Property&interiors 12.10 for the Javelin, against 9.10 for the slower service; from Ashford its 29.60 compared with 22.20. Its easy to see why so many Londoners are keen to make the move to Kent. The journey to work is not only quicker but also more pleasant -- youre much more likely to get a seat on the Javelin than on the Tube -- and your home life will be less stressful and surrounded by more greenery. House prices are obviously a major pull, too: according to housing intel- ligence service Hometrack, the aver- age one-bed flat in Ashford is 83,069 and in Ebbsflett its 87,500. In central London its more than twice as much, at 205,782. Data from property infor- mation website Zoopla backs this up. The average semi-detached home in Ashford is 220,791; in Ebbsfleet its 146,289 and in London its 519,573. This part of Kent is often called the best-placed place in Britain, a short drive to the beach and marshland, yet also home to an international station and not far to Canterbury, Dover and London, says Rob Coleman, of the Ashford branch of Connells. And the price difference is staggering -- 250,000 can buy you a detached four- bed with two bathrooms and a garden. What could that get you in London? The effect of the new train service on the property markets in Ashford and Ebbsfleet is only just being felt, 26 Wednesday, 22 July 2009 London Lite SUPERTRAIN PUTS IDYLLIC KENT, WHERE HOMES ARE HALF THEMarket moves... FRESH plans have been unveiled for the 2012 Games Athletes Village in Stratford, above, which will house members of the public after the Olympics are over. It will have 2,818 new private homes, including 1,379 affordable properties. There will also be new public squares and tree-lined streets, courtyards, shared gardens and play areas. EVEN footballers arent immune to the property slump. Chelsea striker Andriy Shevchenko has just taken his five-bedroom house on the Wentworth Estate in Surrey off the market, after it failed to sell for 10m. The Ukrainian-born player bought Mount House, set in 3.5 acres with a tennis court, gym and sauna, for 7.1m in 2006. CALLING all Monopoly fans, you can now buy St Pancras station -- if you have 2.5bn to spare. London & Continental Railways is asking property companies to buy the shops, restaurants, hotel and residential development at St Pancras International. The 82,000 sq ft of shops are almost 100 per cent let and turn over 2m a week. Rental income is 1m a month. Dig deep! DONT move, improve has been a key phrase for many of us during the property crash -- and now it has reached the A-listers, too. Coldplay frontman Chris Martin and his wife Gwyneth Paltrow, below, have decided they need more space and have just been granted planning permission for a two-storey side extension to their 3.1m north London home, as well as replacing the front walls and the rear balcony. WhyIlivein...Soho andthreeforsaleintheneighbourhood Two-bed, open-plan flat on Dean Street, large living room with dining space. En suite bathrooms. 1.75m. Foxtons, 020 7973 2000 MarkPowell TAILOR to the stars Mark Powell has dressed George Clooney, David Bowie and Naomi Campbell, among others. He lives in Soho. Ive worked here for 25 years, and lived full-time in Soho for the past year. Its an amazing place. Youre in the centre of London with everything on your doorstep. My favourite places to eat and drink are The Groucho, Quo Vadis and Zillis on Dean Street. I love all the independent shops like the Italian deli Lina Stores and Soho Original Books, which is great for art and fashion books. There are also a lot of great fabric shops and a fruit and veg market on Berwick Street. Soho attracts all sorts of characters and thats why I like it so much, from the bohos in the bars to the hobos on the street -- and everyone in between. Over the last 20 years there has been a lot of change, but the area has retained its special character and still has its edge. If or when I grow up I wouldnt mind living in Mayfair or Primrose Hill, but they may be a bit too tame after living here full-time. One-bed, 650sqft flat, with potential to be converted into a two-bed, on Dean Street. 510,000. Greater London Properties, 020 7734 4062 Studio flat on Old Compton Street with large, open-plan kitchen and living room, and separate bathroom. 315,000. Foxtons, 020 7973 2000 BY JESSIE HEWITSON U NTIL a few weeks ago commuting from Ashford in Kent to central London took a sluggish hour and 20 minutes. Now, thanks to the new Javelin trains, it takes a super-speedy 37 minutes to reach St Pancras. Its now far quicker to travel into central London from this Kent market town than many parts of the capital. The result is more and more Londoners moving to Ashford to take advantage of a commute to work thats quicker than the average Tube journey. Ebbsfleet, near Gravesend in Kent, where the Javelin -- the 140mph Japanese wonder train -- also stops, is seeing a similar effect. From here the new service, currently being tested but going full-time from December, takes just 17 minutes to reach St Pancras using the Channel Tunnel line. The slow train will still operate, but commuters will have a choice. Javelin fares are higher than for existing commuter trains, but not by as much as you might think: single fares from Ebbsfleet to London will be says Edward Church of the Canterbury office of Strutt & Parker. Weve known about the high-speed rail link for years, but until now its generated little in the way of enquiries for houses in the vicinity of the new stations, he says. Thats changed dramatically in recent months. Now scarcely a day passes without a call to my office from a London buyer seeking to move to Ashford or Ebbsfleet, hoping to take advantage of more affordable homes in Kent that will suddenly be a very easy journey from central London. Most of the calls Church gets are from couples with small children and good jobs in central London, looking for more greenery, better schooling, proximity to the countryside and easy access to France courtesy of Eurostar, which takes you to Paris in just over two hours from the station. Despite the general downturn in property, were not feeling it, says Church. All of a sudden, people see the huge benefits of living here. East Kent is finally on the map. Folkestone Ashford K E N T Kings Cross St Pancras Ebbsfleet Tunbridge Wells Tonbridge Gatwick MaidstoneSevenoaks 17 mins to London 37 mins to London THE QUICK COMMUTE Nowthegarden ofEnglandis 140mph closer index.html2.html3.html4.html5.html6.html7.html8.html9.html10.html11.html12.html13.html14.html15.html16.html17.html18.html19.html20.html21.html22.html23.html24.html25.html26.html27.html28.html29.html30.html31.html32.html33.html34.html35.html36.html37.html38.html39.html40.html41.html42.html43.html