where to live, leigh-on-sea, thorpe bay, chalkwell or rayleigh?

(5 Posts)
lawdbrown Sun 09-Mar-14 00:26:03

Hi everyone,

My husband and I are looking to buy a house around leigh-on-sea, thorpe bay, chalkwell or rayleigh. We have a 2yo girl and want somewhere which is easy to commute to London, good primary schools or possibly private schools and overall a nice neighbourhood.

Out of these areas is there ones to avoid or areas within to avoid or focus to live? I heard that in Leigh-on-sea its best to keep south of the a13 and the marine estate is good.

Just to add but not to offend, my husband is a little bit of a snob so he would prefer to be in a upper area.

All help and advice much appreciated as we are looking to buy asap.

imperfectparent Wed 12-Mar-14 11:07:57

I always think it is better to rent first before buying. It gives you the added benefit of being chain free when you are ready to buy. That said, we may well be on the cusp of a new property boom so it is a risk staying off the ladder. All of the areas you mention have advantages but for my own part, Rayleigh would drop off the list as I prefer the seaside, especially with a toddler. You have the beach, Adventure Island, Sealife and so on. Thorpe Bay, Chalkwell and Leigh all have good properties near to the stations for the commute. I think the nicer parts of Rayleigh are probably a bit of a drive to the station. Leigh is great save for the parking with the exception of the Marine Estate. We live in Chalkwell and love it. Everything is walkable from our front door. Perhaps you should concentrate on schools as catchments are key if you are going down the state route. You need to live in Leigh to get West Leigh or North Street and stick to the key streets in Chalkwell for Chalkwell Infants and Juniors. If you are aiming at private and prefer St Michaels then it makes more sense to live in Leigh but St Hilda's, Saint Pierre and Crowstone are nearer to the Chalkwell end. I'm less familiar with Thorpe Bay. As for the south/north of the London Road thing, there are notable exceptions such as the lovely homes around Belfairs Woods. There are some rougher roads in Westcliff which have gone downhill in the buy to let sector. Good luck with it all.

We used to live in Chalkwell - just down the road from Chalkwell Hall Schools, and the park, and we loved it there - easy access to the park and to public transport links into the town centre, shops and library within walking distance up the London Road, and my husband could walk down to Chalkwell Station in 10 minutes, to commute into London.

I found it to be a very friendly area - I made some wonderful friends who I am still in touch with, even though I now live in Scotland - and everyone was very open and welcoming.

There are good pre-schools in Leigh - St Michael and All Angels is one we used - ds2 and ds3 went there and were very happy, and also Leigh Road Baptist church, where ds1 went - they also have mums and toddler groups, and when we moved to Southend, that's where I made my first friend in the area. I would definitely recommend the Leigh-Chalkwell area, and the Chalkwell end of Westcliff.

It is a bit of a way off for you yet, but there are good schools in that area - we were very happy with Chalkwell Hall Schools, and have heard very good things about Leigh North Street school (it is a smaller school, and very popular indeed). West Leigh School has a good academic reputation, but when we were there, it was known as quite a pressured environment, and not so good at dealing with square pegs in round holes. Darlinghurst school didn't have as good a reputation as the others I have mentioned, but we did look round it at one point (we were thinking of moving ds3 because of bullying issues at Chalkwell, but these were resolved to our satisfaction, so didn't need to), and I felt it was a school with a lovely atmosphere and happy kids.

Senior school-wise - that area has Westcliff High Schools (Boys and Girls - separate schools) and Southend High for Boys - Southend High for Girls is over in Southchurch. All of these are selective (11+), and have very good reputations indeed - ds1 went to WHSB, ds2 and his best friend to SHSB, and a very close friend's dd to SHSG - and all did do well there.

If your child doesn't pass high enough in the 11+ for these schools, there's Belfairs High school - a comprehensive that was good when we were there, and improving - and was embarking on a lot of new building. Eastwood School is also very popular.

There seems to be a very clear divide in property prices north and south of the London Road - with houses definitely more expensive south of it.

I would also recommend renting for a while - that's what we did when we moved up to Scotland, though we had to rent in the right area for the senior school we wanted for ds1 and ds2, whereas you could rent anywhere in the Southend borough, and would still be able to check out other areas of the borough (houses, parks, schools etc) easily.

lawdbrown Sun 16-Mar-14 20:03:44

Thank you imperfectparent & SDTGisAnEvilWolefGenius for both of your detailed replied, as I said before, much appreciated.

I went to Leigh-On-Sea yesterday and had an amazing time. The terrace cafe between Chalkwell and Leigh-On-Sea was lovely for lunch and we have decided to stick south of the London Road and West of Chalkwell.

Found one house we like but was on Thames Drive and was quiet on the viewing, but I assume it must get busy?

Thanks again,

imperfectparent Tue 18-Mar-14 09:40:09

Thames Drive looks pretty good but you can assume it will be busy at times. It is an obvious cut through to London Road and although drivers can use the adjacent roads, the traffic lights tend to steer you to Thames Drive. I've never seen it standstill busy and at the most their are only 5 to 6 cars waiting for the lights to change. Mostly it is cars waiting to let each other pass as they slalom around the parked cars. I have perhaps always preferred quieter roads but wouldn't consider Thames Drive a no go. I have friends in a neighbouring road and children often play out on their street as it is quiet enough to do so. That could never be said of Thames Drive but plenty of options around for children to burn off energy. There is quite a bit of green space to the front of Marine Parade with lovely views and room to run around.

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