Harlesden has long suffered from an image problem compared to its neighbours to the south and east but finally that image is starting to change as people realise its true potential and the local council invests millions into improving the town centre.
If you want to use comparisons then Harlesden is very much like Clapton in East London; an area of great potential blighted by past crime issues but with a vibrant, multi-cultural community and great housing stock. Clapton has changed hugely over the last five years and Harlesden is hot on its heels.
The London Borough of Brent is currently investing £4 million in improving Harlesden Town Centre as part of a 15 year regeneration programme for the area in collaboration with Harlesden Town Team, a local community group that includes local resident Louis Theroux. The main works, on programme to be finished this month have already seen the implementation of a new traffic flow system. Other improvements aim to make the centre a more pleasant place to shop with more seating, tree planting, wider pavements, new public areas and semi-pedestrianised streets. The landmark 1887 Victorian Jubilee clock in the centre will also be restored.
What’s on offer in Harlesden?
Where Harlesden differs from Clapton is its transport links. The area boasts two stops on the Bakerloo line at Harlesden and Willesden Junction which whisk people into the West End in around 20 minutes. The A404 snakes through the area on its way out of London and Old Oak Common is set to become a vital transport hub on the Crossrail network with links to the proposed HS2 and possible overground and underground connections. This fact alone makes Harlesden a great place to invest.
Another factor is the community. Lots of young professionals buy here because they can’t afford Queens Park or Kensal Rise. They join a multicultural mix of Irish, Caribbean, Asian, African, Brazilian and Portuguese communities.
Roundwood Park, a listed Victorian park, is at the heart of the community and its café is a favourite with locals. The park also boasts an aviary, bowling green and wildlife area. Locals can also enjoy the open space along the Grand Union Canal and there are several famous residents close by.
Property in Harlesden consists of predominantly Edwardian and Victorian terraces, many converted into flats and many retaining their original features. There are 1920s houses around the park and some new developments in the area. The best roads for families include St Mary’s Road, St John’s Avenue, Harlesden Gardens and the roads north of Wrottesley Road, such as Bramston Road, Ridley Road and Furness Road.
One bedroom flats start from £275,000, two bedroom flats from £400,000 and terraced or semi-detached houses from £700,000.
My Favourite Places in Harlesden
I’ve known Harlesden for many years, often frequenting the Mean Fiddler for its amazing gigs when it was still open. The Irish influence was everywhere with Irish folk gigs most weeks.
I also love the Caribbean influence in Harlesden and in my view the best West Indian takeaway in the whole area is One Stop on the High St. My favourite is the brown stew chicken but the jerk is also very good!
Hawkeye Records on Craven Park Road is also legendary – and anyone who knows anything about Reggae knows Locksley.
Director – Head of Lettings
13 January 2015
*House price data taken from home.co.uk