Emerging from Clapham Junction station and climbing Lavender Hill has been a nightmare for pedestrians for a year. Tim Harrison shares their relief and detects a new mood

Strollers can finally use the pavement again

The irritating red and white obstacle course that has blighted Lavender Hill since the riots of summer 2011 has finally disappeared.
It is possible, at last, to cross the top of Falcon Road and head up the pavement towards the library without side-stepping bollards, edging past temporary traffic lights or climbing up ramps of gravel.
The sound of drills and excavations which has been driving everybody loopy for 18 months is over, the party superstore, burnt out during the orgy of looting, is ready to reopen; its brickwork cleaned, and a new shopfront installed.
Clapham Junction is looking sprucer than ever, and it isn’t just the locals who’ve noticed.
Remove the roadworks, clear the pavements, and suddenly everyone remembers how appealing SW11 is.
Estate agents are reporting an upturn in interest that is being reflected in house price rises, with the ever-popular streets off Lavender Hill attracting special attention.
What makes the Clapham Junction area special, apart from the fact that the busiest train station in Europe is on the doorstep?
Daniel Turner, sales manager at Featherstone Leigh at 253 Lavender Hill (020 7228 2278), knows the district well. “With the recently opened orbital network offering fast access to east and north London, the area has a natural appeal for the capital’s commuters,” he said. “The green open spaces of Clapham and Wandsworth commons, good independent schools and a wide variety of shops and restaurants attract both families and young professionals.”
Add to that a public library which is so popular that people queue to get in at opening time, a bustling post office, the whole foods market and a shoal of cute independent cafes, and it’s not hard to see why there’s increased demand.
Take the stonking crop of restaurants, from Hawaiian to Thai, Indian to pie ’n’ mash, Caribbean to Vietnamese, and you wonder why anyone would eat at home.
The Vietnamese eatery is particularly special. Mien Tay, at 180 Lavender Hill (020 7350 0721) is the place critic AA Gill dubbed ‘the best in London, give or take a catfish’. Owner/chefs Su and My Le have developed dishes from south west Vietnam, from goat and seabass to stir-fried frogs’ legs (a peculiar hangover from the country’s spell as French Indochina). And then there’s Warung Bumbu, the new Indonesian restaurant at 196 Lavender Hill (020 7924 1155), with its polished benches and fragrant dishes.
It’s all having an effect. “We have noticed an increased demand from buyers currently residing in Chelsea and Kensington, looking to upsize, and discovering they get considerably more for their money in Battersea, Clapham and Wandsworth,” said Daniel.
Typical of the ‘target’ homes on their radar is this four-bed Victorian home in Fontarabia Road, on with Featherstone Leigh at £15,000 shy of a million. Period features abound (the bathtub has claw feet), but there’s a modern fitted kitchen and extended conservatory… and your own wine cellar. Best of all, there’s no onward chain.

The dust has settled, and Clapham Junction is breathing again.