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After 10 years of renting, young family opts to buy a countryside retreat

Couple and young daughter are first to buy and first to move in

With 52% of consumers wanting to improve their work/life balance following the pandemic, there have been increasing numbers of people relocating to bigger homes and more green spaces – particularly as working from home becomes the new normal. One family that has done just this are Ayo Adigun, Wariara Waireri and their daughter, Tobi, who previously rented a two-bedroom apartment in Maidstone. They have now bought a spacious three-bedroom house at Dandara’s Willow Grove, Collier Street development.

Ayo, Wariara and Tobi were the first buyers and the first people to move into Willow Grove in October. Ayo, a principal electronics design engineer, and Wariara, a senior manager in international development are both currently working from home due to the pandemic. They are appreciating the additional living space a larger property affords while enjoying the tranquillity of their new countryside surroundings. The move has not only allowed them to be more productive with work, but also find more balance with family life.

Ayo says: “The garden was a big draw for us, the property overlooks a meadow which provides amazing views and lots of privacy. After the first lockdown, it was important for us to live in the countryside and have that escape and fresh air right on our doorstep – especially with a young child.

“The move couldn’t have come at a better time as Wariara and myself are working from home more than ever and we needed the extra space. We have made one of the rooms into a study which works perfectly.”

When life does return to normal, Willow Grove also benefits from appealing commuter links such as fast access to the M20, A21 and M25 motorways. London is also accessible by train in less than 40 minutes via Paddock Wood station, which is only five miles away. These links will not only be useful for future work commitments, but will enable Ayo and Wariara to see family and friends with ease.

Ayo continues: “We have rented in Maidstone for 10 years and we’ve always known we wanted to buy in the area, but it has been a long search to find the right property. After looking around Willow Grove, we felt it was the perfect fit for our young family as it is spacious and surrounded by beautiful countryside, which is exactly what we were looking for following lockdown. We also felt like we could trust Dandara, which made all the difference. Dandara has a very personal approach and kept in constant communication with us, which made the whole process a lot easier.”

Louise Norman, associate sales & marketing director at Dandara South East, says: “We’re so pleased that Ayo, Wariara and Tobi were able to finally find a home they loved and to have them as our first residents. The layout of the homes at Willow Grove is perfect for those needing more space to work from home, so it is no wonder it attracted Ayo and Wariara.

“The development is now more than 50% sold and is proving popular with families as well as first-time buyers. Buyers are coming from as far afield as London, reflecting a shifting of priorities following lockdown.”

Willow Grove is in Collier Street, between the popular villages of Laddingford, Yalding and Marden. It’s perfect for those that want the best of both worlds in an idyllic corner of the ‘Garden of England’. Aside from the nature and fresh air, the area benefits from an array of local farm shops. There’s also the Yalding Farmers Market which is ideal for food lovers and only sells produce from within a six-mile radius; craft breweries; vineyards; specialist butchers and countryside pubs.

Ayo adds: “We love the community spirit in Maidstone, it’s a very safe area and we have friends and family close by. The local area has everything we need within easy reach. There are excellent schools for Tobi that are just down the road and lots of activities for her like horse riding and cycling, as well as parks nearby. It’s a very convenient and family-friendly place to live!”

Paddock Wood and Maidstone offer a range of independent shops and cafés. There are a wealth of shopping and leisure opportunities available with Bluewater Shopping Centre and Ashford Designer Outlet less than an hour away. The area is particularly popular with families looking to buy due to the five Ofsted-rated ‘Good’ as well as notable grammar schools nearby including: Maidstone Grammar School and Invicta Grammar School within a five-mile radius.

Prices at Willow Grove start at £535,000 for a four-bedroom home. For further information, or to arrange an appointment to view a show suite, call 01892 621 852 or visit


David Buckley

Dave Buckley is a career journalist. “I once went painting girders for a week and discovered I didn’t like heights,” he says. “Apart from that it has always been journalism for me in one form or another.” Past local weekly publications he has worked for include: the South-East London Mercury* covering the Borough of Greenwich as a junior reporter; Orpington-based News Shopper as a sub-editor; and the Kent Messenger when based in Larkfield, Maidstone, as deputy chief sub-editor. He has also worked for the following dailies/nationals: Daily Express, Today*, News of the World* and Hong Kong Star*. All those marked with an asterisk no longer exist (trend emerging?). He owned and edited a Thailand-based property magazine before returning to England and currently works as a production editor on a car fleet magazine. His first foray into property ownership saw him move from London to Rainham (the Gillingham, Kent, variety). He has subsequently lived in Chislehurst, Petts Wood and Orpington in the Borough of Bromley (which he still regards as being in Kent). In more recent years he owned three different properties on the Kings Hill (West Malling) development.

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