Any Sussex people out there?

(17 Posts)
catlitterinmyturnups Thu 07-Jan-16 11:11:17

We're in the very early stages (i.e. not even house-hunting yet) of considering a move back to Sussex. My husband and I know parts of the county fairly well as we lived in Brighton for 7 years after uni and worked (and got married) in Lewes. Been in London for almost 13 years now, but many of our most cherished friends are Sussex way and we miss them.

My husband currently commutes from Ewell West to Kings Cross, and I work part-time freelance from home. We have two children age 6 and 3.

We're planning a house-swap soon with friends in Hassocks to get a feel for the area, and the commute.

I rang the Hassocks infant school who basically laughed and said not much chance of getting places for the kids - more likely to be allocated a school in Burgess Hill and sit on waiting list for who knows how long...

To be honest this alone is putting me off!

Any thoughts or advice or experiences of being a Hassocks newcomer? Would Burgess Hill be a place to try looking? Back in my Brighton days it didn't have the best reputation, but perhaps that's changing/changed? Are there any other commutable locations we could look at? Husband doesn't want to return to Brighton/Hove itself, and to be honest our budget probably wouldn't get us what we need - we'd have about £460K and would have nothing spare for renovs. Lewes might be an option.

Any help appreciated. Did post this in local talk but not much traffic there, it seems.

Madblondedog Thu 07-Jan-16 11:16:45

Hassocks has a reputation as being amazing for young families so therefore draws more in. Burgess Hill, from what I know of it is quite middle class (Waitrose and the like) and your money will go further than it will in Lewes. Maybe go down at a weekend and have a wander around so you get a feel for the area.

Lewes is beautiful but expensive. If I could afford to live there I would though but we'd massively downsize to do so!

HelpfulChap Thu 07-Jan-16 11:18:39

Anywhere between Crowborough and Uckfield.

Nice area nice people and good schools.

The Uckfield line is undergoing major improvements and will be done by the end of Feb. Much cheaper than the Brighton line as well.

catlitterinmyturnups Thu 07-Jan-16 11:25:56

Thanks guys. If we do the house-swap will defo take a trip to Burgess Hill to look around. Don't think I've ever been. Am guessing the likelihood of getting a seat into London on the train from there would be zero though? I used to commute from Brighton to White City years ago and it was a bun fight then.

And good to know about the Uckfield line improvements - thanks for the heads-up!

HelpfulChap Thu 07-Jan-16 11:27:39

You always get a seat at Uckfield, Buxted or Crowborough. It is a struggle thereafter though.

catlitterinmyturnups Thu 07-Jan-16 11:29:09

Great - thanks! Will tell husband 😁

Madblondedog Thu 07-Jan-16 11:44:31

I like Uckfield, no real reason other than it "feels" nice. Couldn't tell you about train seats, although I do know that when all trains went wrong because of the high winds last year (or maybe the year before) Uckfield was still operating a route into London

catlitterinmyturnups Thu 07-Jan-16 13:48:58

Thanks, Madblondedog and HelpfulChap, so good stuff to follow up on here.

catlitterinmyturnups Thu 07-Jan-16 13:49:27

* some

CityDweller Thu 07-Jan-16 17:16:25

I think Hassocks schools are outstanding, right? Hence demand for places. I'm not a fan of Hassocks myself, feels like it's stuck in a 50s time warp! But, it's definitely the train line you want to be on if DH is commuting into Kings X as it's on the Thameslink route. Is school places the only thing putting you off Hassocks? If so, and if I were you, I'd hold your nerve and go for it. And call the local council to get a proper sense of where there are school places, rather than taking the word of the people at the school you spoke to (who are less likely to have the complete picture of where does and does not have places in the area). A school run to Burgess Hill, or Ditchling, for e.g., for a year or two isn't the end of the world.

Uckfield has more going for it as a town, IMO, not least a lovely 3-screen independent cinema. But, the train line even when 'improved' will still be slow, infrequent (compared to routes through Hassocks) and goes into London Bridge, so will be a long, and not particularly pleasant, commute for your DH.

Lewes is lovely. I'd live there in a shot if it worked for my commute. But houses are expensive and the train line again is not ideal for your DH (goes into Victoria)

CityDweller Thu 07-Jan-16 17:18:47

Just had thought that another area to consider is around Haywards Heath. HH itself not all that inspiring, but some nice villages around (e.g. Lindfield).

And the other town that seems to draw people from London is Horsham. Not sure about trains from there, but the town has plenty to offer, including good schools, nice park, swimming pool, etc, and, of course, Waitrose!

catlitterinmyturnups Thu 07-Jan-16 19:14:53

After chatting to my best friend this morning (who is admittedly a bit biased towards the idea of us moving), she said if you really want it you should hold out for it, despite the school situation.

My daughter is in Year 1 at an outstanding school here, so am just nervous about upping sticks and finding ourselves allocated something less good with a school commute to boot.

BUT if it happens, this move would be about being closer to old friends and amongst like-minded people. It's about long-term gains. Here we have a perfectly fine existence, but after 3.5 years I still can't shake the feeling that the area is a bit 'meh' and beige. Both my husband and I work in creative jobs, and there's little in the way of culture locally - although we're 35 mins in Waterloo so can head into town for that. It's nice to be able to get out into the countryside easily, but if we were near Brighton we'd have the culture, the Sussex countryside AND friends.

you're right, going Lewes/Uckfield way would be an awful commute to Kings Cross. Best to stay Hassocks/Burgess Hill/Wivelsfield.

For me, Haywards Heath or Horsham would negate our reason for moving and just land us in another commuter town that little bit too far from the friends I'd like to be able to nip to the pub with at the drop of a hat 😄

BikeRunSki Thu 07-Jan-16 19:22:25

Hurstpierpoint? Would probably need to drive to Hassocks station though.

I know nothing about schools in Sussex, but my mum's family is from Hurst and I spent an awful lot of time there as a child 30+ years ago, and I loved it <rose tinted glasses>.

catlitterinmyturnups Thu 07-Jan-16 19:26:58

Hurstpeirpoint is definitely on the list, but apparently the traffic is terrible at rush hour between there and Hassocks... Have friends there too so will double-check with them!

BikeRunSki Thu 07-Jan-16 19:31:43

My grandfather cycled <even rosier tinted glasses>

AdventureMathematical Thu 07-Jan-16 21:27:36

We moved from out of greater London to the top of east Sussex and it's lovely, I have always thought that the countryside is a great place to bring up children and personally I would say that the environment should compensate for a slightly less good school (in the eyes of ofsted at least). Maybe have a chat with some local schools and see if any are a good fit for you. I would strongly advise you check the commute. It's the worst part of living here to my mind.

catlitterinmyturnups Thu 07-Jan-16 21:35:56

Yes, commute is key! Plan turns to poo if it's not doable, so DH kind of holds the cards. We'll know more after the house swap. In meantime, am trying to suppress excitement and tear myself away from Rightmove.

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