Parkland living in the expanding commuter belt

Beaulieu Oaks street scene landscape

Most of us are now re-adjusting to some semblance of normality, and while certain aspects of our lives are just as they were pre-pandemic, others have altered considerably.

Our attitude towards our homes falls into the latter category, as the effects of prolonged periods of time stuck indoors trying to balance working, home schooling and the needs of everyone in the household have led to record numbers of Londoners quitting the capital in search of extra space, bigger gardens, a better quality of life and more value for money

Estate agency Hamptons International has found that during the first half of 2021, Londoners purchased nearly 62,000 homes outside the capital, the highest half-year figure since records began in 2006. On average, movers relocated 32.1 miles away, and even with the flexibility to work from home, the majority were keen to retain links with the capital, allowing them to commute as and when they need to.

A brand-new home in a commuter village is the ideal choice for anyone thinking about leaving London, as you will slot effortlessly into a ready made community close to transport links, green space, schools and other amenities, and be able to settle in and get on with your life straight away

Beaulieu Keep Model Shoot

Countryside is delivering an array of outstanding developments across Essex that fit the bill perfectly. They are designed for today’s lifestyles, with light-filled interiors, room to work from home, tons of storage, open plan kitchen/dining areas, and a high spec throughout. The largest of these is Beaulieu, an entire new district on the north-east edge of Chelmsford, arranged around a former Tudor palace and its sprawling estate. It comprises a series of individual but connected neighbourhoods providing everything from one-bed apartments to five-bed family houses, and the comprehensive amenities include two new primaries and a secondary school, shops, sports and community facilities, plus countryside on the doorstep.

Chelmsford station – only a 35 minute commute into Liverpool Street – is a short drive, and a new station, Beaulieu Park, is scheduled to open in 2026. Three and four bedroom detached and semi-detached traditional weather boarded and contemporary houses are currently available at Beaulieu Keep, and Beaulieu Oaks, consists of classic terraced, semi-detached and detached three, four and five-bed houses in a variety of different layouts. With a mix of one, two and three bed apartments and two to four-bed houses, Beaulieu Gate caters for everyone from first-time buyers to expanding families

Mulberry Green is a small, exclusive scheme of spacious four-bedroom homes a short stroll from the centre of Hatfield Peverel, a pretty village that’s very convenient for the A12, which links London and East Anglia. A nursery, infant and junior schools, three pubs and the station are all within walking distance, and it has a cricket club.

Heading north, Meadow Rise is a parkland development south of Braintree and perfectly positioned so that purchasers can take advantage of all the town has to offer and enjoy swathes of green space to unwind in. It is made up of two bedroom apartments plus three and four-bed houses, and there are schools, designer outlets to browse at nearby Braintree Village shopping complex, and Braintree station is under a mile away. And now’s the time to visit The Paddocks, a mix of two to five-bedroom homes which has just launched in Cressing, a village between Braintree and Witham. There’s an abundance of green space and a new green and play area, and the village has its own station with direct services to Liverpool Street.

St Luke's Park in Runwell is a new village on a 200-acre site nestling in secluded, mature woodland yet only 40 minutes by train from London, giving residents the best of both worlds. The three to five-bed homes are surrounded by trees and residents have access to a delightful village green, and a nursery in a converted Grade II-listed chapel is opening soon. A new primary school, a community centre and an on-site shop and café are also in the pipeline.

Wolsey Park, in the historic market town of Rayleigh, is definitely worth a look. It’s only a short hop from the station, supermarkets and pubs but feels very rural with fields, landscaped play areas, footpaths and cycleways to explore. Further plans include education and healthcare provision, and three, four and five-bed houses are available.