Move to Bishop's Stortford - should we do it?(17 Posts)
We are a family with 3 kids (7,5,2) moving from south east london to Hertfordshire. Crave SPACE and secondary schools and do Bishop's Stortford seems like a wise move. We would put ourselves into the catchment area for Hockerill/Herts & Essex etc and no doubt have to get on waiting lists for certain primary schools.
But after doing all that, will we like Bishop's Stortford? Anyone made a similar move?
Should we move to a village instead? Then save for private? That's our other option... but my husband's commute would be worse...
Any pearls of wisdom?
So do you want to live in a city, in town or a village? Why BS? There might be other locations convenient for schools, commuting and more affordable.
I live local and if I was moving to this neck of the woods now I would probably choose Saffron Walden as a place to live. Less frenetic, more attractive, good secondary school. Ok, the commute would be a pain but maybe worth investigating?
Is your husband's work near Liverpool Street? The commute is good if you can walk to work from there but a faff if you have to travel onwards IMHO
Bishops Stortford is nice, but Saffron Walden is really lovely - the surrounding villages are beautiful and as someone said before, the way of life is a little slow and more peaceful. If your commute is through Liverpool St, SW isn't too much extra from Stortford, but it's worth the extra few minutes in my opinion. I grew up there and loved it. If you do go for Stortford though, definitely worth looking at the villages in that area too!
So do you want to live in a city, in town or a village?
This is the most important question to ask yourselves ^.
Because if the answer is 'a village', then you'll accept the additional commuting time as part and parcel of your choice. If you really like to have a pavement outside your house and the amenities of a town or small city then village life is not going to suit you - wherever it is.
If you do consider a village look very carefully at the individual criteria for the good secondary schools in your area if you decide to not go private, they all vary!
Really analyse carefully whether you're a city girl or not. I lived in that area very briefly and found it didn't suit me at all. Felt trapped and stifled, felt like I spent my whole life either in the car or on the train; ferrying kids about; hated the lack of diversity and (what felt to me to be) the cosy blandness of the place and couldn't wait to get back to London. Having a bigger house and (slightly) more money was lovely, but it didn't compensate for going quietly insane.
OMG are you me? We have friends that did this 2 yrs ago - just got their sons into their target secondary. We actually sold our place with the intention of doing the same but because we weren't in a target primary and didn't get into the secondaries on the selective criteria (small music and sport entry for some) and the private our DC got into was going to be more expensive than the one locally, we rethought and stayed.
The secondary schools really are excellent. The thing you need to be aware of is that getting your children into them takes A LOT of maneuvering; they take a certain percentage from a number of primaries across the area, plus distance to the school counts. You could find yourself compromising A LOT on the house in order to be sure of achieving this. If you are near us in East London you will also find that the property prices in BS are the same if not higher, which was a bit of a shock. Higher commuting costs, if you need to go into town.
All of that said, we are still weighing it up for various reasons to do with my younger DC. Someone suggested Saffron Walden - also know people who moved there and LOVE IT. BUT make sure you move near Saffron Walden County High (I think it's called). And the commuting costs to London will be even higher.
PM if you want to discuss more - anything else will be too identifying.
Sorry I've just seen your SE London. Depending on where prices may still be similar to us in E London.
Thanks everyone. It's so tricky as we know there will be a compromise - it's just deciding what to compromise on. I'm pretty much half town, half country girl having grown up in both. If it's a village, no more than 10/15 mins from the station and a bit going on and if it's a town it has to have excellent schools we feel.
Think we have two options. Max out on our house budget (so could afford proper space/garden) in BS and make sure we are near Herts & Essex /Hockerill etc (lovely Edwardian houses by station or Cricketfield Lane areas). OR move to a village like Manuden, Clavering and spend a lot less on a house, husband longer commute but then have a fund started for private secondary.
So it's private secondary but compromise on the house/commute. Or aim for excellent state secondary and as good a house as we can go for (and then perhaps move out later once kids have got in).
Not exactly third world problems. I'm coming from East Dulwich... love the sound of Harpenden but we just would outgrow a house there very quickly so Bishop's Stortford seems the better - perhaps wiser? - option.
OVienna I LOVE Saffron Walden too but we are slightly out off by the commute. And yes - the county high has a two mile radius and I think they are cancelling their sibling priority rule, or so I hear.
I'm dreading getting them into primary school as places at the same school are unlikely so envisaging a term or more of ferrying around until waiting list places come up.
I just want to know there will be friendly people in Bishops Stortford!
Oh and husband commute is to Blackfriars....
Thanks so much all!
Don't set your heart on hockerill. There were 700+ applicants for 68 day places this year.
We looked at Manuden too. Excellent primary if you csn get in. School doesn't feed into the BS schools which you may know. I have a friend in Sawbridgeworth who has not found the area particularly welcoming but I believe these things depend to some extent on individual circumstances and luck. I recently net another person who couldn't do enough to try to help us out. I have has a couplevied weird experiences with estate agents there but don't want to post openly about this. PM me if you want to know more. Bishops Stortford College seemed a lovely school abd my DC got a scholarship offer there. We just couldn't get the housing to work ' our costs would have risen which wasn't what we were looking for!
Bishops Stortford to Blackfriars is a bit of a pain. Once at Liverpool Street you've got to get the Circle Line which isn't as frequent or reliable as other lines or get the Hammersmith and City to Farringdon and walk down. I'd be more inclined to a slightly smaller property in Harpenden as the commute is much better and the schools are excellent. It would save your husband about 25 minutes each way and is a less stressful commute as no need to get on the tube.
Are you only considering places North of London? Blackfriars could be potentially easier to get to from Surrey or Kent. They are many towns with lovely schools and houses too.
My son was offered a place in Hockerill through aptitude test. We are moving from New York and looking to buy a place. Any advice would be appreciated. We are not quite sure we have made the right decision here, so any positive reinforcement would be good
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