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Recipe for house-buying success? Cut down on the takeaways

Couple saved hard to find their ideal home away from noisy London

Alfonso Enciso and Marcela Castro knew exactly what they wanted from their new home – a safe, quiet and spacious environment in which to raise their 22-month-old daughter Mariana. In the face of the pandemic, along with just less than 10% of London’s population, they left the capital, and found precisely what they were looking for at Fernham Homes’ Boughton Park development in Boughton Monchelsea.

“When we came to see the house for the first time, we liked the green spaces and the village itself and immediately fell in love with the surroundings,” recalls Alfonso, 42, who works as a web developer. He and Marcela, a 32-year-old graphic designer, were living in their first home in Lewisham, but with Mariana now toddling around and recent lockdowns highlighting the lack of space, they were keen to leave the city behind.

“Living in London has some advantages, but it is definitively noisy, and we wanted to move somewhere quiet and a little bit further from the centre of town,” explains Alfonso. With both successfully working remotely, looking further afield was straightforward, and with nearby Maidstone station offering services to London St Pancras in 51 minutes and London Victoria in just over an hour, commuting was still perfectly possible from a more rural location.

The couple chose the five-bedroom, detached Greenacres house type which comes with its own garage and two sets of French doors leading into the enclosed rear garden. “We needed a bigger place to raise our little one, and we liked the open plan spaces, kitchen, living room, bathrooms and garden. We liked pretty much everything!” 

With no help from family or Government incentives, such a big up-size wasn’t easy, however. “We did it all ourselves, saving hard by not going out and trying not to even order takeaways. We benefited a little bit from the stamp duty holiday, but it was really hard to save up enough for the move,” says Alfonso.

Freedom to roam

A few weeks after moving in, the couple are delighted with their home and their new surroundings. “We like how it feels like a small community when entering the development,” says Alfonso. “There are some parks around we’ve been to which are great. We feel more relaxed now that we have more space. Our baby enjoys running around the living room to the kitchen, going up and down the stairs and having freedom to roam about the house. She is really happy here, and so are we.”

“Boughton Park is definitely proving popular with families as the village primary school, rated as Good by Ofsted, is just a few minutes’ walk away and there’s a great selection of amenities on hand, including a playground, village hall, shop, post office and farm shop. Only a few plots remain available on the site, so we would urge interested buyers to get in touch as soon as possible.”

Paul Rosbrook, operations director at Fernham Homes

Fernham’s boutique Boughton Park development recently entered its second phase, comprising 10 three- and four-bedroom properties on the edge of the thriving village of Boughton Monchelsea. The area has easy access to the great outdoors for leisure and exploring, with nearby walks along the River Beult and the North Downs and the Weald of Kent close at hand for longer jaunts. Local eating and drinking possibilities include The Cock Inn, which has been pouring out ale since 1568, craft brewery Rockin Robin, and an award-winning restaurant, The Curious Eatery, in the village.

Boughton Monchelsea is popular with commuters, as Maidstone station is just four miles away, offering services to Ashford International (with onward connections to mainland Europe) in 32 minutes, as well as easy access into central London.

All homes at Boughton Park are now reserved, but there is still availability at Fernham Homes’ Downsview development in nearby Westerham, with prices currently starting from £695,000. Call 01622 230361 or visit for more information.


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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