I have just got a job in London and am scouting different areas to live. I have several friends who have lived on Old Kent Road (close to Tescos???) and tell me the area is great, but having searched this site and seen the crimes in the area, I wanted to hear from other residents.
I have also seen a couple of nice place on New Kent Road, just off Balfour place (Henshaw Street being one of them). Can anyone tell me about the safety of the area (apart from that you would expect in any capital city) and what its like getting back at night?
I have lived [off Bermondsey Street] for 3 years and feel as safe as anywhere else [16 years in Rotherhithe]. The transport is very good, in/from all directions and buses run late - also street lighting is, on the whole, pretty good.
I recall being told, many years ago, to 'walk with purpose in your step'.
It's a great area and you can walk to the river in 15-20 mins [only takes me 5 :-)]
I live on the other side of the New Kent Road. I get irritated by anti-social behaviour, and it can seem forbidding with the Heygate Estate looming along the NKR, but I have never felt threatened or unsafe.
I've lived off Balfour St since 1999 and have had no problems. I think the usual things apply about travelling at night - not waving mobiles/ipod/etc around, being alert, walking with purpose etc. I often travel back by bus or tube after dark and have never had any issues. If it's very late - post-clubs etc - I sometimes travel to Waterloo and then get a cab from there, which is about £7 or £8... and worth it for a safe journey home.
All in all I've no reason not to recommend the area. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else - so many transport options, great buses (inc night buses), and close to everything :-)
Good luck choosing somewhere..
I've lived by the Old Kent Rd for a number of years. I'd say, in terms of safety, it's like any other relatively poor part of inner city London - you'd be best to keep your eyes and ears open and nor daydream, as the other messages say above. If you remain streetwise and on well lit streets at night you should have no problems.
As a woman I have not had any problems living there. A very good thing about the area is that there are so many nightbuses that it is easy to get home at night..which means you can perhaps avoid using dodgy minicabs!