More than three-quarters of office-based businesses in London expect their staff to spend at least one day a week working from home after the pandemic, according to new research by the London Chambers of Commerce and Industry. With flexi-working becoming the norm, one couple, Jeyhan D’jemal (36) and his fiancée Charlotte Tomkins (34) decided to make the move from Ebbsfleet to rural Staplehurst village in Kent, and recently purchased a four-bedroom family home at David Wilson Homes’ Dickens Gate development.
Jeyhan and Charlotte were living in a two-bedroom house in Ebbsfleet that they had purchased a few years ago, having previously rented a one-bedroom flat in nearby Belvedere, Dartford. However, after spending lockdown in what at times felt like a concrete jungle, Jeyhan and Charlotte decided to escape to the countryside and make the move to Staplehurst.
Jeyhan, who works as a Group Media Director, comments: “While it was convenient living in Ebbsfleet, there was so much missing for us, particularly the outdoor space and tranquillity we wanted to raise a family. During the various lockdowns last year, we had a massive change of perspective and realised how desperately we wanted to be in the countryside. We went for drives through Kent to explore different rural areas – we stumbled across Staplehurst by chance and fell in love with it.
“We had a four-to-five-year plan and knew we would move to the countryside eventually, but the pandemic accelerated this and we decided to just go for it. We were able to use Help to Buy and the stamp duty holiday which opened up opportunities for us to upsize into a really spacious home – without this combination we couldn’t have moved into a large home so soon. Now we have a future-proofed home that is suitable for children and can accommodate an office.”
Jeyhan adds: “Living within an hour from London was essential for us. The world is still navigating things post-pandemic, but I’m confident that life will go back to normal in the future and travel into the capital will be essential for me, even if only on a part-time basis. Staplehurst is only around an hour from Charring Cross so it’s an ideal commute.”
Natalie Perry, sales and marketing director at David Wilson Kent, comments: “Kentish commuter villages such as Staplehurst have risen in popularity over the past year, as buyers seek a rural lifestyle without compromising on transport links to London. As we gradually return to normality and city workers are likely to adopt a more hybrid approach to working, buyers are looking for more spacious homes to accommodate an office but still be within an hour by train to the capital.”
Alongside convenient links to work, Jeyhan and Charlotte were drawn to Dickens Gate’s wider plans which will include green open spaces and retained wildlife areas, with play areas and allotments once the development is complete.
Jeyhan adds: “The development is still a couple of years away from completion, but we can envision the final product and we’re really excited. There is a lot of green open space planned as well as play areas and allotments, which was a big factor in us deciding to move.
“Staplehurst itself is beautiful, and the local area really sold the dream to us. It has everything we need including shops, schools and the train station, but still feels very secluded.”
Dickens Gate is set in Staplehurst, Kent, with the village itself boasting a number of local amenities, including a local convenience store, shops, local pub, small library, butchers, international cuisine, a medical centre, and a Sainsbury’s supermarket.
The development is a 15-minute walk from Staplehurst Rail Station, from which London Bridge can be reached in less than an hour. Maidstone is around 25 minutes away by car via the A229, whilst Tonbridge is around half an hour away via the A229 and A21.
Currently available at Dickens Gate is a collection of three- and four-bedroom homes. Prices start from £382,995 for a three-bedroom semi-detached family home.
To find out more about Dickens Gate, or to book an appointment, visit www.dwh.co.uk or call 0333 355 8503.