New job in Luton - where should we live?

(58 Posts)
ecofreckle Sun 29-Dec-13 21:43:49

My DP has just taken a job at the Uni of Bedfordshire based in Luton. We have a 9mo dd and have lived in Norfolk for nearly 20 years. We know no one in Luton so have nothing (other than the job) to take us there and I am scared of very urban living. We have family in Leicestershire. We are wondering where to move to!
As we are selling in Norfolk we will not be able to afford the 'southern' prices of the beautiful and nearby Chilterns sad. We ideally would like to be somewhere with a good community, good school, good transport link to Luton with some lovely countryside/walking nearby. Happy to commute up to an hour but prefer more like 45 mins.
We have looked at Market Harborough but it seems expensive (we have up to £200K). Anyone have any other inside info or ideas please?

ecofreckle Wed 01-Jan-14 23:14:00

mewkins great point and one I hadn't considered. I will have to do some research. Flight noise would be a deal breaker for me. We have booked a Bedford hotel for this weekend and are having a good look around as well as viewing a few houses to get the lay of the land. Thanks everyone. Sure I will have more questions after weekend.

sonnybeaudelaire Wed 01-Jan-14 23:17:44

Another vote for Bedfordshire - there is no point paying the London commuter prices unless you need to be in London regularly, and it sounds like you don't. You'll generally get more for your money if you go north rather than south of Luton.

FruitSaladIsNotPudding Thu 02-Jan-14 15:31:39

We live in leighton buzzard and love it - much nicer than Bedford IMO, and still reasonably priced. It's a nice little market town, just up the road from Luton. We live on the linslade side and it's lovely - peaceful, lots of families, and great schools.

FruitSaladIsNotPudding Thu 02-Jan-14 15:32:46

Oh, and only 30 mins to London for days out etc.

Clutterbugsmum Thu 02-Jan-14 16:49:10

I live in Luton (stopsley area) and it still has a nice feel about it, people are friendly. I agree some areas of Luton are a bit grim (like most towns have dodgy areas). If you stay Stopsley/Hitchen side are nicer then the other side od Luton.

DramaAlpaca Thu 02-Jan-14 16:52:45

Another vote for Leighton Buzzard. We lived on the Linslade side of the town many years ago & agree with FruitSalad that it's great for young families.

rightsaidthread Thu 02-Jan-14 16:59:15

Another vote for Stopsley area, decent schools and good selection of shops.

CambridgeBlue Thu 02-Jan-14 17:14:53

Bedfordshire is really underrated imo - but I'm biased as we live here smile I like the proximity to London and the motorways but also the beautiful countryside which I don't think many people expect. We're in a nice small village with lovely walks on our doorstep but can also be in decent shops, cinema, theatre, sports facilities etc in less than an hour - best of both worlds!

Admittedly Luton is not great and I know a lot of people don't like Bedford - I'm quite fond of it especially around the river - but even the posher counties have their dodgy towns.

OP if you want to PM me about this area feel free, we've been here for ages but I'm originally from Norfolk (via a few years in London) so I can imagine how you're thinking!

LibraryBook Thu 02-Jan-14 20:36:25

Harpenden or Hitchin. Or if you like village life how about Kensworth or Caddington or Wheathampstead or Redbourn? But Harpenden is best. It's a brilliant place to live with small children.

Happypiglet Thu 02-Jan-14 21:50:28

I live in a village to NW of Bedord and really rate Bedford and surrounding villages!
I grew up in Leighton Buzzard which is also great. Went kite flying on Dunstable Downs today what a magic place... Yep love Bedfordshire!

Quenelle Fri 03-Jan-14 13:42:03

£200k wouldn't get you much in villages like Shillington, Gravenhurst, although they are all lovely.

Would you consider a new development? If so look at The Wixams on the A6 just before Bedford. Luton is 20 mins south on the A6 from there. And it will have its own station on the Bed-Pan line opening in 2015. The school is rated good and due to convert from lower to primary in the next couple of years. Houses are starting to be resold there now so you wouldn't have to pay the newbuild premium.

ecofreckle Fri 03-Jan-14 14:31:22

You guys are very kind! Thank you everyone for your ongoing contributions.
So, I have set up a weekend from hell (heaven in my eyes normally, nosing around houses and dreaming of our new little life, but with a babe in tow and on a tight schedule.....eeek) and we are viewing 12 properties spread between Campton/Shefford in the south, all the way through to Market Harborough in the north. If any of you know the following areas and fancy giving me your opinion then please do; I provide links in case, like me, you are nosey. I will let you know how we get on after the weekend. Thanks for making this exciting rather than a drag. I love the sound of Bedfordshire now smile
Shefford end terrace cottage
Ravendsden thatched cottage
Finedon stone cottage
Rushden post war detached
Rushden bay fronted semi
Irthlingborough mock tudor detached
Irthlingborough three storey detached
Market Harborough semi
Campton opposite a MNer semi
Lbenham ex LA semi
Bedford Elstow 1930s semi

Thanks in advance for any inside info or heads-up about areas that you might have.
Thanks also for the most recent suggestions; sadly our itinerary for thsi weekend is now full, but maybe next time thanks

Trooperslane Fri 03-Jan-14 14:33:17

Agree Harpenden is beautiful but £££.

Welwyn Garden city or Wheathampstead.

No for Luton. Horrible. (Sorry)

Kitttty Fri 03-Jan-14 14:53:57

Why don't you rent somewhere for 6 months - then you will be living in the area and will be in the best position to offer as a chain free buyer.

How exciting. I wouldn't bother seeing houses this time around - would use my time to visit more different villages to decide where you want to live.

Would imagine that the best approach is to go as far north as you can.

CockBollocks Fri 03-Jan-14 14:59:39

We lived in Leighton buzzard (linslade too) for 3 years. Loved it, it's a short trip to Luton, Aylesbury and Milton Keynes. I did an evening class in Luton.

Lots of lovely countryside and nice schools. Would highly recommend.

Kitttty Fri 03-Jan-14 15:02:45

I always do a load of "drive bys" first - each time we have moved I have only seen 2 houses inside - although I have considered 20-30 online and as drive by....always location, location, location! I would imagine that your criteria is different now -- looking for family friendly activities/playgroups etc -- are you likely to still be in the same house when you child goes to school?

Kitttty Fri 03-Jan-14 15:06:07

looked thru your list above -- looks like you have loads of great houses to choose from within your budget which is exciting -- just need to get the nicest location.

Quenelle Fri 03-Jan-14 15:16:35

Shefford isn't the quaintest place in the world but it's ok. There is some nice countryside around it.

It has a good GP practice, and good middle/upper schools. Don't know what the lowers are like though. It has a small Morrisons supermarket, a few pubs, bakery, cafe, and a couple of Indian restaurants. It's not too far from Hitchin for shopping or a night out.

There has been a lot of new development in Shefford, it has increased in population quite significantly over the last 20 years.

I don't know Campton, apart from running through it on one of my circuits. It looks very nice, very quiet.

Elstow is practically Bedford. So it would be handy for all the things a large town has to offer, without the urban living. If you don't fancy a new development, look at Wilstead. It's opposite Wixams, just before Elstow on the A6 and maybe a bit more villagey.

vestandknickers Fri 03-Jan-14 15:21:23

Luton isn't great, but it is a nice part of the world. I grew up in Leighton Buzzard which is a lovely market town. Some of the villages are very pretty and there is some great countryside for walks/country pubs etc.

Happypiglet Fri 03-Jan-14 15:29:28

Whatever you do try the commute one week day morning if at all possible before deciding...when the schools are back...

zipzap Fri 03-Jan-14 17:30:06

If you're looking as far afield as Bedford and Market Harborough then it's worth looking at Milton Keynes too, especially on the motorway side for a quick trip down the M1 (plus there's a uni of Bedford campus here, not sure what subjects).

It's got some good schools (especially at primary - haven't got senior kids so don't know as much about that age). Excellent shops, good transport, loads of nice parks (both open country and kids play parks), plenty of stuff to do, nice local communities within the different areas in most places. Reasonable house prices. We've been here about 8 years and love it so I'm probably biased grin but I also have relatives near MH, one of whom used to commute down near here, so I do know the area around there and I do feel very glad to have ended up here rather than there!

ecofreckle Fri 03-Jan-14 19:42:26

hi zipzap. interesting what you said about market Harborough. Why are you so glad you are not there? is it because Milton Keynes is so great or because Harborough is so bad? Please do let me know because literally everyone who has mentioned market Harborough has said how naice it is....maybe that's the
problem? Thanks for your insight

Fridayschild Fri 03-Jan-14 20:38:10

My dad worked in. Luton. We lived in hitchin, chosen almost solely on the basis of good secondary schools. That was 20 years ago of course.

Coconutty Fri 03-Jan-14 20:42:04

Woburn, Pitstone, Tring are all okay.

South MK is great for families and good schools too, also not too far from Bucks grammars.

Undercoverme Sat 04-Jan-14 19:41:52

Hiya, hope you had fun today! My dh wondered why I waved to a stranger! Lol. Best wishes, melissa

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