Streatham...

I wonder when Tesco will open? I see there's still nothing firm on the other thread...

#4 HeadGardener

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Posted 05 September 2007 - 09:29 AM

You're very welcome! They are just one person's views, though, and it might be that others see things differently.

I realise I didn't say much about local transport, although I guess you'll remember it from your time in Clive Road (where my grandparents lived, coincidentally). I used to commute to Victoria from West Norwood and although I was always amazed by how slow the journey was (because the line loops all around south London before it gets to Victoria) the service was generally OK. But I'm now only an occasional rail traveller, so there will be others who use the station more frequently than I do now who may be able to give a more recent perspective. One other advantage of Selsdon Road and nearby streets is that if you're feeling tired you can get the 315 bus from the station, as it runs up Canterbury Grove. The 315 has improved a great deal over the last few years - it's more reliable, now runs 7 days a week and for longer hours.

#5 benpark

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Posted 05 September 2007 - 10:45 AM

I concur with everything that HG says. Looks like the Tesco is definitely a goer, although it seems to be taking an absolute age to arrive!

West Dulwich is prettier, but West Norwood is far more 'useful', and the transport is generally better. I also live very cose to the areas you mention, and find the local transport to be, in general, very good. I have been commuting to Green Park for the last six years, but switched from the train (too packed in the morning, and unreliable) to getting a bus in to Brixton and a tube into town. This takes me roughly 40 minutes door-to-door, and is even quicker out of rush hour. There are quite a few bussed that go to Brixton, so i never have to wait long, and because I'm right by the bus garage, i always get a seat! I actually get the train home from Victoria because, as again this is the start of the line, I generally get a seat. This seems to work for me, and I have a lot less trouble than many people I know. Oh, and Capham Junction in roughly fifteen minutes is great for getting anywere else!

You should also be aware of the posibility of MD049 (check the threads about West Nrwood). This may have a significant (and positive) impact on WN going forward if approved. The mood of WNers at the moment seems relatively upbeat, despite recent local crime issues.

Now if somebody could just open a decent, family friendly, pub within walking distance...

#6 lucysmith

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Posted 07 September 2007 - 02:55 PM

I have lived in West Norwood for almost ten years and I think it is the most fabulous place in all of London. Why is this, you may well ask? Here are some reasons but none can really sum up the feeling of belonging to a place because of people you know, and a sense that the streets are truly your 'manor'.

- Community 'village' feel without the pretentiousness
- Cheap food at very good local caffs
- A sense of pride in the area with the St Luke's gardens and church getting a make over, a new school and possible improvements to the high street afoot
- Plenty of local people all really concerned to make sure West Norwood is a great place to live
- Proximity to Brockwell, Belair and Dulwich Parks
- Great restaurants in Crystal Palace, Gipsy Hill and Herne Hill
- Fab transport links - West Norwood, Tulse Hill and buses to Streatham, Brixton, Clapham, Croydon
- Useful shops on high street eg. B & Q, The Card Shop, aforementioned caffs, organic food shop,
- Farmers market twice a month
- Thurlow Park Ward is actually the most affluent ward in Lambeth and has lower crime rates than other parts of Lambeth.
- Much more bang for your buck on the housing front than W Dulwich, especially in streets nearer to W Norwood train station. More likely to get yourself a house than a flat if you're lucky.

Reasons for not living in W Dulwich
- Most houses are far away from transport links
- There are only actually a few restaurants in Dulwich Village and none are that inspiring eg. Pizza Express, Le Piaf
- House prices are expensive
- There are just as many dodgy happenings in Dulwich as West Norwood

#7 Downsouth

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Posted 22 November 2007 - 04:31 PM

Lucy

That's a bit tough on West Dulwich. I agree West Norwood has lots to offer and is cheaper but West Dulwich isn't as pretetious as you make out. Also, much of the 'affluent' Thurlow Park ward sits in West Dulwich and Herne Hill/Tulse Hill http://www.lambeth.g...6C/0/024633.pdf . I don't see a competition between the two areas especially as they share so many facilities.

"Reasons for not living in W Dulwich
- Most houses are far away from transport links - I can walk there in 10 minutes, Tulse Hill in 15 minutes, Gipsy Hill in 10 minutes, Sydenham, Hill in 10 minutes and West Dulwich in under 10 minutes. By the way if you work in the west end West Dulwich is barely 10 minutes via train to Victoria.

- There are only actually a few restaurants in Dulwich Village and none are that inspiring eg. Pizza Express, Le Piaf - we also have Indigo, Chandni, Porcini, Cafe Rouge. The restaurants on Gipsy Road are only a short distance away as are the ones on Norwood High st

- House prices are expensive - depending on where and what you are buying they are infact not that different from many parts of West Norwood

- There are just as many dodgy happenings in Dulwich as West Norwood - I wouldn't go that far but yes West Dulwich too is in London.

Good luck which ever place you choose.

Edited by Downsouth, 22 November 2007 - 04:33 PM.


#8 HeadGardener

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Posted 25 November 2007 - 05:29 PM

..... so the attraction of West Dulwich is that it's so easy to escape from? :D

#9 geronimo

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Posted 26 November 2007 - 08:16 AM

or to, i guess

Edited by geronimo, 26 November 2007 - 08:16 AM.


#10 Downsouth

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Posted 26 November 2007 - 10:26 AM

Quite. :)