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Advice please - moving near commuting distance of Leatherhead

(19 Posts)
peanutbuttercookies Mon 15-Aug-11 18:11:44

Dh has a new job in Leatherhead area which means living near his job and commuting home on the weekend but is fed up of traveling 5.5 hrs each way on a weekend. He said as we are renting that there's nothing stopping us from moving. I would love to move near so we can spend more time but haven't the foggiest idea of what areas are good and as we have a top budget of £1500 per month. Please can anyone give me some ideas of what areas are good and have good junior and senior schools but must be a town as cant drive at the mo. Thanks so much in advance smile .

sun1234 Mon 15-Aug-11 18:14:18

ashtead. I looked at this area recently and I liked The greville primary. Secondary schools are more difficult though, unless you move to Epsom (where your budget will be more of a problem...). There is Sutton Grammar though

sun1234 Mon 15-Aug-11 18:19:47

Having just made a nearly identical move, my best advice would be to find the school (places are incredibly hard to find and all the worse because of Surrey Admissions but you may be lucky with The Greville). Then register with every single estate agent. call them daily and make a good offer the second that you see the property you want.

Demand is vastly outstripping supply for rentals at the moment and things were going within an hour or two of coming onto the market when I was looking two months ago.

You should find out about the agents upfront fees and T&C too. Its a landlord's market right now and the tenant has nothing to negotiate with.

ChitChattingaway Mon 15-Aug-11 18:20:51

Have you tried Dorking? Ashcombe high school and St Martins and St Pauls Primary Schools are all pretty good. 1/2 stops to Leatherhead from Dorking.

peanutbuttercookies Mon 15-Aug-11 18:42:17

Thanks Sun1234 smile , Im off to have a look around the area next week and thanks for the the advice about registering with all the estate agents. Im just fed up with seeing him for a few hrs at the weekend. Will tell Dh about he school admission as had a hard time getting my DD into school here.

Hi chitchattingaway, will have a look Dorking, Thanks smile

Just seen a house while looking on rightmove in Crowborough, is it a nice area?

sun1234 Tue 16-Aug-11 08:55:43

Sorry I don't know Crowborough. I know how you feel though about having a DH who works away all week.

Surrey admissions won't process your application until you have an address, and obviously you would be crazy to sign up to a new house without having reason to believe that you can get a place(s) in a reasonable school. The estate agents are beyond useless with that sort of thing... they will imply that you only need to be in a catchment area and then they just make it up on where the catchment areas are, so don't take their word for it.

The only way i could find round it was to call the school offices and ask if they would have places if we were to apply through Surrey admissions? I must have called 100+ schools in Surrey and Kent and was told "no" every time, except 3 times (the Greville being one of those). It takes ages though ... you call the school office, wait for the person who knows about admissions to become available, listen to them explain how Surrey Admissions deal with it these days, plead for a clue on whether they would have places hypothetically, wait for them to get their list out of the file and then be told no. Then onto the next one. I was calling about 10 schools per day, even though I was working full time at finding a school. The ofsted website and the league tables on the department of education website were very helpful for this.

I tried Surrey Admissions but they take a couple of weeks to reply to emails and when they do, they mostly told me to get a contract for a house first and then they would let me know if any of the schools in the area had places (which they probably would not).

As soon as you find a school with places you have to go hell for leather to find a house and pay a deposit so that you can get your application into Surrey Admissions. But finding a house is not easy either because the sales market has dried up so people who would have bought are competing with you for the rental properties and even the overpriced rubbish is going quickly.

Our problem was that we needed somewhere commutable to London. If you don't then maybe you can consider the areas which don't have a fast train service and you may well find prices are lower and maybe there will even be school places?

SparklePrincess Tue 16-Aug-11 11:04:46

Crowborough is quite nice. But it doesnt have the best schools tbh. Its not exactly local to Leatherhead, (on East Sussex/Kent border) but more so than where you are at the mo I suppose. If you'll consider a little further out still as sun1234 suggested, then you do indeed find better value. Where I am in Heathfield its cheaper because we dont have our own station, but its only 10 minutes drive to Stonegate (which does) so not the end of the world. We have fabulous schools too. Check out Heathfield Community College on Ofsted. As were more rural if you lived in the area you would be pretty much guaranteed a place. Im selling my place to stupidly join the Surrey waiting lists, or start a v long school run shock so its something you may consider let me know.

Happy to advise on other local areas too. smile

nocake Tue 16-Aug-11 12:45:33

If he's travelling by train then the route south goes to Horsham so that might be worth looking at.

SparklePrincess Tue 16-Aug-11 15:27:45

Horsham is nice, not cheap tho. Burgess hill & Haywards Heath are a bit cheaper heading down a bit further.

sun1234 Wed 17-Aug-11 08:24:18

about the properties on rightmove etc: 90% will be off the market even though it shows they are to let.
They are advertised with a lead time of about two months before the move in date and they can go within hours. It is unusual for properties to be left after a Saturday and there's something wrong if it goes two Saturdays. However the agents leave them on Rightmove and the other websites until the contract is signed which usually happens a day or two before the new tenancy is due to start. So use Rightmove to get an idea of types of houses in an area and proximity to stations/ schools etc but don't assume that the individual houses are actually available, because they probably are not

duffybeatmetoit Wed 17-Aug-11 12:42:08

We moved to the Leatherhead area when I was a teenager to save my DF a 3hr commute each way. It was a huge culture shock as we found the locals unfriendly and obsessed with money. At school the first question you were asked was which street you lived on so that you could be pigeon-holed according to your perceived wealth. Lots of people with chips on their shoulders because they couldn't quite afford private education. It was hellish and couldn't wait to move away. I'd shorten the commute but not move to the area.

LondonSuperTrooper Wed 17-Aug-11 12:54:11

I personally would discount the Greville in Ashtead. I know alot of the Ashtead mums simply hate that school & I prefer West Ashtead.

It may be best for you to visit the school before deciding on a area.

good luck!

LondonSuperTrooper Wed 17-Aug-11 12:55:18

duffybeatmetoit Things haven't changed that much since your teenage years. Locals in Ashtead/Bookham & Cobham are obssessed with money!

sun1234 Wed 17-Aug-11 20:37:31

LondonSuperTrooper - your comments about the Greville just confirmed my worst fears... if there are places available these days then there is something wrong with the school! In the end, we didn't move to Ashtead so I didn't send my children to The Greville. I'm keeping all my fingers and toes crossed that the school I did find places in, is still good when I get to see it in action.
I wish there was some sort of internet review you could read about schools like you can about just about every other product and service these days (except legal services - the owner of that forum is being sued for defamation!).
I got it wrong with my Dc's last school as well. We had moved to the South East and the school seemed lovely with a really warm atmosphere and a dynamic head who was fast improving it. A year later, it was as clear as day that the improvements were all for show and that there was a very good reason that all the places had not already been filled!

LondonSuperTrooper Thu 18-Aug-11 07:40:41

Whereabout in Surrey are you based?

sun1234 Thu 18-Aug-11 08:02:54

I am in Woking now having moved a couple of weeks ago. I was really keen on moving to Epsom but with houses being taken within an hour or two of getting to the market, I just couldn't do it.

Chestnutx3 Thu 18-Aug-11 08:09:09

Bookham/Effingham. Howard of Effingham brilliant secondary school. If you can't drive Dorking probably a better bet.

Jojocat Thu 18-Aug-11 08:35:48

I think Dorking would suit your needs very well. It is a compact town with good rail links so you would not need to drive. There are several good primary schools and both secondaries are very good. It is only a few miles from Leatherhead with good transport links between the two towns.
Some popular schools have the odd place in year groups with a low birth rate. I don't know anything about the Greville school.

LondonSuperTrooper Thu 18-Aug-11 08:44:53

sun1234 Hope that your move went well. Fully understand why you discounted Epsom.

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