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Community spirit high on the list for this couple

It was their first step on the housing ladder, but they weren't prepared to compromise on a sense of belonging

National statistics show that three-in-four adults (77.9%) are doing more to help others in their communities since the Covid-19 pandemic. A positive community spirit in an area has, therefore, become more valuable to buyers when choosing where to live.

Katrina Carson, a retention sales agent (32), Joe Williams, a web designer (27) and their dog Norman were able to move to an area within a fantastic community. They bought a two-bedroom home at Dandara’s Knights Wood development, on the outskirts of Tunbridge Wells, which they bought for £327,000.

Katrina says: “The established community at Knights Wood was a huge draw for us; everyone is so friendly and the neighbours are all willing to help each other. We were welcomed with doorstep drinks by ours when we moved in. The development itself feels really safe and has many facilities onsite including a new primary school, cinema, restaurants and a gym. The health club will be great for making friends with other residents. There is also a Knights Wood Community Facebook page which has been nice to interact with the neighbours and locals within the area to find out what is going on. Especially with the pandemic, it is great to feel part of a community online.”

Katrina adds: “Before buying in Tunbridge Wells we lived in a rented flat in the area.  We had been saving for a deposit for a year, but it was challenging because of paying a high rent. The lockdown period made us appreciate that we really wanted to buy our own home in this friendly area. We realised we could make the move sooner by using Help to Buy and put a deposit of £21,000 down.

“We drove up to the Dandara development a few times when the first phase was complete, as we always wanted to live here. It ticked all the boxes for us including: a friendly community, safe neighbourhood and a modern well-maintained property.”

Louise Norman, associate director of sales & marketing at Dandara, says: “Knights Wood is the best kept secret in Tunbridge Wells, so it is no wonder that Katrina and Joe fell in love with it straight away. We are continuing to see a shift in what buyers are looking for, with more space and a positive community spirit being prioritised. The location is perfect for first-time buyers just like Katrina and Joe who wanted to live in a friendly community. It is convenient for the station and the town centre while being surrounded by countryside and woodland.”

Back to Katrina who says: “The development is nestled among 150 acres of protected woodland. We really do have the best of both worlds living here. We love being able to get to the shops quickly, but also having the woodlands on our doorstep to go for long walks at the weekend.”

Transport links are also a big draw for buyers at Knights Wood. High Brooms Station is just a mile and a half away, which is perfect for London commuters. Southeastern offers a regular train service to Waterloo, Cannon Street, London Bridge and Charing Cross (40 minutes) and to Hastings. There is a regular bus service into the historic spa town of Tunbridge Wells itself. Knights Wood also benefits from having fantastic road links, with the A21 close by and easy access to the M25.

Katrina adds: “The location really couldn’t be better for us. Everything is within a short walk or drive away. When they reopen, Royal Tunbridge Wells has an eclectic range of chic, independent shops and thriving eateries spanning the High Street and the Pantiles. If we need to travel for work in the future, it is convenient that the train station is so close as well.”

Dandara prides itself on offering well-designed, high-quality homes, with many “extras” included as standard – from kitchens with integrated appliances to landscaped gardens. At Knights Wood, the homes have quality floors throughout, including tiling from Porcelanosa, Amtico flooring and carpeting. Every home also benefits from off-road parking, a car port or a garage.

Katrina concludes: “The house is fantastic for working at home because of all the spacious rooms and homely touches we have added. It makes us feel like we have been living here for years.”

Prices at Knights Wood start from £545,000 for a three-bedroom property. For more information about Dandara and its properties for sale visit www.dandara.com or call 01892 628 962.

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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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