Family swaps 'inconvenient' village life for market town
At the end of August 2020, Sarah (45), her husband Alex (49) and two daughters Georgia and Evie (16 and 13), moved from a rural village in Wiltshire, to a new build home in the thriving market town of Marlborough.
Sarah is a primary school teacher at a nearby village and Alex is an architect. After looking at numerous properties, the Montague’s opted for a four-bedroom, detached home at Marleberg Grange, our popular community to the south of the town.
From country to town
The Covid pandemic has driven lifestyle change across the UK, with many more buyers opting to move from cities or urban areas to a village or rural location, for their proximity to green open spaces and better quality of life. In fact, Rightmove reported a 126% surge in demand from city buyers enquiring about village properties across June and July, compared with the same time period last year. However, the Montague family found the reality of village life isolating and inconvenient, encouraging a dependency on their car.
When asked why Sarah and her family were bucking the trend, she explained: “Living in a remote village was perfect while our two daughters, Georgia and Evie, were young, as we could spend lots of time outside together. However, when they became teenagers, I practically became a chauffeur, dropping them off at dance lessons every night, at school or friends’ houses, all while balancing a job as a full-time teacher. Similarly, if we needed to pop out and buy something from the shop, we had to get in the car and drive for miles, rather than nip out and walk, so we ended up driving everywhere and being in the car all the time. I found it encouraged an unhealthier lifestyle, unlike living in an established neighbourhood where we can walk everywhere.”
The pandemic has triggered fresh conversations around how our towns and cities should adapt to suit the shift in lifestyles, with the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) recommending the creation of ‘20-minute neighbourhoods’. The concept encourages residents to “live local”, whereby most essentials — work, shopping, education, healthcare, community facilities, recreation and sport — should be found within a 20-minute public-transport trip, bike ride or walk from home. Marlborough emulates many of these qualities, benefitting from an array of independent restaurants, cafes and shops, a twice weekly farmers’ market, good schools, and range of sports facilities and green open spaces.
Sarah and her family were keen on moving to Marlborough for this exact reason, enabling them to become less dependent on their car, use public transport to get to school, as well as shop and socialise locally.
Only a 15-minute walk to the centre of Marlborough, Marleberg Grange is ideally located for residents looking to make the most of its amenities. Sarah commented: “Moving to our new home has been great, it’s given my youngest a new sense of independence as she’s been able to pop out to the local supermarket on her own. We’re also able to go out for dinner or socialise with friends without having to drive which is a real luxury. We always enjoyed eating out in Marlborough and particularly love Dan’s Place, a local bistro.
“Despite moving to a town, we still have the Wiltshire countryside on our doorstep, with Savernake Forest down the road, three sets of allotments and the Marlborough Downs. I don’t feel as though our quality of life has taken a knock because we’re somewhere less rural, in fact it’s had the opposite effect because everywhere is so accessible.’”
A flexible home fit for family life
Sarah and Alex have lived in a number of second-hand properties, many of which involved significant renovation works. This time around, they were keen on finding somewhere which didn’t require any changes. When asked why Sarah opted for one of our homes, she explained: “The home is a perfect size, designed around family living, with an open-plan layout downstairs and four spacious bedrooms.
“We were particularly conscious of the liveability factor as my husband, Alex, is working from home full-time and my eldest is on a rotation at college, meaning she studies from home every other week. It meant we needed somewhere they felt comfortable working in as well as living in. Currently Alex uses the fourth bedroom as his private office, and then Georgia has multiple spaces downstairs to choose from, so the arrangement is working well.
“The wider community at Marleberg Grange was definitely a big draw for us, as there are a range of people living here of different ages and lifestyles, creating a really mixed community. We’re looking forward to getting to know everyone and fully settling into the neighbourhood!”
Marlborough is located midway between London and Bristol, close to the M4. London and Bristol are 75 and 50 miles away retrospectively. Direct trains from nearby Pewsey train station take just over an hour to London Paddington or 35 minutes to Reading.
Marleberg Grange comprises a range of three- to five-bedroom homes from our award winning Heritage Collection, inspired by the Arts and Crafts architectural movement of the 1930s. Heritage Collection homes benefit from open-plan and contemporary interiors, with high ceilings and integrated appliances. Whereas, exteriors are traditional, featuring gable ended roofs, porches and red or yellow brick exteriors.