Let’s move to Wembley, Middlesex: haunted by the ghost of stadium mark one

What’s going for it? Yes, there is a town, a whole universe, beyond the hallowed stadium. The 1920s Metroland, for starters, built by property developers on hilly Middlesex fields along the Metropolitan line. The landscape is still dominated by Acacia Avenues of semis and Tudorbethans and art deco stations. For some, the ghost of stadium mark one, with its stubby twin towers, haunts the streets around its successor, rebuilt in a Blairite makeover. These days, the property developers are trying to reimagine the town as some kind of Middlesex Manhattan, cardboard Novotels, Prezzos and high rises selling lifestyles and luxuries, flush with the future prospects promised by Crossrail and HS2 – if they do eventually pass by. But the developers do not have it all their own way. Wem-ber-ley’s Metroland is a hub of London’s British Asian community, its High Road a mix of Greggs and dosas, saree shops and Poundlands, and perhaps the most fitting place imaginable to host the Borough of Culture in London next year, featuring none other than Zadie Smith; as well as a little thing called, I believe, Euro 2020. May it thrive.

The case against Not, in the main, a beauty, although it has its moments. Heavily sliced by infrastructure: the North Circular, spaghetti clusters of mainline railways, the Grand Union canal.

Well connected? Trains: Wembley Central to London Euston (12-29mins), or to Watford and beyond. Tube: Wembley Park is on the Jubilee and Metropolitan lines (12 mins to Baker Street), Wembley Central and North Wembley are on the Bakerloo (28 mins to Oxford Circus). Driving: 45 mins to central London, a few minutes to the North Circular and 10 mins to the A40; 30 mins to the M25.

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Schools Primaries: among many rated “good” are Preston Park and Chalkhill, says Ofsted. Ark, Wykeham, Oakington Manor, St Margaret Clitherow Catholic and St Joseph’s Catholic Infant and Junior are “outstanding”. Secondaries: Preston Manor and Alperton Community are “good”, with Ark, Michaela Community and Wembley High “outstanding”.

Hang out at… Awash with south Asian cafes and restaurants. I’m fond of the “delectable chaats” at Saravanaa Bhavan, but the banana dosas at Dosa Express… phewee.

Where to buy It’s mostly the glory days of 20s and 30s developer estates. Wembley Park for big detacheds, also North Wembley, such as the Sudbury Park estate’s avenues around The Fairway. “Deluxe” apartments hug the stadium. Large detacheds and townhouses, £600,000-£1.4m. Detacheds and smaller townhouses, £475,000-£600,000. Semis, £425,000-£1.2m. Terraces and cottages, £375,000-£700,000. Flats: three beds, £375,000-£780,000; two beds, £400,000-£700,000; one bed, £210,000-£500,000. Rentals: a one-bed flat, £1,000-£2,000pcm; a three-bed house, £1,600-£2,200pcm.

Bargain of the week Four-bed brick period semi, needs work, £550,000,

From the streets

Jennifer Mason “The newly opened Troubadour theatre, which has just shown War Horse; Fame is up next.”

Ben Wright “Eat anywhere along Ealing Road – our favourite is Sakonis, which is all vegetarian.”

Live in Wembley? Join the debate below.

Do you live on the north Pembrokeshire coast? Have a favourite haunt or a pet hate? If so, email by Tuesday 31 December.


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