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Prime Spot For First-Time Buyers And Puppy

Posted 4 February 2022 by Helen Christie

Alex and Olivia have found their perfect home at David Wilson Homes’ Dickens Gate in Staplehurst…

The one thing that Alex Shorthouse, 25, and Olivia Gray, 26, thought would make their lives complete was a four-legged friend; but their rental property didn’t allow pets so it seemed like a distant dream until they snapped up their perfect home at David Wilson’s Dickens Gate development in the Kent village of Staplehurst.

“We had wanted to get a dog for ages,” says Alex, who works in the aerospace industry, “but we were in a small, rented coach house so we didn’t have the right set-up, and pets weren’t allowed anyway. Our long-term goal was to move into our house in 2022, and although we had been looking for a little while, we couldn’t quite find somewhere that we both loved – until we stumbled across Dickens Gate and fell in love with it straight away.”

The development is bordered by fields and has a master plan that includes wildlife areas, allotments, play parks and lots of green spaces, so the couple knew straight away that it would make a great location for starting a new life with a puppy. They chose a three-bedroom house that came with two parking spaces and a generous garden. “The whole development was much quieter than we were expecting, with a much bigger garden that wasn’t overlooked by other properties, which was a really positive feature for us,” says Alex.

“Inside it’s very spacious, with lots of room to move. We wanted two bedrooms plus a third room that we could turn into an office, so it ticked all the boxes for us,” says Alex. Space to work was essential as he was working full time from home, while Olivia, who works in technical recruitment, was planning to continue to work from home once or twice a week and is now delighted to have room for a proper office furniture rather than making do with a dining chair and a tiny make-up table.

Dickens Gate (David Wilson Homes)

The couple reserved in January 2021, despite it being impossible to visit in person because of Covid lockdown, and moved in at the end of June, two months earlier than expected. “Amy and Jess in sales were very responsive and reassured us every step of the way, which was important as being first-time buyers we didn’t know what to expect. They also helped explain the Government’s Help to Buy scheme which we ended up using,” says Alex. “We were a bit worried about meeting the completion deadline as we were using Help to Buy, but we used David Wilson Homes’ recommended solicitor and we couldn’t fault him.”

Of course, one of the first things Alex and Olivia did after moving in was to start looking for a furry companion – and they are now settling in with Woody, their five month old cockerpoo, and enjoying some lovely walks as he gets older.

Natalie Perry, sales and marketing director at David Wilson Kent, comments: “While it is less than an hour from a desk in the city, Staplehurst offers a great taste of Kentish village life. It has all the amenities you need day to day, including a Sainsbury’s supermarket, pub, small library, butcher’s shop, restaurants and a medical centre, and is surrounded by plenty of countryside to explore. We’re encouraging wildlife at Dickens Gate by installing bat and bird boxes, creating new ponds and planting our green open spaces with bee-friendly species, as well creating wildflower meadows within our biodiversity areas and setting land aside for allotments and play areas, all helping to create a perfect atmosphere for people and their pets to enjoy the outdoors.”

Olivia works in Sevenoaks, which is around 45 minutes’ drive away, or 25 minutes by train from Staplehurst railway station, only a 15-minute walk from Dickens Gate. For commuters going further afield, trains reach Charing Cross and London Bridge in less than an hour, making the village an ideal base for those looking to move out of London. Road connections are excellent as well, with Maidstone around 25 minutes away and Tonbridge half an hour away by car.

Dickens Gate, which will eventually have around 250 new homes, is rapidly forming a friendly, new community. “Everyone around here is lovely,” says Alex. “People always say hello to us and a real neighbourhood feel is starting to develop. The ongoing building isn’t a problem as we barely hear the works and they keep respectable hours. The site guys are really courteous, always checking in to see if we need anything. We feel right at home already.”

Homes currently available at Dickens Gate start from £527,995 for a four-bedroom detached family home.

View more developments currently available from David Wilson Homes


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Staplehurst, Kent TN12
£599,995 - £634,995
Dickens Gate
Staplehurst, Kent TN12
4 bedroom properties
David Wilson Homes
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