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Last-Minute Change Of Plans Leads To ‘Forever Home’

Posted 16 May 2022 by Keith Osborne

John and Dawn have purchased a brand new four-bedroom house at Dickens Gate in Staplehurst, Kent...

Thanks to a last-minute decision to upsize, John and Dawn Shelley, both 59, are about to start a new life in the country at Dickens Gate, David Wilson Homes’ new development in rural Kent.

They had already signed on the dotted line to start the purchase of a three-bedroom house nearby, when they caught a glimpse of the new community being built by David Wilson in the village of Staplehurst and decided to have a quick look to confirm their decision. In the end, however, they were so impressed with what they saw that they pulled out of the previous purchase and put their names down for a new four-bedroom detached home at Dickens Gate.

“It was obviously a bit more expensive than the three-bedroom, but it is going to be our forever home, so it was worth pushing the budget a bit,” said John, a banker who works at Canary Wharf. “I’m not planning on moving again!”

The couple are looking forward to having a home that is truly their own, after many years of living in their three-bedroom bungalow in Erith. “This had previously been my mother-in-law’s bungalow,” said John. “Although it suited us in many ways, it was in need of some major refurbishment, particularly work on the roof, and rather than spend all that money on repairs we decided to look for somewhere brand new outside of London. Erith is a convenient, easy commute to Canary Wharf, but as I’m planning to retire in the next three to four years, I wanted to think about the future.”

During Covid lockdowns he worked successfully from home, which made him confident to look slightly further afield, knowing he no longer needed to commute every day. John needs to be at his desk for 5.00am to deal with foreign markets, so he plans to drive to Canary Wharf, but Staplehurst station is only a 15-minute walk away from Dickens Gate with trains reach Charing Cross and London Bridge in less than an hour, so it offers a convenient option for most commuters.

John and his wife Dawn, who is retired, were impressed with every aspect of the ‘Mitchell’ house type that they purchased, from the large bay windows in the expansive dual-aspect living area, to the spacious kitchen-diner, downstairs WC and the practical utility room with its own door to the garden. “We have the laundry machines in the garage at the moment, so Dawn was jumping for joy,” laughed John.

John and Dawn ShelleyDuring lockdown, John has been working from a makeshift office in the front room, so he is equally delighted with the fact that having four bedrooms means they can afford to transform one into a permanent office, while still having two double bedrooms for their children, grandchildren and friends to stay over. Plus, there’s a garage and two parking spaces, and a garden with a patio and shed. “It’s perfect in every way. I’m looking forward to the quieter location, and enjoying the fresh air and country walks – as well as popping to Maidstone just down the road for shopping.”

Thanks to savings, and a small inheritance from Dawn’s mother, they were able to buy the property outright, and they hope to move in time for a family Christmas. As well as being impressed by the property, they have also appreciated the care and assistance they have received from staff at David Wilson. “Aimee in the sales office has seen us through the whole process – everything I have asked for she has tried to help with, and she has been brilliant. Amy moved to a branch locally to her a few months back and Janet has taken over the reins to great effect, so we would like to thank them both very much for what they have done for us.”

Dickens Gate is a new development which will eventually have around 250 new two-, three-, four- and five-bedroom homes surrounded by beautiful open spaces with ponds, allotments and a well-equipped play area.

Natalie Perry, sales and marketing director at David Wilson Kent, commented: “While it is less than an hour away from London, Staplehurst offers a peaceful way of life in a Kentish village location, complete with all the everyday amenities, including a supermarket, pub, library, butcher’s shop, restaurants and a medical centre. We are going to great lengths to encourage wildlife on site, with bat and bird boxes, wildflower meadows and bee-friendly planting, helping to create a relaxing countryside location. With The Weald of Kent and the South Downs within easy reach, this really is an excellent location.”

Homes currently available at Dickens Gate start from £619,995 for a four-bedroom home. Find out more 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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