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Why it's time to move to Hertford

PUBLISHED: 15:50 15 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:35 20 February 2013

With excellent schools, beautiful homes and the countryside on its doorstep, it's no wonder Hertford is a popular place

YOUNG professionals are moving out of North London to Hertford mainly because the county town of Hertfordshire promises a better quality of life.


Estate agent James Luton, director of Lanes Hertford office, previously lived in Enfield so he understands what motivates the newcomers. The schooling is excellent, the transport links are good, potentially you get more property for your money, theres less crime and theres a lovely feel about the town. Added to all that, theres beautiful countryside on the doorstep. What more could you want?


Property
The wide variety of property, both in age and style, caters for buyers across the income range with everything from studio flats up to mini mansions. One-bedroom purpose-built flats within 15-minutes walk of a station average 140,000; two-bedroom Victorian cottages in the Bengeo area of town fetch between 250,000-300,000; a three-bedroom semi in one of the good roads is likely to be 350,000 (if you can find one); four-bedroom detached houses can be bought for 300,000; but the four-and five-bedroom detached houses on the smart Foxholes development go for anything from 450,000-500,000. Further upmarket, youll pay anything from 1m-1.5m for one of the large houses built a century ago on one-acre plots behind Richard Hale School but the stakes rise yet again for the palatial six-bedroom houses on new developments. Once people move to Hertford, they tend to stay, says James Luton. You can move upmarket every three years. Currently theres a dire shortage of three-bedroom semis.


Getting about
The town has two mainline stations the frequent service from Hertford North gets London commuters into Moorgate in just over 40 minutes and trains from Hertford East get into Liverpool Street in 52 minutes.
The A414 Hertford by-pass links with the A1(M) to the west and, to the east, the A10 from where theres a straight run down to the M25.


Education
Co-ed Haileybury College is one of the leading private schools in England. The large majority of the 766 pupils are boarders.
The standard of state education in Hertford is also well above the national average.
One of the secondary schools is taking part in the BBC News Days project 11-14 year olds from Simon Balle School are being schooled by TV professionals to help them prepare televised reports for the annual news programme made by pupils across the UK you can see the results when the 2010 programme is shown on March 11.
Other popular secondary schools include Sele, a specialist centre for sport and performing arts and Richard Hale, the science college where Harry Potter star Rupert Grint, who plays Ron Weasley in the film, was a pupil until he left after taking his GCSEs in 2004.


Shopping
At the end of the first decade of the 21st century there cant be many county towns in the UK without an American-style indoor shopping mall. Hertford has that distinction and many want to keep it that way. Although the multiples have branches in the shopping centre, the town has an above average number of independent specialist shops and family businesses, also a street market every Saturday and a farmers market once a month.
A recent survey of Hertfords 262 retail units by the town council found that 15 per cent were restaurants, pubs and bars McMullens, the Hertfordshire brewery, has been producing real ales in Hertford since 1827; 13 per cent of the shops were hairdressers and beauty salons; clothes and shoe shops accounted for a further seven per cent and only three per cent were food shops and offices, although that may change if Sainsburys gets the go-ahead to build a branch on part of McMullens land. Tescos is currently the main supermarket. It was built on the site of the former Christs Hospital Bluecoat Girls School which closed in 1985.
At last count only six per cent of the town centre shops were empty.


Leisure
Hertford has a rich heritage which hasnt been lost to modern development. The River Lee which runs through the town was once vital to the prosperity of the area. Back in the 1800s, Hertfordshire was the main corn-producing county and it was largely thanks to the wharf at Hertford that farmers were able to send crops up to London the local ford was incorporated into the name of the county town in recognition of its importance,
Today the River Lee is an asset for the leisure industry. Even if you dont hire or own a boat to enjoy life afloat, its a simple pleasure which costs nothing to walk along the waterside meadows and watch the wildlife at close quarters.
Other than natural resources, theres a leisure centre with a pool, theres Castle Hall for a wide variety of entertainment, theres a skate park and a new gym which will be twice the size of the old one, soon to be converted into a dance studio. Theres even talk of Hertford getting a 21st-century cinema.

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