Why it's time to move to Sawbridgeworth
PUBLISHED: 12:57 03 February 2012 | UPDATED: 21:00 20 February 2013
A picturesque town with plenty of amenities - Pat Bramley discovers the reasons people are moving to this east Hertfordshire town...
FAST communication links to London and Cambridge and excellent state schools are the main draws for commuters choosing Sawbridgeworth when they are looking for somewhere to live.
Paul Donovan, managing partner of local estate agent Wright & Co, says there has been a threefold increase in the number of incomers who have moved to the village because of the good transport links in the 25 years hes been there.
He says, There are two types of people who live in Sawbridgeworth: those from families who have been here for generations and commuters working in London or Cambridge moving out from places like Epping and Buckhurst Hill. By far the majority of this second group are city workers because of the reliable train service into Liverpool Street from the mainline station and the easy journey by car into Canary Wharf.
It says a lot for the friendliness of the locals that the estate agent refers to Sawbridgeworth as a village although if you judge it by the quality and variety of its amenities and the fact that the population is now in the region of 8,000, its probably more accurate to say its a small town.
Rail: Stansted Express service from the mainline station is highly rated for its reliability. The journey into Liverpool Street takes 40 minutes.
Road: Junctions 7 and 8 of the M11 are about 15 minutes away by car. Commuters can drive into Docklands in 50 minutes. Sawbridgeworth is five miles equidistant from the larger towns of Bishops Stortford and Harlow.
Air: Stansted is seven miles down the road.
Highly regarded Leventhorpe School is a big attraction for families moving out from towns closer to London. The state secondarys recently built pool and gym are open to the public. There are three state primary schools in Sawbridgeworth plus three private schools all within a five-mile radius so there is plenty of choice whatever age the children are.
The River Stort flows through Sawbridgeworth so you can stroll along the waterside and admire the boats. Nearby beautiful Pishiobury Park, owned by the National Trust, is popular with walkers and ornithologists because there are large tracts of woodland. Theres also a car park go for the day and you wont have far to lug the picnic basket.
The village or town if you will has a really good selection of specialist shops and pubs and restaurants. Its all rather high end. One of the pubs The Gate even has its own on-site micro brewery.
As for clubs and societies and special interest groups, theres more or less the full complement. The golf and country club has a very swish leisure complex, the cricket club is one of the best in the county and if you enjoy the theatre, there are two theatre groups. Both are good but the youth theatre group has a particularly enthusiastic following.
No piece about Sawbridgeworth would be complete without mentioning its two most famous residents: Posh and Becks. The footballer and his fashion designer wife have always supported local good causes. They can count on being among friends when theyre at home on their country estate. Sawbridgeworth folk think the Beckhams are the best kind of celebrities.
How much to live here?
Paul Donovan at Wright & Co says property in Sawbridgeworth has always been fairly expensive but it makes a good investment.
Heres roughly what you can expect to pay:
One bedroom flat either on the riverside or in a conversion of a Victorian building at Old Maltings: 125,000
Two bedroom terrace: 180,000-220,000
Three bedroom 1960s/1970s semi: 250,000
Four bedroom detached in a small close: 400,000-600,000
Individual house on Pishiobury Drive, the best road in town: Well over a million. The agents have just sold one for not far off the 1.95m asking price.