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My family and I are moving to London on a salary of 60,000 pounds pro anno and I have had two flats offered to me:
1. three bedroom apartment, 98m2, located on the ground floor, close to Angel station. It's in the funky part of town apparently.
Rent: 650 pounds per week. zone 1.
2. also three bedrooms, near Balham south of Clapham and Wandsworth. Rent 350 pounds a week. zone 2.
My work is in City.
My questions are:
* Is it worth living outside zone 1 to save money on transport?
* If you were to choose, where would you live?
Hi JFA, it's really hard to advise. London is very, very varied and the same postcode can have lovely pockets and horrible pockets. There are lovely bits of Angel where I would adore to live, but also less nice parts. I don't know Balham very well as I'm a north Londoner, but I imagine it's the same.
Zone 1, 2 etc is really an irrelevance, and the cost of a zone 1 travel card is not very different to zone 2. (In fact, I could be wrong, but I think a zone 1 season ticket is the same cost as a zone 1-2...?)
The real issues are length of commute, and the area the flat is in (crime rate and amenities etc). You can check out TFL for length of commute and if you can't get to the UK maybe google earth could give you an idea of the neighbourhood? You might also want to consider schools, and the cost of council tax, insurance, parking and childcare (if those are relevant).
London is a very expensive city and you might find £60,000 doesn't go very far - particularly if you have to take tax, NI etc out of that!
Of course you could cycle. That would save you £100 a month. That would be possible from both places, depending on how fit you are and your nerve for London traffic, but it's definitely more doable from Angel.
I live in SE London, on the edge of Zone 2. Rents tend to be cheaper her than most parts of London, yet I find it a more pleasant area to live. People tend to have deeper roots, don't move around so much, and the traffic isn't quite as intense as other parts of London. Cycling into London is pretty good from here too, since you can avoid all main roads: harder to do from Angel, I would have thought.
Carol, do you have school age kids? I think the quality of the schools would be a priority then.
If you're travelling into the City then you won't be saving money on transport living in Zone 2, because you'll be heading into Zone 1 every day, but of course you will a bit with the rest of the family trundling about locally. I can't do the sums, but I'd have thought the lower rent in Balham was a much bigger saving than you'd be spending on the higher fares.
Lots of Balham is very nice - although as Flora says, anywhere in London can vary from street to street. Very much a family area, too. S E London is on the whole more open and a bit calmer, with wider streets and lower houses, a good bit cheaper - even when you are on the tube as Balham is.
Angel is very cool, but also decidedly manic at evenings and weekends... the ground floor thing would make me a bit nervous that the world would be trooping past my front window. Brilliantly handy for the West End - which would be good if you're intent on making the most of a stay in London. But Balham's okay for that too, and the mainline connections are good.
If you've got children you might want to look at how near the nearest green spaces are to the specific flats you've been offered - also perhaps things like the local leisure centre for swimming and things.
Have you had a good look on Google Streetview? You could see what the streets are actually like round about these two flats, which might help.
As Jem says, if you have school age kids then you might find your situation dictated by that - schools in London are a nightmare, and where you move may well be governed by who can offer you a place.
Ofsted reports are available from this link http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/inspection-reports/find-inspection-report
. They aren't the whole story but can be useful in working out the strengths of each school. I wouldn't be too influenced by the grading but more by the inspector's comments.<Added>
Just re-read that and realised it sounds like I'm saying the schools themselves are nightmarish, which is not what I meant. My kids go to school in London and the quality is very high (although of course there are challenging catchment areas, just like any city).
What I was meaning is that the applications system is a nightmare - it's very over-subscribed (particularly at primary level) and there are pockets of London where you aren't in a catchment area for ANY school at all. The application system is also quite complicated, particularly if you're moving into an area mid-year.
This may all be totally irrelevant of course.
It's so easy to get to the City from Angel - you're practically there already. The commute would be a lot longer from the other place, and it's not a very nice commute, either.
I'd go for Angel, both for convenience and for the area; but then, I like an easy life. That's a lot of rent to pay, though.
Really depends. I've lived in both areas.
City to Angel is bikeable, or practically walkable. Zero travel costs and you won't have that killer commute. Angel is very urban. Unlike most parts of London it is not very near any nice parks. Nearest green space is the rather dull, flat Highbury Fields and then there's nothing else properly for miles. Plus sides are: loads of cafes and restaurants, nice theatres, and you can jog/walk along the canal which is quite nice.
Balham is near Wandsworth and Clapham Commons and Tooting Lido - wide open spaces and open air swimming.
If you like having a bit of green near by - I'd go for Balham. It's a bit more dreary and suburban, but only by London standards - still has cafes and bars and comedy clubs etc. It's on the Northern Line, so although you are faced with a commute, at least there's no change. You will also have over a grand a month more cash to spend on theatre and restaurants and concerts - all those things that make living in London worthwhile. I think that's rather important. Nothing like being stuck in an airless city with no money to enjoy it, to make it lose its savour.
If I were working in the City, I think I'd look in Borough - Tate, Globe, Borough Market, South Bank all at your fingertips; you could walk to work over the Thames Millenium bridge. Or Greenwich which is practically perfect in every way, it's so beautiful.
|Or Greenwich which is practically perfect in every way, it's so beautiful.|
Except that it's not on the tube, and has the A2 going throught the middle of it. Blackheath's nicer, I think...
Carol - you'll never get a straight answer on this site!
My older son and girlf are just about to move out of Brixton because it's getting too gentrified and expensive and are moving to Tooting, which always reminds me of Citizen Smith and the People's Revolution. What's the difference between Tooting and Tooting Bec?
I've been to Angel and it's just shops and cafes, which is fine to go to, as Cherys says but where do you escape for fresh air?
|where do you escape for fresh air?|
You can't. There's nowhere. That's definitely the biggest drawback of living in Islington or the City of London.
There is the Regents Canal which is lovely and leafy and bordered by trees, and is a lovely place to walk with kids, but agree there are not really any wide green spaces bar Highbury.
I think the bottom line is, Angel is a fab place to live if you're a childless 20-something or a wealthy 60-something with your London pied-a-Terre and country place. But for your average working family with small kids and limited baby-sitters, you can't really afford or take full advantage of the Islington lifestyle.
Though you do get the best of both worlds if you head a bit further out from Angel. My parents live near the old Arsenal stadium. They have the gorgeous Clissold Park for genteel walks and ices, as well as great playparks for the children. Then there's Finsbury Park - bit dull but hilly for jogging and cycling, with an old railway line wlak connecting it to Highgate woods. There's the tiny, delightful wilderness Gillespie Park with its Livingstone's newt pond and blackberries, and not much further away, Abney Cemetery for Gothic spooky strolls. And still 30 mins walking distance from Upper Street. If I wanted Angel but was raising children, I'd head downhill from Highbury and stop somewhere before Finsbury Park.
But maybe you don't have young children to consider, Carol?
Reading this makes me realise how out-of-touch I am (expat since 2005). £60,000 doesn't go far! £650 p/w for an apt? I suppose petrol's broken through £3 a gallon?
What will I do when I come back? Not live in London, that's for sure.
But, my daughter - a 'childless 20-something' who just loves funky places would gravitate to Angel (just get a job, first, okay?).
As an art / classical music lover, I regret never having lived in London. I'd have lived near a cemetery, like Highgate. Elizabeth Siddal, Groucho Marx etc.
This 17 message thread spans 2 pages: 2 > >
Highate is lovely. But you have to be seriously rich to buy a family house there.
You also have to be a real person.