Burwash House and Weston Street in general

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Thursday 29 March 2007 10.52am
My boyfriend and I are seriously thinking of buying a lovely 2bed ex LA flat in Burwash House on Weston Street. We've literally just discovered the surrounding area and from what we've seen so far would really love to move there but would like any advice about how safe the area is and hear from anyone in Burwash House or Simla House about their experience living there.

We're also having a very hard time getting a mortgage because it's high rise(and above 5th floor and as first-time buyers rather than buy-to-let investors this is putting a few doubts in our minds - We'd love any advice/opinions about whether it's a good investment. It's pretty obvious that Bermondsey is a brilliant place to invest but our max budget is 250k for a 2bed so we cant afford anything but ex-LA it seems.

Thanks for your help!
Thursday 29 March 2007 11.45am
Me & my boyf live in Simla House. I've lived in the block for over a year now and love it there. I've had no safety issues in the area so far - touch wood - indeed the area is very chilled compared to the likes of Brixton and Stockwell, where I have lived previously (nightmare). The tenants are a real mix of young professionals, families and the odd colourful council character (ie drunk) - and there are lots of gay men living there; the blocks are nicknamed 'fairy towers' by those in the know. The Leather Exchange bar, just opposite, labels itself as 'gay friendly', so I think you and your boyf would be in good company. We currently rent our pad, but are considering buying. We'll be moving a little bit further South East though, where we will hopefully get a bit more for our money.
Thursday 29 March 2007 12.23pm
There seem to be a few 'fairy towers' in the locale.

Apart from my own delightful building which is known as 'vile towers' (admittedly only by me)
Thursday 29 March 2007 12.48pm
HSBC do mortgages on towerblocks and I believe they are pretty much the only ones that do so to standard market rates and downpayments.
Important to know is that HSBC does apparently not deal with any mortgage brokers - you have to go there yourself and apply for it. If you are not already a customer they may ask you to provide three months of your current account statements - the whole statement not just the summary....
That's my experience from 9 months ago.
Let me know if you come across other providers.
Thursday 29 March 2007 1.22pm
HSBC told me today that they've recently changed their policy and will now only lend on high rise (over 4 floors) if the buyer has a 20% deposit.

Abbey seem to be the only major lender who will currently lend on Burwash/Simla Houses, I believe, with no restrictions.

Skipton said they would need to see a valuation and 'Buildstore' will lend on anything under 10 storeys but have high rates as a result.

The most irratating thing is that each lender seems to apply a different criteria (Halifax described the building as a 'non-standard construction' but wouldn't clarify any further) so you've no idea what is likely to happen in the future without splashing out loads of cash on a full structural survey... and even then...

All very frustrating.
Friday 30 March 2007 5.30pm
I thought they were known as 'homo heights'... views are amazing and fantastic. area is beyond central. if buying ex LA be aware of needing to ask about any major projects planned for the next few years - you will have to pay your share, but this is usually fair as it will add to the value and attractiveness of your home. there have been massive investments to LA homes and everyone is promised new windows (which you would have to pay for) and new kitchens/bathrooms which you would not be liable for.
Monday 2 April 2007 9.21pm
I have lived in Burwash House for several years now after being transferred by Southwark Council from a tower block in Camberwell. I find the residents in Burwash rather unfriendly in comparison and the area a bit sterile and monocultured, though it is quiet and pretty safe...

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