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Hitchin or Letchworth????

(35 Posts)
Azzurro Sun 19-Jan-14 11:31:40

Hi there,
Can anyone local comment on pros and contra of Hitchin and Letchworth?
I am primarily interest on where is best life with a child aged 3 and beyond....nurseries, schools, recreational activities, entertainment for the family, sport facilities, shopping (mainly food) etc.
Dh and I will relocate to that area in Spring....houses look cheaper in Letchworth but there is so little "high street" life.....just read few data in Zoopla and Hitchin seems definitely better?
Thanks smile

beaglesaresweet Sun 19-Jan-14 13:09:48

just to say, watching with interest, OP, and have my own question - Hitchin seems so near Luton, isn't it affected by the noise??

Op, I think Letchworth is cheaper as it's a longer commute to london (I think 50-55min, whereas Htchin 30min, nearly half! hence more expensive and more lively too. I bet if your budget allows, or yo don't mind a smaller house, most people wd recommend Hitchin.

ginzillas Sun 19-Jan-14 13:18:41

Hi. I don't know much sbout Letchworth but just wanted to say that I moved to Hitchin last year and LOVE it. So much going on for families, nice town centre and brilliant commute into London. I've only been to Letchworth once and the centre is nowhere near as buzzy but there are some lovely houses and prices aren't as high as Hitchin obviously.

ginzillas Sun 19-Jan-14 13:20:14

Never been affected by noise from Luton in Hitchin. Dd loves watching the planes but they always seem quite far away. Not like when we lived under the Heathrow flight path in SE London....

Azzurro Sun 19-Jan-14 15:31:51

Thanks beaglesaresweet, I did not even think about the vicinity to Luton. And thanks gorillas for confirming it is not a problem! Great you like it, any good hint on which areas are the best? We saw few nice property on the north west to the station but checked the closest schools and the costed report was far from being good sad

Azzurro Sun 19-Jan-14 15:34:07

Silly auto-correct changed ginzillas into gorilla (sorry)

Alicelooksinthelookingglass Sun 19-Jan-14 16:50:29

I've lived in Hitchin and surrounding villages for 30 years.
There is no aircraft noise- we are in Pirton and nearer Luton but apart from being able to see Easyjet planes in the sky we don't hear any planes as they are too high in the sky!

Letchworth is IMo soulless- sorry if anyone lives there and loves it. It is a 'new' town and has no real character and the shopping facilities are tired to put it kindly.

Letchworth has a lot of expensive houses ( talking £1m+) which are lovely, but so does the better parts of Hitchin.

Hitchin is more upmarket, and has a more cosmopolitan feel- cafe culture, nicer shops, lovely Waitrose, but also cheaper supermarkets too including an Asda.

There is no cinema but you can get to the Leisure Park in Stevenage easily for that. Hitchin does have a small theatre and has a music festival every summer- Rhythms of the World.

There are nurseries in Hitchin and 2 single sex schools at secondary age both of which are oversubscribed. They are better than the Letchworth secs.

The best areas for property and schools are the Wymondley Road area where you are in catchment for Willian Ransom, and St Andrews in Benslow area. Mary Exton JMI is quite good- Oughtonhead and Wilshire Dacre are not.

Generally, the south side is considered better than the north, with the west side being 2nd best- Samuel Lucas school is ok.

Anything else, just ask!

ginzillas Sun 19-Jan-14 19:26:26

Azzurro we are near St Michael's Road. It's convenient for the station and in catchment for Mary Exton. It's quiet here but, after the craziness of living in zone two for years, it's lovely.

And I walk into town with the buggy in about 25 mins anyway. We also looked at period properties around Oughtenhead Way which were very pretty and closer to town. But we got a lot more for our money by coming out this end of town and we really love it.

There are loads of good toddler groups and I've found people to be very friendly and welcoming, on the whole.
I never thought I'd enjoy 'small town life ' but Hitchin is very cosmopolitan and buzzy. We're really happy here. I wish we'd made the move sooner to be honest!

LynetteScavo Sun 19-Jan-14 19:28:40

I thought this was Baby Names, Thank heavens it's not, because they would both be bloody awful.

<<useless post..

ginzillas Sun 19-Jan-14 19:42:37

Letchy for short....

MsGee Sun 19-Jan-14 19:53:00

If Letchworth you really need to be in catchment of Hillshott (tiny catchment) or Lordship (these are the best primary schools). The Lordship and Manor Park estates (for Lordship) are nice and a short walk from Willian (nice village, two great pubs and village shop).

Letchworth is a bit soulless - no denial but still has a good community. Commuting time nowhere near 50 mins. About 30 mins I think.

I much prefer Letchworth as its more compact and I love the pubs in Willian. Pm me if you want more details.

lisad123everybodydancenow Sun 19-Jan-14 20:03:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Azzurro Sun 19-Jan-14 20:53:12

Thanks so much for all these info, we used to live in Richmond (zone 3) and moved out before Dd was born into a tiny village in Surrey, we like the countryside bit but I feel too isolated and there is not much to we need to relocate we definitely want to be close to the countryside but have a bit more options around like shops/cafes/restaurant and a good connection into London.....hitchin has so few properties between £400k-£500k (classic 4beds detached) seems they come and go very quickly.....

Alicelooksinthelookingglass Sun 19-Jan-14 21:03:35

If you are open minded about villages then Ickleford and Pirton are lovely and near Hitchin. Both have play groups and good junior schools though the catchment for Ickleford is the Priory School for secondary children.
There is also Gosmore, Preston and St Ipployts.

beaglesaresweet Sun 19-Jan-14 22:42:38

MsGee, yes, sorry I'm confused it with St.Neots re commuting times, though there is a train that takes 48min, but also there are two shorter one (34 and 40 with one changeover).
I'm considering Letchworth, so could you tell me whether thereaer any bad parts, or is it all quite nice/safe? Is there a main High st., or anyother main street to look up with shops etc.? I hope it's useful for OP too.

beaglesaresweet Sun 19-Jan-14 22:43:21

should have been 'I've confused'

MrsJohnDeere Sun 19-Jan-14 22:54:20

Hitchin much nicer than Letchworth IMHO. No aircraft noise as its not in the flight path from Luton. Just the occasional helicopter flying into the RAF place at Hendon and dealing with the aftermath of accidents on the A1(M) - once/twice a week?

Azzurro Mon 20-Jan-14 07:38:34

Another good point raised, dh would commute to work with A1(m) and then M25 south/west, do you know if there are often problems on the road? I would be off on the A505 towards Cambridge.
I am up again for some exploratory time next Tue, going to spend some more time in Hitchin as opinion here seems to lean towards It (thanks all for such useful comments)

Alicelooksinthelookingglass Mon 20-Jan-14 08:33:51

Most of Hitchin is a bottleneck in the mornings heading out to the A1.
Being on the south side helps because then you at least avoid the traffic coming in from Luton and the north side- Henlow etc. Coming from Letchworth would be worse as you have more queues on the A1.

You still have to be prepared for nose to tail all the way to J7 A1 unless you use the back road to Codicote.

The A505 will be busy but not as bad.

There are houses in your price range- such as the new estate top of Benslow Lane, the Poets estate, outlying villages, etc.

Azzurro Mon 20-Jan-14 09:43:13

Many thanks, this is so useful! Sent this to Dh and will try it next week, spend night at friends and do the commute early morning and rush hours in the evening! I hope we will not be in for a bad surprise....

Quenelle Mon 20-Jan-14 12:32:00

There's nothing wrong with the Priory School. I have plenty of friends with children there who have done very well. It's also the only co-ed secondary in Hitchin if you prefer your children not to go to single sex schools.

Friends in Letchworth aren't too happy with the choice of schools, from infants to secondary. Although there is St Christophers if you can afford to go private and you like their ethos.

Letchworth does have some very nice houses but for some of them the Heritage Foundation's involvement can be restrictive if you're renovating or altering.

Hitchin town centre is much nicer to spend any time in than Letchworth. But the newly renovated paddling pool and playground area in Letchworth is fab and Norton Common is great. Hitchin's parks are nice but the playgrounds could do with some modernising.

I agree that the south side of Hitchin would be handier if you use the A1M a lot. But I've always preferred the centre and the north and west. I love the Willows estate and around the Grays Lane/Pirton Road area. I believe Samuel Lucas primary has or is due to expand to two form entry.

Ickleford is walkable from the town centre and station. It's lovely with nice pubs and a great primary school.

MsGee Mon 20-Jan-14 20:25:50

Sounds like you need manor park or lordship estate in letchworth given commute.

DH commutes to London and says it takes 30 mins on quick trains which are readily available.

If you're v interested in this area I can give advise re streets.

Areas to avoid in letchworth is mainly Jackmans estate I guess (although I know people who are fine there). Between lordship and manor park there is a wide variety of houses. For 450k you'd get something nice on manor park, well within school catchment I think.

On tues walk around the area near lordship farm school and have lunch at the fox in willian!

Azzurro Mon 20-Jan-14 20:39:21

Thank you so much! I am trying to make sense of all these info, now built my personal map on living room floor! Still all a bit abstract, apart from high streets cannot remember much from last visit! Street view in Google is very useful though! Also sounds nice we should get something decent within our budget!

MsGee Mon 20-Jan-14 20:41:27

If you look at google maps then Willian road to golf club is manor park - the other side is lordship estate. Some variation with lordship though.

Good luck!

olivemegmog Mon 03-Feb-14 07:22:00

Hitchin and letchworth are both great towns for families. I have lived in both. Hitchin has a lovely town as you say. I think letchworth town is improving..letchworth is great if you love outdoor life. It has a lovely common to walk around and near the town is howard park gardens- a lovely paddling pool in the summer for kids. You can stay there all day if the weather is nice. There are lots of groups in letchworth for families. Lots going on. I think mums are very friendly in both towns.
I think there are more ofsted rated 'good' schools for juniors in hitchin but there are no terrible schools in letchworth. Highfield school in letchworth is fast gaining a good reputation and I think they are completely rebuilding it soon...hitchin has good secondaries too.
So they are both nice...for different reasons. I like living in letchworth..if I want to pop to hitchin it only takes 2 minutes in the car!

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