Richmond families in the neighbourhood with London’s first council homes which now cost more than £800,000 say it’s so “lovely” they never want to move out.

But, tower blocks are changing the skyline dramatically and businesses have been hit hard by the cost of living crisis.

The average price of a home in Richmond was £1.03 million in the last year, according to Rightmove, and £833,375 for homes on Manor Grove.

The street is lined with Victorian terraced housing known as London’s first council homes – built in the 1890s and so popular locals applied to live there through a ballot.

Initially, 62 homes were built on six acres of land next to the London and South West Railway, close to the gasworks, after William Thompson won planning permission for the council housing in 1892.

Known as the Richmond Experiment, a further 70 homes were built on the Manor Grove land and completed in 1900 due to the success of the project.

Fahim Uddin, 28, has lived on Manor Grove his whole life. He told the Local Democracy Reporting Service the “majority of the people are still here, they haven’t left” – some having bought their homes – and that he would never want to move away.

Richmond and Twickenham Times: Fahim UddinFahim Uddin

He said: “Everyone’s the same except for a few houses that have changed but other than that it’s OK.

"Everyone’s comforted, everyone knows to look out for each other.” 

He said there’s not much crime in the area but that this changes even in nearby Roehampton.

He added: “Even when I go to a party for a night out – coming back from Brixton or Peckham – you’re like: ‘Damn, I’m good, I’m happy to be back home.'” 

But the cost of living crisis is changing the area. Mr Uddin just sold his takeaway, after owning it for eight years, as he could no longer afford to keep it – costs had doubled.

He said: “Living expenses have gone through the roof, it’s like you do as much as you can but then it’s coming to the point where it has to come out of your own pockets… and it’s going to get much more [like that] I think.

"The shopping I used to buy was like £400 to £500. Now I’m spending over a grand.” 

Mr Uddin said the condition of homes on Manor Grove is generally “decent in the sense of it is quite well-organised in the foundation and structure if it gets taken care of – if it’s not taken care of it’s quite hard, but it depends on the living cost as the living cost has gone up a lot”. 

The area has also undergone “major changes” with tower blocks springing up, Mr Uddin said, which he feels split over. 

He added: “Homebase and Pets at Home have left now so that was our very main thing there but I think they’re going to put tower blocks in now.”

Michelle Cavan, who works on Sheen Road, said “retail outlets haven’t done massively well, there’s a lot of empty spaces, but that’s across the board really”.

The 44-year-old said Richmond is “close to my heart” and that “it’s lovely, it’s pretty, you’ve got the river, you’ve got the nature, the swans, the boats – in the summer it’s gorgeous and in winter it’s gorgeous”.

She added: “I’ve always felt safe. I get the train to work… there’s never any problems.”

Ms Cavan works for Camden Garden Centre, which helps people from disadvantaged backgrounds get back into work, at its new shop The Plant Room and said “the local community is amazing”.

Chazz Gill, 44, took over lighting specialist shop d-lite on Sheen Road in 2016.

Mr Gill said he previously ran the business as a store but it now offers more specialist services based on people coming in for appointments as “unless it’s a convenience store there’s not really any market for local shops”.

He called Richmond a “lovely part of the world” and said: “It’s quite calm, it’s quite easygoing – you go to North London or parts of South London and it’s very different or even if you just go across to Shepherd’s Bush or down to Hounslow, it’s very different. There’s a really nice feel about Richmond.”