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What's wrong with High Wycombe?

(32 Posts)
NatEdwards76 Tue 22-Apr-14 22:08:52

Hi There, we currently live in Hillingdon and are looking to relocate slightly further up the M40. We've been looking at Flackwell Heath, Wooburn Green, Farnham Common, Hazlemere, Chesham and High Wycombe. We want a house with a nice view in a nice friendly neighbourhood and within reasonable reach of St Michael's Catholic School in South High Wycombe - which we hear would be a good school choice for our 8 year old boy. I work in Uxbridge and my hubby works in Wembley Park so the commute needs to be easy. We've been into the centre of High Wycombe today and it all seems quite nice. We've driven around a few streets, very hilly - but all quite civilized! Why does it get such a bad reputation? I didn't see anything to be concerned about - are we missing something? The house prices seem reasonable - can someone please tell me if there are areas to avoid (and why?) Would be so grateful for any helpful advice!
Many thanks indeed! :-)

compleat Tue 22-Apr-14 22:48:27

There is nothing wrong with High Wycombe as such. I would just say that there are nicer places around High Wycombe to live. I think Flackwell Heath is the best bet for people moving to the area. Do you already have a place at St Michaels? I think the main problem with High Wycombe are the catchment areas which is why I chose a village with a very definite catchment area.

ladypenelope123 Mon 16-Jun-14 17:06:52

I would avoid actual high wycombe it's self, go for a village just outside such as flackwell heath or Wooburn green is nice but the Bourne End end not Loudwater end! Bourne End is really nice too but a little more pricey as closer to the river.
Or have you looked at Downley Village? School is good. It's more West wycombe and would be easy access to m40.
Hope this helps x

HalsGal Tue 29-Jul-14 10:06:58

I think High Wycombe has an undeserved reputation based on some very specific parts of it. All the places you've mentioned (and the others) are fine. Perhaps avoid places like Totteridge...

OooNew Sun 03-Aug-14 10:21:50

I am also in the same situation NatEdwards. We currently live in SE London with our 3yr old and 20mth old. I just want to move somewhere nice with good schools that allows my husband to commute to London Victoria.

I was thrilled after viewing a house on Hamilton road in high wycombe recently. But whenever I research high wycombe online I feel a sense of doom!

I don't really know the area - is Hamilton road bad?

Is flack well Heath wooburn green and other nice areas served by buses to train stations?

I've noticed there is a bus service between high wycombe and hazelmere holmer green and amersham.

Thanking you in advance for any help.

BucksWannabee Fri 22-Aug-14 22:43:58

Need to change my name - am not longer a BucksWannabee, as I now live in the Terriers area of High Wycombe. (Not far from Hamilton Road, in fact.)

OooNew, I know exactly where you're coming from. We moved from SE London a month ago after looking over quite a wide area, and in the end we just decided that the "horrible High Wycombe" stories were just a bit overblown. We live on a leafy, quiet road with large houses and long gardens, our neighbours are lovely, and I'm still not terribly far from the station for commuting into London. I'm sure the surrounding villages are lovely, but I didn't want to pay such a premium for a smaller house/garden and a much longer daily commute.

cherrygirl59 Thu 25-Sep-14 13:38:57

Hi Bucks Wannabee,

Welcome to Wycombe! My husband and I picked Wycombe 2 years ago because we could buy a lovely house and be close to family and London, Oxford and pretty countryside for the weekends without the high price tag and semi detached housing that comes with living around Wycombe. It's definitely on the up and becoming 'gentrified' as people start looking for affordable family homes outside of London.

How did your search for schools etc. go? My first is due in three weeks so I'm doing the rounds visiting local nurseries. Bit concerned about primary schools so would love to chat about those if you've been looking too. We live in Booker but would be in the catchment area for Sands, Cressex etc too.

BucksWannabee Fri 03-Oct-14 23:29:19

Hello, sorry I've only just seen your post!

We've finally got all of our children into the same school - not one of our preferences, but given how high demand is around here I can't say I'm hugely surprised. I just keep reminding myself that research indicates that the most important factor in primary school learning is the parents...

Our children are in Hamilton, which has just got a new head who's making sounds about turning the school around. Time will tell, I guess.

You must be close to having our baby now, if you haven't already!

cherrygirl59 Sat 04-Oct-14 11:17:24

I think that will be our plan as well, but hopefully in 5 years time primary schools in Wycombe will be just that bit better. Still waiting on baby, any day now!

Somethingtodo Sun 30-Nov-14 09:26:56

Education, transport links and town centre shopping are brilliant.

Tho in HW town centre there are not any decent restaurants or pubs worth going to and it there is not a chattering classes pre-school yummy mummy cafe culture. (usual chains Wagamamas, Pizza Express etc in town)

But all you would have to do is pop down the hill 3-5 miles in any direction to Marlow, Beaconsfield, Penn, West Wycombe, Old Amersham etc for a taste of that lifestyle - incredible countryside, picture-postcard villages, stunning restaurants and chi-chi shops....BUT there is amazing period character housing stock for peanuts in HW - and this is not an option in the out-lying villages ....

I think "Horrible High Wycombe" is pure snobbery from people who can afford £1-2m properties in surrounding villages. Fine for them -- but as said before sad for those in the up to 500k bracket who choose to avoid HW to live in hideous 60's miniature shoe boxes outside of the town.

I think it is like any big town - (Watford? Croyden?) - perfectly acceptable but not chi chi

BucksWannabee Wed 03-Dec-14 10:30:46

Actually, there's quite a cool restaurant right smack in the town centre, if you count "cool" as the sort of thing that would be crowded with fashionable 20somethings in London. Bluegrass BBQ is very much in the footsteps of the huge food trend for American junk/comfort food (e.g. burgers, ribs, pulled pork). Their ribs are the best thing there, but I was generally pleasantly surprised on the night we went. It seemed to be rammed with nice uni students drinking American craft beers.

Having just moved, I couldn't help but notice the parallels to the London neighbourhood I just left, which is gentrifying at a blinding rate and has also just opened its first American soul food/posh burgers/craft beer pop-up.

The London rule for the past 10 years has been: as prices shoot up and professionals move into less desirable areas because that's the only place they can afford a desirable house, the less desirable areas have become cool/trendy. Look at Peckham - it's the new Dalston, which was the new Shoreditch, which was the new Clerkenwell. I am now wondering if house prices are now so mad that the effect will spread this far out, especially now that Bicester is going to be a new garden city which will attract London commuters!

Somethingtodo Wed 03-Dec-14 17:06:09

What parts of the town do you see as up for gentrification Bucks and why?

cherrygirl59 Thu 04-Dec-14 15:48:18

Baby's here now and we see signs of money being put into town - the new Next in Booker is going to be a flagship store including garden and homewares, and the development by the Handy Cross and Leisure Centre looks impressive and on a big scale. Just about everyone knows the Waitrose effect (where they build a Waitrose house prices will improve as it's a sign of becoming affluent)and there will be one there.

Somethingtodo Thu 04-Dec-14 18:02:53

Are they building a Waitrose in HW? Big out of town retail park does not say gentrification to me - says industrialization - this will have zero impact on residential property.

BucksWannabee Thu 04-Dec-14 22:22:45

What's your angle, Something? Do you live in HW?

Imissclubeden Thu 04-Dec-14 23:03:33

I've lived here (villages and for a bit in town) on and off my whole life, for my sins.

I'm not sure how building a Waitrose on the Junction for the M40 will help bring house prices up? Not a criticism or anything, I just don't see how it could? John Lewis didn't have that impact... If anything, I would say that the increase in traffic on Junction 4 will knock them down!

Knowing WDC, they would use any subsequent traffic problems as a way to justify the new entry/exit slip on to the M40 as that's what they really want. That will send the prices near to the slip road plummeting, along with reducing the villages around it into even worse commuter rat runs than they already are.

If WDC put as much thought into developing the town centre properly, as they do into the out of town shopping areas (which isn't a lot, tbh) then the High Street would not be in the sorry state it is now.

I don't think High Wycombe is becoming 'gentrified'. The 'worse' areas of HW are still just as bad as they ever were and the infrastructure cannot support the number of houses. It has always been a commuter town, that's nothing new and is the reason that the villages are as expensive as they are.

In fact, I would say that the opposite is true of High Wycombe. I find it quite sad to see. I feel like the town centre is slowly collapsing in on itself and that the town is a mess of ill thought through, rash planning department decisions. Sorry! Though the shops in Eden are better than they used to be in the Octagon/Chilterns smile

That said, if someone wants to try and convince me otherwise then I willing to listen. I live in hope that this place will improve! It's probably hard to be objective when you've been somewhere for a long time...

Imissclubeden Thu 04-Dec-14 23:07:36

That wasn't meant to be such an essay blush

Somethingtodo Fri 05-Dec-14 10:04:46

Imiss - spot on - exactly my angle fleshed out in detail. I have lived nearby and have used HW daily for the last 20 years. I see no evidence of gentrification of residential areas -- just expanding industrialization around retail (for benefit those outside of the town - which as you say will have probably a negative impact on house prices). I think it will soon be like Watford - retail parks, roads etc - chopping up the original residential communities.

BucksWannabee Sat 06-Dec-14 00:47:41

Why do you want to see house prices go up? Aren't they high enough these days?

The potential of High Wycombe is that it's affordable enough for someone under 40 in a professional job to buy a house AND commute into London - where a lot of the high-earning jobs still are. Those are the people who've been driving gentrification through all sorts of bits of London that are grottier that High Wycombe, but now those crap bits of London are charging 700K+ for a 3 bed house.

A trend isn't what happened 20 years ago, it's what's happening now and will continue to happen. And the trend is for young professionals to be pushed out of London and into places they can afford to buy houses in. When they arrive, they tend to expect the middle class amenities they left behind - and eventually, they follow.

I agree, the original locals will not be part of the change. That's one of the down sides of gentrification - richer people move in and change the neighourhood, even though the poor are still there.

Imissclubeden Sat 06-Dec-14 10:33:38

I don't think anyone wants house prices to go up any further, we are already in an area where the average house price is 20 times the average local salary. The only place in the country to have such a ratio. We were just responding to cherrygirl's Waitrose effect comment (or I was, anyway).

I was simply disagreeing with the gentrification that you have seen. I don't think it's any different now to how it's always been. Wycombe has always been full of people who work in London or the surrounding areas and choose to live in the suburbs. It's always been a commuter town, this is no different. As for these 'middle class amenities', what are these that we've been missing all these years? I'd love to know.

Gosh, I hope I will manage to cope once these rich people come and live here hmm.

Somethingtodo Sat 06-Dec-14 15:41:37 looked to me that YOU were the one rubbing your hands in anticipation of gentrification of HW = raised house prices from your post in Wednesday. I am still interested in which of the neighbours in HW you believe is in the up?

BucksWannabee Sun 07-Dec-14 14:12:50

Oh never mind. I can see I've upset the two of you, which wasn't my intention.

NatEdwards76 Mon 08-Dec-14 11:35:04

Thank you all for your input, I really appreciate the time and effort you have all put in and it's sparked some interesting discussion. I've not been put off at all. I've been shopping a couple of times to High Wycombe and I like it. I'm keeping an eye on the housing market and just waiting for the right property to come up. fsmile

compleat Tue 09-Dec-14 22:38:52

I said it before and I'll say it again. The problem with High Wycombe is the schools. If you can get in to one of the good schools then fine. But, for instance, Booker is affordable but the school isn't great.

The grammar school system also causes problems. Fine if your child passes but if not then the catchment school is Cressex, again, not great at the moment.

I live 8 miles from HW and use it all the time but I wouldn't live there for that reason.

If you can afford it then choose Flackwell Heath or the like. 15 minutes to parked and on the train with a 25 minute train to Marylebone. Two good schools. Nice place.

High Wycombe and gentrified ain't ever gonna happen.

Somethingtodo Wed 10-Dec-14 09:01:43

Google the following:

Child sexual exploitation - High Wycombe
Human trafficking - High Wycombe
Terrorism - High Wycombe

- not sure if this is reflective of the average situation in the average town.....

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