A pre-emptive welcome to Sydenham! We live on Larkbere Road, and so I thought I would take the time to write and respond to you. We moved to Sydenham eight years ago and we absolutely love it here. I have written at length on this forum about problems with the tyre shop at the end of the road and their littering and rubbish. That remains an ongoing concern, but one which will in time be sorted out. Crucially, people care enough to challenge the problems.
The houses in this street are wonderful Victorian terraces; we adore our home. In the last couple of years we’ve had a lot of new blood moving in and lovingly restoring the houses to their former glory, stripping off the grim render and bringing them back to their original brick-fronted look. You can still get a terrace house here for your budget. The dream for most people is to then do the loft and the side return extension; there are many loft conversions going up on Larkbere and no doubt more will follow.
Parking-wise it’s first come first serve. I can’t tell you more than that as neither myself or my partner drive. We’re well-served for transport links, being equidistant between Sydenham, Lower Sydenham and Penge East. Of all of these, Lower Syd has a great and reliable service that’s 20 mins direct to Charing Cross, whereas the trains from Sydenham station tend to be less of a given and more like trying to hitch a lift. The Overground is reliable though.
We’re also well-placed for shops: Sainsbury and B&Q are 5 mins away, with Lidl and Tesco 8 mins in the opposite direction up the high street. If you enjoy cooking then Billings should be your first port of call, for fresh fish and meat.
I'm not sure of anywhere I would avoid in Sydenham, but what I will say is that security was a big factor for me when buying here, as my previous flat had been in a rough part of London. I chose Larkbere as I feel safe walking back to it from the station late at night - a straight walk down a brightly lit high street, then just off it. As a security-conscious person, I would avoid anywhere where you have to head down backstreets to get home.
Additionally this is a very, very friendly road – we know our neighbours and are on nodding terms with most people. And being a street of terraced houses, any unusual behaviour is pretty obvious at once.
At the end of Larkbere, next to the infamous tyre shop is Barakah… we’re spoilt for curry houses in Sydenham, but in our house Barakah rules supreme! Their Bombay Squid is amazing. We also now have three fantastic local pubs in the Dolphin, the Greyhound and the Golden Lion, a renowned and celebrated Italian restaurant, Trattoria Raffaele, and a short way away in Penge is our personal favourite place to eat: a French bistro named Creperie Ches Yves. Plus the wonderful Poodle Club is a comedy venue on the high street and makes for a great night out. To run off the calories from all that good food and booze we head to Crystal Palace Park, which is half an hour away on foot and very beautiful in summer and winter.
In short, yes, there most certainly is a wonderful community spirit here and with all the new developments it’s an exciting time to buy in Sydenham. If you decide to do so then I hope you will be as happy here as we are.