Like many areas that border greater London and the home counties, North Cheam has a split personality between the metropolitan and suburban.

However, North Cheam’s residents must also contend with another split.

That is between itself and its affluent neighbour to the east, Cheam village. 

While Cheam village has a distinctly old world feel, with historical Stuart Era buildings and a quaint church, North Cheam is the epitome of a 1930s residential estate.

Your Local Guardian: North CheamNorth Cheam

The area connects Cheam village to neighbouring Worcester Park and straddles the boundaries between Sutton, Surrey and Merton.

It was exactly its position as a connected town in London’s south that nearly convinced decision makers to build the final terminus of the London Underground’s Northern line in North Cheam.

While this plan was eventually scrapped in the late 1930s, the area still remains a well-connected hub town that links the far reaches of the capital with its busy centre.

The new Superloop buses, for example, make a stop through Cheam on their route towards Croydon and Heathrow. 

However, being on the outskirts of London means that ULEZ looms large in people’s lives.

North Cheam’s high street itself crosses over from London into Surrey, where the policy does not apply.

North Cheam local Lynn said: “We’re on the outskirts of London here so we fall under ULEZ, you can’t go anywhere. It hasn’t affected me but it has my daughter though.

"She lives not far from me, and it’s a nuisance because she had to change her car to a diesel when the government told her to and has now had to change it again.”

Paula Hobbs, who was waiting for one of the many buses that pass through the area, told the LDRS: “We haven’t been affected by ULEZ, but my son has. He has had to move to Horsham and has had to change his car.

Your Local Guardian: The town stands at the crossroads between Sutton, Surrey and Merton Credit: Harrison Galliven/LDRS

"He now has a car that does less mileage, which he has to pay more tax on. So he’s really not happy with ULEZ. I also have friends that have told me they can’t visit now because it will cost us £12 quid each time. They’re having to park in Ashtead and get the train in so they don’t get caught by ULEZ.”

North Cheam’s high street has avoided the fate of many other high streets across the capital and does not suffer from visible empty shop fronts. However, it has managed one feat that many other high streets have not.

As of recently, the high street is home to zero charity shops. According to residents, this is symptomatic of a wider decline in the quality of the high street.

Lifelong resident Deidre told the LDRS: “Back in the day there used to be more different types of shops on the high street, now there’s only the big Sainsbury’s really.

"It’s not so good for shopping, you need to leave the area for that. Worcester Park is better.”

Paula agreed, saying: “It’s alright, it could do with less coffee shops and more proper shops.

"It needs a boutique, some shops that you can go in and actually buy something.

"Our only charity shop on the corner has gone. I think this area kind of out prices itself around here I think. I think it’s because it has Cheam in the title. I think they’re pushing it a bit by calling it North Cheam.”

“It’s gone downhill a bit. I’ve seen a lot of changes since growing up here in the 60s, some for better, some for worse.

Your Local Guardian: Driving through North Cheam\'s high-street means you will cross in and out of the ULEZ zone Credit: Harrison Galliven/LDRS

"There used to be more pubs here, including the old HG Wells, where I met my husband.

"Now there’s only a Wetherspoons where the Granada cinema used to be. We’re quite happy with the pub, we can go to the pub, get on a bus outside and go home again. Everybody loves spoons prices as well.”

While speaking to the LDRS, Paula pointed to another example of what she saw as the area’s decline.

The former site of the old Victoria House modernist block behind her was reduced to rubble nearly ten years ago and still remains in that state.

Despite recent attempts to transform the site into 75 new luxury flats, residents remain dissatisfied with the lack of progress.

Speaking to the LDRS about development on the site last year, one resident said: “North Cheam has a chance to look less like a war zone.”

Paula said: “It’s an eyesore, it’s getting on everyone’s nerves. It got knocked down, and they were going to rebuild and make it fit in with the rest of the high-street.

"This is what everyone is moaning about. It used to be a pub called the Queen Vic. After that, it became a sweet shop and betting shop. They need to do something with it.”

Away from the high-street, North Cheam gives way to lines of quiet, uniformed residential streets.

Despite the troubles with the high street, the area seems heavily favoured by families as a location to raise children.

Speaking from the front porch of his tidy detached house, Neville Perkins told the LDRS: “I’ve been living here for 30 years and have had no issue really. I like everything about the area really.

"The schools are great, my kids went to school round here. There are also shops up the road, it’s all very convenient for me. I’m not moving anytime soon.

Neighbour and father of two Gary agreed saying: “It’s a great place to live, schools are good and parks are nearby.

Your Local Guardian: The land the park is on is still owned by TFL from when they initially planned to expand the Northern Line to North Cheam Credit: Harrison Galliven/LDRS

"It seems safe enough, you have crime here and there. I know a few people that have had their cars nicked.”

Gary’s house faces Fairlands park, which unbeknownst to many residents, was planned to be the site of the Northern line terminus.

Curiously TFL still owns the land from when it was first considering the expansion in the 30s.

However, history aside, North Cheam seems like it will remain a destination for people looking to capture a bit of the quiet life on the edges of the capital.