It goes without saying that London is a city often affected by crime, with each borough dealing with its own unique challenges. In particular, East London was traditionally considered a more dangerous side of the city, though in reality crime levels have gone up and down over the years.
In 2018, The Sun newspaper dubbed one Waltham Forest street “the UK’s most dangerous” following a perceived string of serious crimes in the area. Vallentin Road in Walthamstow is a residential street next to Wood Green station, boasting a number of houses, flats and even a church. The street is also surrounded by small independent businesses.
The Sun reported four years ago that the street had been the scene of around 200 serious crimes, including murders and sex attacks, from 2016 to 2018. Local residents had reportedly also complained of gangs being “out of control” in the area.
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Here at MyLondon, we wanted to get to the bottom of what it’s really like to live on Vallentin Road, or on the surrounding streets. We reached out to local residents, estate agents and business owners and discovered there is a great deal to love about this street, despite its unfortunate reputation.
One local man who owns a corner shop moments from the street said he believes there is a great deal of good in the local area. The shop owner, who chose not to be named, said: “Everywhere in East London has its issues I think, but I don’t think that road should be singled out.”
He added: “There are occasionally sirens, but Walthamstow has a community of people who don’t every day wake up and think about crime […] In the shop, we don’t see much crime, not even stealing sweets very often. The place is community minded at the end of the day, and people look out for each other.”
The Stow Brothers is an East London and West Essex estate agent “set apart by a distinctive vision, fresh approach, and unrivalled local knowledge”. Assistant Branch Manager Eva Bouzaki, who lives two minutes from Vallentin Road, told MyLondon that Walthamstow is a wonderful place to live, including this supposedly ‘dangerous’ road.
“I think the demographic has changed quite a lot, because we’re seeing the population move from Hackney to us, to E17. There are a lot of young couples, and a lot of young families, that have moved there. Vallentin Road connects the Walthamstow Village and the Wood Green areas – these two are the nicest parts of Walthamstow probably,” Eva explained.
(Image: The Stow Brothers)
Eva also told MyLondon that The Stow Brothers are currently selling a property on Vallentin Road for offers in excess of £675,000. This beautiful terraced property certainly has a lot going for it, with chic interiors and plenty of space. The home is also well connected and lies on the Walthamstow Village borders, with Orford Road less than a half mile away and Wood Street Overground station at the end of the road.
For Eva, it’s not fair to describe Vallentin as a particularly dangerous street, and those looking for a new home should not be put off. “Areas change – first of all, we are in London, so talking about criminality, the rates are high in Notting Hill it’s just that, because there is more money there, we don’t really discuss it.
(Image: The Stow Brothers)
“I walk up and down Vallentin almost every day with my dog, and I have never felt like I’m in danger. Everyone says, ‘Hi.’ The other thing that’s important about Walthamstow is that it’s very community focused – almost every street has a WhatsApp group.”
The previous owners of the house up for grabs with The Stow Brothers also raved about the area. “We have loved living in Walthamstow,” they said. “We chose this house for its proximity to green spaces, and the station. We take our dogs to the meadow at the top of Upper Walthamstow Road, which is just a few minutes walk, Hollow Ponds and Chingford Plain for regular walks, or sometimes follow the walking route out as far as Highams Park, or on occasion, Epping.
(Image: The Stow Brothers)
“The cycleways to Hackney and Bethnal Green have really been great – we particularly like going to the lido at London Fields, or blackberry picking on the marshes. Like many Wood Street residents, we’re devotees of Chocolatine – for the bread and their chocolatey namesake, Dudley’s coffee, toasties at the new deli, and beer and wine from the new Clapton Craft.
“We love to eat out and our regular spots are Arte & Pasta and the Queen’s Arms, or we got a tiffin box for waste free, and delicious, vegan curry from Spice Box. We’re also no strangers to Yard Sale and Gokyuzu. We’re lucky to be blessed with great neighbours, and over the fence chats during lockdown helped keep us all going.”
Whilst those who know Vallentin Road best accept there have been issues with crime in the area, many seem keen to dispel the myth that the street is a terrifying place to live. Instead, it seems clear that Vallentin Road has a great deal of community spirit.
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