Terry Glascoe

West Sussex – For The Best Value And Shortest Commutes To London

From Crawley to Burgess Hill, find good-value homes and great schools within less than an hour of London.

After the Second World War thousands of bombed-out Londoners were relocated to “overspill towns” dotted around the home counties of Sussex, Kent and Surrey. Today, many city dwellers are also being forced to relocate but this time by increasing property prices and the prohibitive cost of living in London to many average earners.

They need accessibility to the capital and are settling for Crawley, West Sussex, a town that grew in the post war period and where many Londoners were sent in the war when their homes were destroyed. Many set down roots in this new town and have since raised generations in the town or nearby areas.

Crawley property prices have grown by 45 per cent in the past five years as a new wave of buyers discover its value, driven primarily by its great transport links. It is this critical factor that has earned it the title of the ‘most successful commuter town in East or West Sussex’ in research carried out by Savills.

Crawley’s growing popularity is in part thanks to just a 40 odd minute journey to the central hubs of London at Victoria or London Bridge. The report by Savills listed it as the best-value option of sixteen locations studied.

Whilst being a typical post war ‘new town’, Crawley has constantly reinvented itself. A growing population has encouraged investment and infrastructure especially in leisure facilities. Crawley now boasts the fabulous Tilgate Lake, Go Ape adventure, paint ball adventures, golf courses and golf range, many playing fields & tennis courts, skate park and bowls as well Buchans country park which is on the way to Horsham.

The town centre is in the process of being re-developed. The outstanding K2 Sports centre features an Olympic size pool, climbing wall and squash courts as well as many outdoor facilities. There is a multi screen IMAX cinema and plenty of shops including some of the best-known brands on the high-street. There is a large range of eateries for all tastes.

Maidenbower, two miles west of Crawley town centre, is a suburb of older family housing where an average four-bedroom detached home currently costs about £450,000. Property in this area is likely to benefit from great countryside views from the nearby High Weald.

Maidenbower also has well respected schools making it a great choice for young families. Its infant school has an “outstanding” by Ofsted and The Brook School and others in the area have all received good reports.

Joint second in Savill’s survey was Christ’s Hospital, which is just 2 miles outside of Horsham. It has its own station, which is just one minute in to Horsham. It has some wonderful property including the popular Bluecoat development named after the iconic uniform worn by pupils at the historic school which dominates the area. Christs Hospital has an average price of £415000 for a 2 – 3 bedroom property.

It shared second place with Wivelsfield near Haywards Heath. Like Christs Hospital, Wivelsfield has typical Sussex architecture and a unique country feel. They are both only an hour by train from Victoria. As a result, both have seen property prices rise by 42 per cent in the period.

A home near the small but perfectly servicing Wivelsfield station currently costs an average of £324, 000. The station serves the local villages of Wivelsfield and Wivelsfield Green and has the essentials of a pub and small shop.

Burgess Hill is just three miles away is popular, reflected by prices rising 40 per cent in the period to an average price of £326,000 but still with an hour in to London. Burgess Hill is growing substantially with plans in place for many new facilities, shops and amenities, making this a great investment opportunity. With an Ofsted “outstanding” school, it also offers a great choice for young families looking to maintain a short commute in to London but also enjoy Sussex lifestyle.

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