Those planning to start a family who want to live somewhere with excellent school provision, great facilities and a strong National Childbirth Trust (NCT) network should consider moving to a new home in the North West of England.
The region emerged top of an index highlighting the best places for families to live in the UK, based on a combination of functional needs (looking at the range of local amenities) and emotional needs (the existence of supportive networks and communities).
For each area of England, the Family Friendliness Index, devised by PropertyDetective.com, looked at local schools, crime rates, facilities and a number of other key factors deemed to be important to parents and children.
For families looking for a brand new property in the North West, there are some excellent options currently available to suit a wide range of budgets, including:
Meadow View in Crewe, Cheshire (David Wilson Homes)
David Wilson Homes has a selection of three- and four-bedroom family homes in Crewe, situated within the catchment area of some great schools and close to Crewe train station for commuters. This modern development has been designed with families in mind, and the properties themselves are bright and spacious, all with gardens to play in.
There are local grocers, parks and pubs nearby, while Crewe's pleasant town centre has a great choice of cafés, restaurants and shops. The location offers an ideal base for exploring Cheshire as a family, including visits to beautiful Queen's Park, and quick links to the M6 for trips further afield.
Prices: From £199,995
Find out more on WhatHouse? ; 01702 416709
High Wood in Lancaster, Lancashire (Story Homes)
Approached via a tree-lined avenue, High Wood is an attractive development of three-, four- and five-bedroom properties in a tranquil setting. Designed with the outdoors in mind, the site incorporates a network of leafy cycle paths and footpaths. At the same time High Wood benefits from being close enough to lively Lancaster, which offers an ideal environment for family living.
Compact yet packed with history and things to do, Lancaster boasts a cathedral, a castle, cobbled streets, many other historic landmarks and many independent shops and restaurants alongside well-known chains. Nearby there are several golf clubs, sandy beaches and attractions.
When it comes to education, Lancaster offers plenty of options for all ages, including its esteemed university. For commuters, Lancaster's station offers regular train services to London and Glasgow and many destinations in between, while High Wood itself has excellent links to the M6 motorway, with reasonable commuting times to Preston (30 minutes), Manchester (an hour) and Liverpool (an hour and 10 minutes).
Prices: From £220,950
Find out more at www.storyhomes.co.uk ; 01228 404550
Kingfisher Park in Somerford, Cheshire (Bloor Homes)
Bloor has built 18 luxurious four- and five-bedroom homes in the rural Cheshire village of Somerford, which is within easy striking distance of Holmes Chapel, Congleton and the M6 motorway. This prestigious development has proved popular, with half of the properties already sold or reserved just a few months after the site’s official launch.
“The fabulous new properties at Kingfisher Park offer home owners the best of both worlds, with an idyllic village location and excellent transport links to nearby towns and beyond," says Steve Feneley, regional managing director for Bloor Homes North West. “We have had an excellent response from buyers since the launch, and given the high level of interest that the development has generated so far I would encourage anyone looking for luxurious living in the Cheshire countryside to visit our sales centre without delay.”
Prices: From £299,950
Find out more on WhatHouse? ; 01477 518512
Coming soon, this brand new development will be made up of a range of three-, four- and five-bedroom detached and semi-detached homes in the leafy, sought-after suburb of Gateacre.
Bounded by the areas of Calderstones, Childwall and Woolton, this development is only six miles from the city centre, with superb commuter links to the regional motorway network. There is a supermarket and the Belle Vale shopping precinct just a mile from the development, while in the city centre Liverpool One is home to more than 170 well-known high street stores.
The closest train stations are Broad Green (2.4 miles), Halewood (2.8 miles), Hunts Cross (3 miles) and Mossley Hill (3.3 miles), offering services to Liverpool Lime Street (14 minutes), Warrington Bank Quay (36 minutes) and Manchester Victoria (52 minutes). London Euston can be reach within two hours and 15 minutes via a direct train from Liverpool Lime Street.
Find out more at www.countryside-properties.com ; 01925 248900
Backford Park in Backford near Chester, Cheshire (Jones Homes)
The first release of homes at Backford Park will include distinctive, luxury four- and five-bedroom detached properties with various exterior finishes to offer individual character. The small village of Backford is situated between historic Chester and Ellesmere Port on the A41 trunk road, to the north of the Shropshire Union Canal. It offers the best of both worlds: a beautiful rural setting surrounded by Cheshire countryside, yet close to Chester and all of its amenities.
The development centres around the famous Grade II listed Backford Hall, which is set to be sympathetically converted into apartments, along with the neighbouring stable block, coach house, barn and lodge, which will be transformed into mews-style homes. The new build homes will be set in naturally landscaped gardens which build on the influences of the original historic grounds.
Find out more at www.jones-homes.co.uk ; 0800 128812
Dukes Manor in Walkden, Greater Manchester (Redrow Homes)
Earlier this month, three fully furnished show homes opened at the development, which was officially launched in June and which has attracted consisderable interest from local homebuyers ever since. Around 200 people visited during the first two weekends and 15 of the 18 homes currently released have already been sold. Buyers are already lined up for future releases due within the next couple of months as customers pick out their preferred properties.
Claire Jarvis, sales director for Redrow Homes (Lancashire) said: “Dukes Manor has had unprecedented levels of interest thanks in part to its location, which borders countryside but offers fantastic links into two vibrant cities. We’ve experienced a lot of pent-up demand from local people including first-time buyers, people trading up and empty nesters.”
Prices: From £277,995
Find out more on WhatHouse? ; 0161 312 6786
St Elphin’s View in Daresbury, Cheshire (Atrium/Symphony Housing Group)
This development is offering five luxury four-bedroom homes, as it completes the second and final phase of its development. Located on an old dairy farm formerly owned by the Daresbury Estate, St Elphin’s View sits between Liverpool and Manchester to offer the perfect balance of picturesque rural living with access to the North West’s big commuter cities.
The detached homes boast private gardens and designated parking, and have been designed to enhance the beautiful views of the rolling Cheshire countryside. There are high-specification fittings throughout, including wooden beams incorporated into the master bedrooms to enhance the historic feel of the build.
Prices: From £535,000
Find out more at www.atrium-cityliving.co.uk ; 01925 210021 (Meller Braggins)
Elworth Gardens in Elworth, Cheshire (Barratt Homes)
Situated on a country lane on the outskirts of the desirable, historic market town of Sandbach, Elworth Gardens is an award-winning development from Barratt offering three- and four-bedroom homes ideal for first-time buyers and growing families.
It lies close to well respected schools, and is great for commuting thanks to good links with the M6 (at junction 17), while Sandbach station is only a ten-minute walk away. For leisure time, there is Little Budworth Country Park, Sandbach Golf Club, and pleasant canalside walks.
Prices: £184,995 to £264,995.
Find out more on WhatHouse? ; 01702 416707