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Renting - and having a baby! - in St Albans

(27 Posts)
KiwiPanda Mon 13-Jun-11 14:00:40

Hello, we're going to be moving to St Albans in September.

Firstly, we haven't managed to find the perfect house to buy so are planning to rent for a while, and I was just wondering if anyone had any recommendations for estate agents or places where private rentals might be available? I haven't rented for quite a while so I've forgotten how it all works, is it too early to be looking? Any advice welcome!

Secondly, I'm expecting DC2, and we will be moving fairly soon before it's due (mid-October). Have no idea yet how this works in terms of changing hospitals etc, so if anyone has any local advice on that too, please fire away, would be hugely grateful...

GreatGooglyMoogly Mon 13-Jun-11 14:08:51 has rentals as well as houses to buy and should cover most of the houses available as most estate agents list on it. HTH.

KiwiPanda Mon 13-Jun-11 14:10:10

Thank you - I have been looking on rightmove but I've also found a few random agencies who don't seem to use it (or update their properties on it, anyway..)

BellaBearisWideAwake Mon 13-Jun-11 14:16:51

Hosital would probably be Watford as QE2 is closing in oct. Stevenage is another option.

edoli Mon 13-Jun-11 19:15:06

Good luck with the move!

First thing to do when you get here is register with a GP and they sort out the hospital for you, and midwives appointments etc.

I didn't know QEII was closing- that's where I had DS2 and they were great.

juneau Wed 15-Jun-11 16:33:57

I live in St Albans and just had my DC2 at the birthing unit at Watford General - I had a great experience there. Really good hospital and lovely midwives.

As for renting - good rentals go fast. So if you see something you're interested in move quickly or someone else will. I'd target all the big estate agents and also keep an eye on rightmove.

porcupine11 Sat 25-Jun-11 22:20:33

We rented through Darwoods before buying, they were fine. I had DC2 in Watford, that was fine too! Best piece of advice is to join the local NCT eGroup nctstalbans (you just need a yahoo account) and ask questions on that - you'll get loads of helpful replies!

maccyD13 Fri 01-Jul-11 22:38:11

Hi Kiwipanda; sounds like we are in a similar situation. We too are moving to ST Albans end of Aug and renting. Baby 3 due Nov. We got a rental via local estate agent/ think it is best to register with them all directly. I am stressing about changing hospitals; and cannot seem to get a clear answer as to wether we shall deliver at Watford or QE2.....shall keep you posted once registered with a local GP!

Huchi Tue 12-Jul-11 22:00:37

And I thought, I was the only 1 who was going to have a baby and moving to St Albans!!

We moved quite a bit in England before moving to Belfast over 2 years back. We are now planning to move to St Albans by end of Aug as husband would need to work in London. We have a 3 yr old (2nd Sep 07) who is going to miss Reception by 2 days and second baby due in Jan 12.

We have been looking a various websites to find a nursery and rental property but haven't had any luck so far so planning to be in St Albans from Thur this week (14th July) for 3-4 days to sort out a nursery and rental property.

We are not worried about Secondary school at this point in time but obviously want to get our boy in good nursery and a Primary school next yr.

Any recommendations (based on above biography) on areas to live (or not live) would be really helpful. I have lived in Watford (actually Abbots Langley) before so hospital is not really a concern as of now. Many Thanks..

Spandy Wed 13-Jul-11 10:21:06

I moved here 5 weeks after baby no.1, rented a little cottage in bernards heath which i loved and the local health visitors picked me up once I'd registered with the Dr. I had no.2 at home (by accident but was booked in at Watford birth centre). Bought a house in marshalswick area for more space. It's totally suburban, but just brilliant with kids as you have local shops, library, doctors etc. Countryside a few minutes away and great schools, both primary and secondary. Frosts and Connells estate agents have local offices in marshalswick. I once rented with Darwoods and found them fine. Primary schools spaces are in short supply in the town centre (abboyne, st peters and maple in particular). Def join the local NCT - they're really active. There's lots of playgroups too and buggyfit in a couple of parks. Good luck!

BellaBearisWideAwake Wed 13-Jul-11 10:25:13

And I thought, I was the only 1 who was going to have a baby and moving to St Albans!!

I think that the majority of the population of Sr Albans has done this!

Huchi Wed 13-Jul-11 12:56:56

Thanks Spandy, any areas you think I should avoid? Was reading on some forums earlier today and some people seem to be suggest that Park Street and Camp Road are best avoided? Is the area North of the St Albans station better than south?

BellaBearisWideAwake Wed 13-Jul-11 12:59:41

Do you need to get to the station easily?

Huchi Wed 13-Jul-11 13:13:39

Husband would probably need to be in London 2-3 days a week so yes we would need to be within a mile of station preferably but they are so many variables (nursery, primary school, good affordable area) that he could possibly use a bike if we need to be further away...

BellaBearisWideAwake Wed 13-Jul-11 16:19:02

Marshalswick, bernards Heath and fleetville would be my recommendations

Spandy Thu 14-Jul-11 15:09:57

bearing in mind that pretty much any of st A is ok, I personally ruled out round Francis Bacon school (although it's becoming a sponsored academy so might get good), round the camp ( we wanted more space and countryside, although you do get lots of facilities in fleetville, more for your money and closeness to the station there), and round Margaret wix school... Feel free to ask about specific bits if you see anything interesting.

Huchi Sat 16-Jul-11 09:25:49

Thanks Spandy. We have now looked at around 10 properties and have interest in 3 of them in the descending order of preference:

a) London Road (near quality hotel) - the only disadvantages which I could think of for this one was the risk of our son not getting into Cunningham Primary and ending up in Francis Bacon and not having parks/countryside in very near viccinity
b) Dexter Close, Dorchester Court (AL1 5WD)
c) Bakers Close (AL1 5 FH)

I would really be greatful if any advise on these areas can be offered...Thanks

wonderwomania Tue 19-Jul-11 11:13:33


I would avoid London Rd due to local primary & secondary schools you would be in the catchments of.

Your other 2 choices put you in Cunningham Hill and Camp school catchments which are fine. Not sure about secondaries but I'm guessing that is years away.

Spandy Fri 22-Jul-11 10:57:41

Yeah - I'd second that. A friend if mine is very happy with Camp school and if you happen to be catholic, st Albans and st Stephens school's also just round the corner which is supposed to be very good. Plus you're near the station and Clarence Park, which has lots going on and is very nice. You're also near the alban way (old footpath) which is good for cycling and stuff I think. Good luck with the move!

PaulaMummyKnowsBest Tue 26-Jul-11 18:54:21

I am south of the town (st Stephens area) and although on the pricey side, it is lovely. Waitrose is a short walk away as are the primary and secondary schools.

There is a really nice community feel here and if you like walking, there are some lovely footpaths and bridle ways close by

You can walk into town in 20 minutes through verulam park (which is beautiful)

Huchi Thu 28-Jul-11 19:37:00

Just an update to all and thank everyone for your advise. We decided to go ahead with the London Road property (AL1 1JQ - close to Quality hotel) - would have perhaps avoided that if I would have read the last 2-3 comments!

On the primary school front, both Cunningham & St Peter's seemed to be quite close (particularly with " as the crow flies" measurements) so we assumed we would be safe? Do experienced people on the forum think that we might be pushed into Francis Bacon?

We are not catholics so St Albans and St Stephens was not an option for us. In fact, when we spoke regarding admission in pre-school we were advised that we stand very little chance!

PaulaMummyKnowsBest Thu 28-Jul-11 22:01:13

st peters has a very small catchment area so it is very doubtful you will get that.

Francis Bacon is a secondary school and although it has doesn't have agreat reputaion, it is improving

VitaEstBonus Thu 28-Jul-11 22:10:22

Did you know FB is closing and re-opening as 'The Samuel Ryder Academy', an 'all through' school.

Cunningham is an outstanding school and SS Alban & Stephen v good also, but if I were you OP, I'd go for Cunningham, as it's very close to London Road using a cut through.

Huchi Fri 29-Jul-11 07:51:15

Thanks PaulaMummyKnowsBest and VitaEstBonus - Cunningham is our first choice (crow flies distance - 700m). Just keeping fingers crossed to get through Rule 5 but as you folks said, we would not really have a 2nd or 2rd options as we will not get through St peters or SS Alban and Stephen so we are very constrained!!

For others on the forum, we called up the Council to find the cachment area and apparently their IT systems are being upgraded for "crow flying distances" and were advised to call back in early Sep.

Charlina Fri 29-Jul-11 21:39:05

hi everyone
reading this thread with great interest as we are looking at st a too! Have three children with eldest due to start primary next year. what is watling street like as a place to live??? and does anyone know anything about mandeville school? which are the most desirable primary schools/areas to live in?
and is that train line into london really only 19mins!!!???
thanks so much any advice gratefully received x

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