Colchester provides London commuters with plenty of options
Posted 15 February 2016 by Fiona Brandhorst
Colchester is the oldest recorded town in Britain and for a time was the Roman capital and retains an army garrison today. It’s one of the fastest-growing towns in the country attracting London commuters, families seeking excellent schools and students attending Essex University based in the town.
Just over 50 miles from London, Colchester was recently judged the fifth quickest place to sell your home in the UK taking an average of 88 days. Its population is around 120,000 and it’s famously the home town of Britpop group Blur and X-Factor presenter Dermot O’Leary.
Journey times into London Liverpool Street take under 50 minutes on a direct train making it a very attractive proposition for those seeking a property with more space and value for money away from the capital. The town has three stations with Colchester North serving London Liverpool Street.
Colchester has a number of buildings of great age and character with a range of bustling cafés, restaurants, historic pubs and medieval shopping streets as well as three contemporary shopping centres. There are many independent retailers alongside high street names and it has its own award-winning independent department store Williams & Griffin. A market is held every Friday and a farmers market once a month.
The town’s Norman castle and museum and famous zoo are popular attractions, along with two theatres, an eight-screen cinema and the thriving Colchester Arts Centre. Colchester United Football Club is well supported and for those who enjoy green open spaces there is Castle Park and Highwoods Country Park. Annual events include the Colchester Oyster Festival held in the Town Hall.
The area boasts leading state and private schools including Colchester Royal Grammar for boys and Colchester County High for Girls. Philip Morant comprehensive and North Hill sixth from college are also highly regarded. Private schools include St Mary’s School for Girls and the co-educational Colchester High School.
A monthly season ticket to London costs £464.70 from Colchester (£4,840 annually) with the fastest journey time to London Liverpool Street 49 minutes. Trains to Chelmsford take 25 minutes (£198.20 monthly, £2,064 annually); Harwich International takes 26 minutes (£148.70 monthly, £1,548 annually); Ipswich takes 20 minutes (£165 monthly, £1,724 annually).
Colchester has exceptional road links. The A12 will take you to J28 of the M25 about 38 miles away while the A120 is around 32 miles from the M11. It’s around 30 miles from Stansted Airport and 20 miles from the passenger ferry port of Harwich.
Recent figures from the Office for National Statistics show a significant rise in housebuilding and employment in Colchester in the past two years, further reinforcing the town’s position as a major regional centre for jobs and economic growth.
Here’s a round-up of great new homes to buy in Colchester:
|Allevana Place (Bellway) - Less than 10 minutes from Colchester station, this is a collection of two-, three-, four- and five-bedroom homes on the site of the former Betts Factory. Ideal for first-time buyers, growing families and downsizers looking to benefit from the great location. Prices start from £244,995. Find out more at www.bellway.co.uk ; 01206 844 834|
|Lieutenant House (Taylor Wimpey) - An exclusive collection of just 17 stylish one- and two-bedroom apartments within a restored beautiful historic building in a sought-after location in the heart of Colchester, offering original features alongside modern energy-efficient measures. Prices start from £145,000. Find out more at www.taylorwimpey.co.uk ; 01206 581084|
|Dutch Quarter (SBLiving) – A unique collection of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments within the former Telephone House, expertly converted by a local family developer, in Colchester’s historic Dutch Quarter. Each home combines London style apartment living with stunning local views. Prices range from £170,000 to £395,000. Find out more at www.thedutchquarter.co.uk ; 01206 547341|
|Chesterwell (Mersea Homes) – Chesterwell is a beautiful development of three- and four-bedroom homes, situated in the desirable location of north Colchester, a growing community within easy reach of the mainline station. Four bedroom homes are available in the current phase. Priced from £370,000. Find out more at www.merseahomes.co.uk ; 01206 383159|
Rosewood (Crest Nicholson) - A contemporary, spacious and light-filled collection of apartments and houses located within the catchment area for some of Colchester’s excellent and close to Colchester North Station with direct trains to London Liverpool Street in just 48 minutes. Prices start from £224,000. Find out more at www.crestnicholson.com ; 0845 521 1985