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Hoping to buy in Kent this year

(35 Posts)
leeloy88 Mon 15-Aug-16 15:29:54

We are looking to buy our first home. We both live work in Canary Wharf and want a good base to commute door to door under 1 hour into central London /Canary Wharf for work. We just got married but are planning for expand our little nest. Call me crazy but I wanna make sure the area we move to will have good independent school and grammar school, yes I like to plan well in advance!

Our budget is <550k and realisticcally <500k.

We both also prefer new homes as we are so inexperienced and too busy and won't want to do extra work on the house.

I've been looking at Dartford (the Phoenix Quarter by Barratt), Greenhithe (St Clements by Bellway) and Tonbridge (Sommerhill by Redrow). And we are continue to look more, but its just so exhausting as we live a long way away (central London) and it's disheartening to drive all the way to Kent and spent the whole weekend there but still unable to find anything that make us fall in love with sad.

Can everyone give us some suggestions on which area etc would be much appreciated.

allthebestplease Mon 15-Aug-16 19:49:21

Are you driving to canary wharf then north Kent (but areas and school not very good).
If train then go to Tunbridge Wells, Sevenoaks, Tonbridge plus surrounding villages.
If you drive you'll have to face the delights of the Blackwall Tunnel (yuk).

leeloy88 Mon 15-Aug-16 20:20:17

no driving, we dont want to deal with morning rush hours stuck in traffic, congestion and parking will make it not worth it.

We definitely want to take train.

Dartford has some good schools isnt it. What are people view about Dartford? I like its proximity to bluewater shopping centre.

Also with our budget (500-550k) it doesnt look like we can get a very nice place in tonbridge or sevenoaks, even though sevenoaks really is our preference.

ByAllMeansMoveAtAGlacialPace Mon 15-Aug-16 20:28:57

We moved to dartford a year ago from south London. I go past Phoenix quarter every day and envy those houses!

The commute from dartford is ace, so many trains and always get a seat. It takes me 45 mins to get to Charing Cross but I expect you'll change at lewisham for the DLR?

Dartford is by no means, the nicest town in the world but for commuting and value for money, you can't go wrong. I do prefer greenhithe though. BUT, both areas are not without their issues traffic wise at rush hour. If you bought at Phoenix quarter or Clements lakes you'd be walking to the station. I also love being close to bluewater.

leeloy88 Mon 15-Aug-16 20:35:50

Hi ByAllMeansMoveAtAGlacialPace, thanks for your insight, the phoenix quarter indeed looks very nice and I think clements lakes looks even nicer nicer. Could you let me know why you would prefer greenhithe? i drove to check out the station and it looks like it's in a middle of no where with no town centre (unlike dartford) so maybe I drove the wrong way.

ByAllMeansMoveAtAGlacialPace Mon 15-Aug-16 20:51:23

Personally, because it's closer to bluewater!and also doesn't seem to have such a bad rep as dartford. When I've mentioned to colleagues that I live in dartford, a few turned their noses up. confused the town centre is a little run down but there are still some good shops. My advice would be to visit the town centre on a Saturday to see what you think....
My parents live in Longfield which is about 20 mins away but much nicer (in my opinion) and they've commented once or twice that dartford is 'a bit rough round the edges'.
Some of the people are a bit...<insert politically correct word for chavvy> but having lived in south east London before it doesn't really bother me.
I've been off this last week, I've taken myself into town, stopped at costa to meet a friend, browsed the shops in prospect place, then walked into town and did a little shopping. The park is really lovely in dartford. On Sunday we drove for about 25 mins and had lunch in the countryside, stopped by a farm shop to pick up something yummy for dinner. Bought fruit from the side of the road etc - we really love living here now. It's actually a really good location for so many different things. Drive to Heathrow and gatwick and absolute breeze. Really close to ebsfleet for the Eurostar. If you're down at the weekend, book a table at the horse and groom pub in Wilmington!

ByAllMeansMoveAtAGlacialPace Mon 15-Aug-16 20:52:47

Greenhithe station is a bit further to walk, it is served by the local fastrack buses though and a lot of new builds often include a free annual pass. The Bridge at dartford certainly does.

Londonexhile Mon 15-Aug-16 21:09:21

High speed from Ashford into Stratford?

MrsHowardRoark Mon 15-Aug-16 21:12:35

This development is just outside of Tonbridge. An easy drive to Hildenborough station and 40 minutes into London Bridge. There's also a commuter coach to canary wharf.

marvelhero Mon 15-Aug-16 21:55:48

I'd chose greenhithe over Dartford every time tbh. There's a new development by blue water called the lakes or similar? School places are a bit dodgy in dartford and greenhithe simply as the primaries haven't caught up with new builds in the area, but it's getting there. Grammar school wise it's easier to get a place at dartford or Gravesend than any of the Tonbridge area ones in my experience.

Do you have to be walking distance from a station? There's a newish development still being built on in Northleet/ebbsfleet (Springfield park I think) which is good for high speed connection (but not so good for canary wharf as wrong side of river)

If you're not needing to be walking distance to station, I'd look at areas like Bean, Long field, New Barn tbh. Cobham is good as well (sole street station)but goes to Victoria station line wise. Same as meopham.

Florin Tue 16-Aug-16 03:37:27

I would avoid the Dartford area like the plague and I would include the Bluewater area in that too. Definitely not somewhere I would want to bring up children. I personally would stick to the Sevenoaks/Hildenborough/Tonbridge/Tunbridge Wells and surrounding villages area. If being near Bluewater is important to you it is only about 20 mins from Sevenoaks and Sevenoaks has a great commute. You can definitely do Canary wharf door to door from central Sevenoaks.

Mumble29 Tue 16-Aug-16 08:53:02

We are in Greenhithe and I commute into Canary Wharf everyday, it's an ok commute, I'm usually in work in just under about 50 minutes. We've been here 8 months and the area is ok, not the best but we moved from East London so definitely an improvement on that! I can't comment on schools as dd still goes to school in Canary Wharf and travels in with me, but from what I can tell the schools in Greenhithe are very over subscribed. There are no secondarys actually in Greenhithe either as so nearest would be Dartford.
To be honest this is our first house and all we could afford, hopefully in a few years we can move, if I had your budget I would look at Wilmington.
Sevenoaks and Tonbridge ect are lovely but will add time and money on to your commute if that's an issue.

Mumble29 Tue 16-Aug-16 08:56:25

That was meant to be in 50 minutes not just under grin

Freshairatlast Tue 16-Aug-16 10:41:06

Hello leeloy88,
I fully understand why you only want to look at newbuilds; I've renovated a couple of houses in the past and it is certainly disruptive and can drag on for a long time - exhausting when you have a demanding job. However, the area doesn't have a lot of choice when it comes to newbuilds and you will be missing some great locations. Would you consider a house that has already been fully renovated? If so, villages such as Wilmington (as mentioned in earlier replies), Swanley Village, Farningham and Eynsford might have something in your price range. Wilmington, is the largest and has the Wilmington Grammar schools which are very good, the other three have nice little primary schools and are more rural. Swanley Village (not to be confused with Swanley) is very small so not always much available but it is local for Wilmington and the excellent Dartford Grammar schools, Leigh UCT (a specialist engineering school) and the Bromley Schools. (Swanley to Bromley by train is less than 10 minutes). Eynsford and Farningham are also close enough for all of the above and may have more choice. The old village part of Bexley could be a good option although it is officially Greater London and less rural. The villages are very pretty and lovely places to live yet so close to London!

MrsSparkles Tue 16-Aug-16 21:15:58

Have you thought of renting for a bit to firstly see if you like the area and secondly to have time to look? We did and it actually worked really well - we had time to look for a property that we really liked, and as it turned out we hated the area so we bought somewhere else!

breddi Wed 17-Aug-16 07:34:12

We are also considering moving to Dartford from East London due to the price affordability there. Our preference is for around the station so I can commute to London for work.

Our budget is around £300k. We are considering the new homes in - Weston Homes (Langley Square), Bellway Homes (Oakes Park - and Barratt Homes (Phoenix Quarter).

Has anyone got any views on this side of the area of the station? Is it safe to walk in this area at night? Is there any public transport option after say, 7pm?

Please advise so I can make an informed decision.

Ilovenannyplum Wed 17-Aug-16 07:59:59

I live in Crayford which is the next town along from Dartford, there is absolutely public transport after 7pm, trains run until midnight-ish and there are frequent buses that run quite late that go in various directions.

I would say your pretty safe walking around town, I would feel comfortable getting off a late train, walking over to the bus stop and waiting for a bus home.
There are lots of shops, nice park, close to bluewater (yay!) Darrent Valley hospital also close by.
It's not a very long commute into London and you can be in 'proper' Kent countryside pretty quick too.
Yes, some parts aren't quite as nice as others but you get that everywhere

ByAllMeansMoveAtAGlacialPace Wed 17-Aug-16 08:15:18

Breddi a friend of mine has bought in Langley square, it's lovely! All of those new builds are lovely imo and great location for the station. The train service to and from dartford is excellent. Actually far better than when I lived in south east London!

There are buses - around that area the fastrack A and B run, if you walk round to the train station you can start to pick up some red 'London' buses etc. The new builds you've mentioned are the ideal location for commuting and if I had to buy again in dartford then that's where I'd buy.

breddi Wed 17-Aug-16 08:20:52

Thank you, that's definitely reassuring for us.

I was more concerned about - getting a bus from dartford station to the central road as even google maps indicate that it is a walk-only option anytime, and the road seems to be a very narrow one. And there are many workshops/depots etc around that. Not sure what the area is like now, am just seeing google maps.

If you pass through the central road, can anyone please advise how it is during dark times of the day?

Many thanks

breddi Wed 17-Aug-16 08:24:04

Furthermore, I was also worried about how kids can walk through those narrow roads safely?

Also what's the best chance of getting a good school around Central Road area. I see most good schools are oversubscribed there?

ByAllMeansMoveAtAGlacialPace Wed 17-Aug-16 08:37:46

Honestly the walk is fine. There is a short cut to the station to cut down the walk. I don't know if there's a bus route down that road though. Can't help regarding schools I'm afraid. I know a little about the grammar schools as my nephew goes to one and loves it but don't know anything about the primary schools.

ByAllMeansMoveAtAGlacialPace Wed 17-Aug-16 08:42:04

The one thing I'll say re transport in dartford is that the A and B buses are not part of the London bus network so you have to pay for them. A monthly adult ticket is £55 but in that location I wouldn't bother, I'd walk as its minutes away from the train and into town, you can pick up a red London bus from the station to get to bluewater though . The local taxi service is dire but you can pick up uber easily now and at the train station there are always plenty of black cabs.

breddi Wed 17-Aug-16 08:49:05

Thank you very much

breddi Thu 18-Aug-16 10:54:10

Has anyone been through the Central Road lately? Any feedback on the area of DA1 5BG post code?

Bellway are going to build houses there, which we are interested in. Can anyone please advise their experience of going around this area so we can make an informed decision.

Many thanks for your time.

breddi Mon 22-Aug-16 12:25:00

We went to the Central Road in Dartford yesterday. I think we liked it.

However the only concern seems to be the industrial estate next to the road which has the likes of Aviva Bus Garage, UPS etc.

Also I saw many new homes were already built by Barratt and Weston Homes site too just next to the road.

Does anyone have any views on how the future market prospects of this area is going to be...especially in the wake of Brexit. I don't want to get into negative equity.

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