Traditional Building Skills and Local Stone Help Create Homes With a Heritage

One of the challenges of designing and building homes in a conservation area is creating properties that meet modern standards and expectations while embodying the character and history of the area. Fernham Homes has risen to this challenge in style at its boutique Hillside Park development in the village of Linton, near Maidstone, by making creative use of a building material that has been used in the region since Roman times.

Launching with its first showhome on 23rd January, Hillside Park, with its boutique collection of 13 luxurious four- and five-bedroom detached homes, is partly within the conservation area of the small village of Linton, set on the Greensand Ridge with superb views over the Weald of Kent. In close proximity to historic buildings, including the 13th century St Nicholas parish church and the Grade I listed Linton Hall dating from 1370, the development needed to be something special to win the approval of planners.

Clague Architects, which created the individually designed homes for Fernham, chose to use a locally quarried traditional building material, Kentish ragstone, in the four houses nearest to the conservation area, to visually link the new homes to their historic surroundings. Ragstone, a form of hard, grey limestone, was so-named because when it was being quarried it would break open along ragged edges – creating an attractive and distinctive finish that was used in many historic buildings, including Rochester, Leeds and Dover Castles, Westminster Abbey and the Tower of London.

While modern builders tend to use ragstone pieces that has been pre-attached to convenient panels, Fernham wanted to use a more complex, traditional approach, seeking out skilled stonemasons who could visualise exactly where each ragstone should go on the wall then knap the stones to fit in the time-honoured fashion, chipping them down by hand to form exactly the right shape. Ragstone cladding created in this manner has a look which is truly unique, with no two stones the same and a completely irregular pattern showcasing the time-consuming masonry skills.

As well as the use of ragstones, the homes pick up on other vernacular architectural features of the area, including dormer windows, reduced eaves, weatherboarding and rendering. With the homes spread out over a 15-acre site, the result is a collection of spacious, high-quality properties that look completely at home in the landscape.

Paul Rosbrook, Operations Director at Fernham Homes, says:

“On such a superbly located plot, with tremendous views over the countryside, we wanted to create homes that are really special, and fit seamlessly into the village environment of Linton. The use of traditional stone masonry skills, local raw materials and classic Kentish design features has helped us to create a unique, characterful development that sets new standards for housing in the area.”

Prospective buyers will be pleased to know that the homes are as special on the inside as on the outside. Internal features include working fireplaces, bifold doors leading out on to spacious gardens, generous open-plan family living areas along with formal lounges and, in some homes, double-height galleried hallways and dedicated studies. All homes feature a utility room, en suite bathrooms and a double garage, while larger properties also include a dressing room to the master bedroom. On certain plots at the development, it is even possible for buyers to design their own interior configuration to suit their particular family needs, as well as to customise the look and style of the kitchen, bathrooms and finishes, as part of Fernham Homes’ Bespoke scheme.

The village of Linton is ideal for commuters, as nearby Marden railway station, less than four miles away, offers services to London Bridge in under an hour, making it a good choice for those wanting to escape from the city to a more peaceful way of life. There are plenty of amenities for families in and around the village, including a popular pre-school in the village hall and a good range of local primary and secondary schools. Local shops are within walking distance, while major retail opportunities can be found at Maidstone, which has two flagship shopping centres, farmers’ markets and a family entertainment complex.

“Our new sales suite will be open from 23rd January, strictly by appointment only, where visitors can explore an elegant and inspirational design scheme by interior design company Jane Clayton, created to help house hunters imagine how they could lead their best life at Linton,” adds Paul.

Properties currently available at Hillside Park start from £890,000 for a four-bedroom detached home with double garage.


Boughton Monchelsea – The Best of Town and Country Living

The very name Boughton Monchelsea evokes an image of a classic English village.

And that’s exactly what it is.

Propped on a ragstone ridge between the North Downs and the Weald of Kent, it has its own village green, a 12th century church, a 16th century pub – The Cock Inn – and a post office.

With an abundance of open space and rolling hills, Boughton Monchelsea offers an escape to the country, but with the benefit of having Maidstone’s popular shops, restaurants and leisure facilities just a few miles away.

There is a lot more to Boughton Monchelsea than quintessential country living. The village and its surrounding areas have a lot to offer.

Eating and drinking

Boughton Monchelsea pubs include The Cock Inn, which dates back to 1568. Listed in the Good Beer Guide 2016, The Cock Inn is a typical old English pub featuring exposed beams and cosy inglenook fireplaces. It is a regular stop-off for walkers, and offers fabulous country cooking as well as a wide selection of fine ales and world wines. It even featured in the classic 1949 film Kind Hearts and Coronets, starring Sir Alec Guinness and Dennis Price.

The Curious Eatery, at The Albion Inn in Boughton Monchelsea, describes itself as a “quirky, fun, foody eatery providing tasty and colourful food”. Run by two sisters who trained at the most acclaimed cookery school in South Africa, and supported by chef Ollie who was Junior Sous Chef at Tom Kerridge’s restaurant ‘The Hand and Flowers’, this restaurant offers an exciting menu. They’ve even got ‘winter globes’ in the restaurant garden allowing you to enjoy your evening meal outside under the stars.

The Bull Inn in the nearby village of Linton, is equally steeped in history. Dating back to 1674, its low beamed and cosy interior provide an old-world ambience. The pub offers a wide range of drinks and a delicious menu.

The Tickled Trout in nearby West Farleigh, is a stylish modern pub serving delicious food and offering Hush Heath wines and ciders. Outside there is a deck terrace for al fresco dining, a large landscaped garden and a children’s play area.

Castle View Restaurant at Leeds Castle offers stunning views across its terrace to the castle. The views are even more spectacular by night when the castle is lit up. The oak-beamed restaurant offers delicious meals made with the finest local and seasonal ingredients, and served in a relaxed atmosphere.

Maidstone also offers lots of popular chain restaurants as well as a number of independent restaurants including La Taberna Spanish Tapas Restaurant and La Villetta Italian Restaurant.

History

Boughton Monchelsea lies on a ragstone ridge between the North Downs and the Weald of Kent. It was famed for its Kent ragstone, which was quarried in the village from Roman times up to the 1930s. As such it has commonly been named Quarry Hills.

Stone used for the building of Westminster Abbey, the present-day Houses of Parliament, and the repair of Rochester Castle came from here.

There are many historic buildings in and around the village including St Peter’s Church, which was built around 1100, and the Elizabethan stone-built former manor house, Boughton Monchelsea Place, which was built in the 16th-century.

Schools

There are a number of primary and secondary schools in and around the village.

The beautiful Boughton Monchelsea Primary School is over 160 years old, and built of Kent ragstone which was quarried in the village.

There are a number of primary and secondary schools in and around the village.

The beautiful Boughton Monchelsea Primary School is over 160 years old, and built of Kent ragstone which was quarried in the village.

Other nearby primary schools include Tree Tops Primary Academy, as well as Tiger Primary School, which is just under a mile to the north of the village. Also close by are Molehill Primary Academy, East Farleigh Primary and Senacre Wood Primary. The Holy Family Primary is a local Catholic primary school.

Secondary schools include New Line Learning Academy and Cornwallis Academy.

The closest grammar schools are Maidstone Grammar School, Invicta Grammar School and Oakwood Park Grammar School.

Independent schools include OneSchool Global in Maidstone, and the prestigious Sutton Valence School which was founded in 1576.

Transport & connections

Boughton Monchelsea’s proximity to main roads and railway stations means that it is well connected to larger towns and cities.

It is close to the M20, giving easy access to the channel ports, while London is a little over an hour away by car.

For train services, Maidstone’s stations have direct services to London Victoria in just over an hour, and for international travel, Ebbsfleet and the Eurostar at Ashford International are just over 20 miles away. Gatwick Airport can be reached in just over an hour.

Staplehurst, Marden and East Farleigh are the closest stations with commuter services to London. Staplehurst to London Charing Cross in just over an hour; Marden to Charing Cross in an hour; East Farleigh to London Charing Cross, London Cannon Street or London St Pancras International via Paddock Wood in 1 hour 15.

Things to do, places to see!

Described by historian, Lord Conway, as “the loveliest castle in the world”, Leeds Castle is only a short distance away. The romantic castle is surrounded by 500 acres of beautiful grounds and gardens. There is so much to do here, with two spectacular kids adventure playgrounds, birds of prey, adventure golf, and Segway tours. And don’t miss its famous maze, created from 2,400 yew trees.

Visit historic Mote Park with its beautiful walks, woodland rivers and lake. There is so much to do including children’s play areas, Dino golf, Sky Trail, a climbing wall, segways, angling, and a watersports centre and leisure centre. There are even model railways and model boats. You can also visit Mote House, with its walled garden and small waterfall.

Stoneacre National Trust House is a medieval yeoman’s house and garden. Built in the 15th century, this half-timbered house, featuring a great hall and surrounded by glorious garden, orchard and meadows, is a perfect example of a Wealden Hall-House. Inside you can view its beautiful collections of furniture, wood and metal work.

You can also enjoy wonderful woodland walks over the Otham Valley from here.

Kent Life – Heritage Farm Park is just a short drive away and offers a great family day out.  Full of history, it is still a working farm, and you can get up close with the animals. There is an outdoor playground, and lots of other fun activities to get involved in.

For arts and events, there are a number of venues in Maidstone offering music, comedy, theatre and art, including the Hazlitt Theatre and Maidstone Leisure Centre.

The Outdoor Life

With so much beautiful countryside all around, there is no shortage of stunning walking routes to enjoy in the area.

One such walk is The Greensand Way, a circular walk from Linton via Boughton Monchelsea. This popular walk can be configured so you end it by rewarding yourself with a visit to The Bull Inn!

Take a stroll along the River Medway. There are a number of walking trails that include sections along its meandering banks.

If you are a keen angler, Monk Lakes is just a short drive away in Marden, and offers 7 lakes set in a picturesque country setting.

The Ridge Golf Club is only 3.8 miles away, and enjoys outstanding views across the Weald of Kent.


10 Reasons to move to Westerham

The small scenic town of Westerham is known as ‘the gateway to the Garden of England’.

It’s one of the most sought-after places to live in Kent, and it’s not hard to see why.

Don’t let the chocolate box façade fool you. With its attractive boutique shops and cafes centred around the pretty green, it’s no sleepy town. There’s so much to do in Westerham that you’ll never tire of living here!

In fact, there’s a huge trend in returning residents. People who move away to go to university, and then live in London, tend to come back to live here with their own families. Such is the draw.

It’s the perfect balance of country living and a contemporary lifestyle, with trendy shops, bars, cafes and restaurants.

If you’re not yet persuaded, check out our top 10 reasons to live in Westerham:

1. Eating out - Westerham restaurants and cafes

There is no shortage of fabulous places to eat in Westerham. Restaurants include Rendezvous Brasserie, Napoli E, Chow’s, and Tulsi. You must also try The Old Bank, in the converted old Natwest building “offering contemporary, seasonal British cuisine, influenced by French techniques, using the best quality ingredients locally available”.

Among the latest additions to the Westerham eating scene are The Tap Room at Westerham Brewery, with their delicious street food and beer, including Mr Pintxos Spanish Tapas, Pizza Federicci’s Romano Pizza, Meat the Chef selling buttermilk chicken & hot dogs and Moules & Bread Shed selling their Italian street food.

The Bottle Store Restaurant at Squerryes Winery serves seasonal dishes with select cuts of prime meat, locally grown vegetables and seafood. The restaurant’s talented chef, Alexander Baillieu, learned his skills under the Roux brothers!

Westerham has a vibrant café culture with a mixture of traditional tearooms, and modern coffee shops. Try the Tudor Rose Tearoom, Food For Thought, The Courtyard and Deli di Luca for lunch or an afternoon treat.

Award winning Flint & Oak is a new farm shop and deli with a café bar, housed in a converted milking parlour. They source the most delicious food and drink from the best local producers and farmers.

2. Enjoying a drink

Westerham also boasts several historic pubs. These include The King’s Arms, and The Grasshopper on The Green, which was frequented by Winston Churchill when he was a local, and has stood for more than 700 years in the heart of Westerham. The pub was built by Stonemasons so they had somewhere to live while building St Mary’s Church.

Wine bar No 17 in Market Square is the perfect place to enjoy a fine wine or a cheeky cocktail.

Visit Squerryes Winery and sample their award-winning sparkling wines. The 300 year-old working estate is at the heart of the modern English winemaking business. Located at the foot of the North Downs, it has been discovered that the chalk escarpment has similar qualities to the esteemed “Cote des Blancs” region of Champagne.

The Westerham Brewery has brought brewing back to Westerham after the historic Black Eagle Brewery closed more than 50 years ago.
By re-culturing freeze-dried samples of yeast from the Black Eagle brewery, and using local water from the same aquifer, the new brewers have tried to recreate some of the flavours that made Westerham’s historic ales so famous.

Loved by locals and visitors alike, the brewery’s Tap Room, with its delicious street food, brings an urban vibe to this country town. Enjoy a local craft beer or two on the buzzing terrace and grab something delicious to eat.

3. Westerham Shopping

When it comes to shopping, Westerham has everything you need. It has a wide range of boutique clothing shops, gift shops, furniture and antique shops, as well as a post office and pharmacy.

Take a leisurely stroll along the high street and pop in to Entre Nous or Kate’s Collection for stylish womenswear, The Vintage Home Company for furniture and accessories gathered from around the world. And who could resist some treats from Chocs on the Green!

And if you are wanting more, Sevenoaks, which has a wider range of shops, is only 15 minutes away by car.

4. History

Westerham boasts two famous former residents, both immortalised with statues on its green.

It’s hard to miss the fact that Westerham was home to Winston Churchill for much of his life. He bought nearby Chartwell in 1922, and it remained the family home until his death in 1965. It is now looked after by the National Trust.

Churchill loved Westerham and adored his home at Chartwell with its beautiful views over the Weald of Kent. He once said that “a day away from the house was a day wasted”.

General James Wolfe was born in the vicarage in Westerham in 1727. Famed for his victory over the French at the Battle of Quebec in 1759, he is regarded as Britain’s most celebrated military hero of the 18th century. His former Westerham home, now Quebec House, is also run by the National Trust.

The town was originally famous for its brewing industry, which provided the main source of local employment for centuries. The welcome return of Westerham Brewery has brought brewing back to the town.

Another of the area’s historic buildings is St Mary’s Church, situated in the corner of the green. Parts of the present church date from the 14th century, but a board inside the church lists the names of every vicar since 1278. The church register records the baptism of General Wolfe, as well as three of Churchill’s grandchildren.

5. National Trust

Chartwell, Churchill’s family home, is a beautiful red-brick country mansion with stunning views over the Weald. Inside, it remains furnished as it would have been during the 1930s when the Churchills were living there. It includes Winston’s art studio where he used to paint.

Visitors can also enjoy the beautiful grounds, formal gardens and woodland walks.

Quebec House, built in the 1500s, has a varied past, but is most famously home to General James Wolfe and his family. There you will get an insight into Georgian life, as it has been dressed as it would have been when Wolfe lived there. It also includes an exhibition telling the story of the epic battle which made him famous.

Other nearby National trust properties include Emmetts Gardens, Ightham Mote and Knole Park.

6. Walking and leisure

The countryside around Westerham makes it a popular area for both walkers and cyclists, and the town has an active ramblers group.

Chartwell provides some excellent walks, and visitors can enjoy a trail to another fabulous National Trust property, Emmetts Garden. The walk takes you via the woodland at Toys Hill, with its diverse and abundant wildlife.

Westerham hosts a weekly parkrun on Saturday mornings, on part of the Squerryes Estate at Westerham Winery.

If you are a keen golfer, a round at Westerham Golf Club, which is set against a stunning North Downs backdrop, is a must. You could also try Limpsfield Chart, one of the oldest golf clubs in southern England, or Park Wood at Tatsfield.

7. Schools

Westerham has a number of local primary schools. Churchill CofE in Rysted Lane, Limpsfield CofE Infant School in Oxted, Crockham Hill CofE in the village of the same name, Amherst in Witches Lane in Sevenoaks and Lady Boswell’s CofE, also in Sevenoaks.

Co-ed prep schools in the area include Hazelwood in Oxted and St Michael’s and Russell House in Otford. Slightly further afield, both Sevenoaks Prep and Radnor House in Sevenoaks are popular independent co-ed schools. New Beacon Boys Prep school is also located in Sevenoaks.

Sevenoaks School, co-ed ages 11 to 18, is one of the oldest and most respected schools in the country, receiving the award for Sunday Times Independent Secondary School of the Year in 2008 and 2018.

8. Travel links

Westerham is close to the M25 giving you easy access to London and the airports. Commuters can travel to London from Sevenoaks (trains to Charing Cross and Cannon Street in just over half an hour); or Oxted (trains to Victoria and London Bridge between 28 and 40 minutes).

9. Arts and events

Westerham residents come together for a number of events throughout the year. Westerham Rocks music festival takes place at the King’s Arms hotel in the summer, and Westerham Country Fayre and Flower Show is held on The Green every September. The Westerham Fireworks Spectacular and the Christmas light switch-on are popular with families.

Although there isn’t a multiplex in the town, Westerham does boast its own Fleapit Cinema Club at the Westerham Hall. With a 24′ screen (larger than many multiplexes), modern projection equipment, a licensed bar and fabulous ice creams, it describes itself as ‘the home for everyone who enjoys watching great films in good company’.

You can watch the latest blockbusters from the comfort of an armchair at nearby Oxted’s Everyman cinema, or visit the Sevenoaks Stag Theatre for the best comedy, music, theatre and films.

10. Country life

Westerham lies on the river Darent, and the A25 connects it to a long chain of picturesque villages, including nearby Brasted and Oxted. It is situated at the foot of the North Downs with the rolling Kent and Surrey countryside to the South.


Hollingbourne Developer Awarded Seal of Excellence Award

Senior Project Manager Simon Bettridge (35) of Fernham Homes has been chosen to receive the coveted Pride in the Job Seal of Excellence Award, following on from his earlier Quality Awards win this summer, by the National House Building Council (NHBC). Simon has been acknowledged for his work at the Tonbridge-based housebuilder’s Ellesmere development in Hollingbourne.

The Pride in the Job Quality Awards only recognises sites which are run to the highest possible standards and are consistently delivering new homes of outstanding quality. Of those selected by the judges, only the very best will go on to receive a Seal of Excellence Award. This shows the commitment of Simon, as well as AB Canham (Fernham Homes’ sister company) who are the builders of these award-winning homes, to excellence in construction and making customer satisfaction a top priority.

Simon, who lives locally in Chatham, comments:

“It is an honour to be recognised for the work that we put in to make sure the homes at Ellesmere are of excellent quality. I’d like to thank the whole team that work tirelessly, we are very proud of the homes we deliver.”

This year, there were around 11,000 applicants and just 450 individuals were selected to receive Pride in the Job Quality Awards of which two came from AB Canham, demonstrating the housebuilder’s dedication to providing high-quality homes to local communities. Of these 450, just 14 Site Managers from the South East were awarded a Seal of Excellence.

Paul Rosbrook, Operations Director for Fernham Homes, added:

“For Simon to have not only won a Quality Award, but to go on to be selected for a Seal of Excellence Award is a real achievement, and shows just how hard our construction teams work to produce the very best homes for our customers. We are extremely proud and would like to congratulate Simon and his team at Ellesmere for their hard work.”

Founded in 1997 by Ian Fern and Michael Canham and later joined by David Masters, the company has been building homes throughout Kent for over 20 years. Fernham Homes is now marketing a range of distinctive developments in locations including Boughton Monchelsea, Hollingbourne, Greenhithe and Westerham, and has also recently launched an innovative bespoke homes scheme in Linton Hill, near Maidstone. The housebuilder hopes to achieve its ambitious growth plans and bring new sites into the business, across its Kent heartland, as well as in East Sussex and Greater London. This month, Fernham has also exchanged on a new site which will offer 45 new homes, including 18 affordable homes, in the village of Matfield, near Royal Tunbridge Wells.


Downsview Offers Spacious, Three-Storey Family Living

Fernham Homes is launching phase two of its highly desirable Downsview development at Westerham, near Sevenoaks, on the weekend of 31st October. Initially, seven three/four-bedroom, semi-detached homes will be available at Downsview North, all featuring a flexible fourth bedroom/study and an innovative three-storey layout that makes the most of the beautiful views over the North Downs.
The homes feature a lower ground floor space that is open to the owners’ interpretation, with a living/dining space complemented by bi-fold doors leading to the turfed garden, a kitchen with breakfast bar, separate utility room, storage cupboard and a cloakroom. The main entrance on the ground floor leads through to an elegant formal living room with Juliet balcony, from which residents can appreciate the countryside scenery thanks to the hilltop location. Bedroom two is also on this floor, with an en suite shower room that can also be accessed via the hallway.

The first floor features a versatile layout, with the master bedroom enjoying an en suite shower room and fitted wardrobes, bedroom three, a family bathroom and a home office which could be also be used as a fourth bedroom, a craft room, a playroom, or as a nursery.

There are two different house types, internally laid out the same but with distinctively different external designs. The Wisteria has a striking apex roof detail with weather boarding, while The Juniper has far more extensive weather boarding across the frontage.

Paul Rosbrook, Operations Director at Fernham Homes, said:

“The versatile layout of these three-storey homes gives every member of the family space for themselves, and is particularly suited to people who work from home, as the flexible fourth bedroom-turned-office space is on the first floor, away from the hustle and bustle of family life. We found that phase one was popular with all ages of buyers who have now formed a tight-knit community. There are only seven homes launching this time around as two have already been reserved off-plan, so we expect the launch weekend to be a busy one.”

Fernham ensures that its homes are finished to the highest standards, and at Downsview the specification will include designer kitchens with handleless soft-close drawers and cupboards and Bosch appliances including induction hob, double oven, fridge-freezer, and integrated dishwasher. Bathrooms will have white sanitary ware and chrome fixings, including heated towel rails, whilst gardens will come with patios, cycle storage and an external tap.

Downsview is extremely well connected, with Oxted Station just four miles away and Sevenoaks Station just over six miles. From Oxted, travel to London Bridge takes from 33 minutes and London Victoria from 29 minutes, while from Sevenoaks station, train services reach Cannon Street in 32 minutes and Charing Cross in 36 minutes. Access to the M25 is seven miles away and Gatwick Airport is 18 miles away by car.

Westerham and the surrounding area has plenty to recommend it. The town centre is brimming with boutiques, bars and restaurants, with a buzzing café culture that includes independent coffee shops and vintage tea rooms. Westerham Brewery produces local craft beers and ales, while wine lovers can enjoy Squerryes Vineyard & Winery. There are plenty of small local shops and convenience stores in Westerham along with a primary school, rated as Good by Ofsted. Nearby Sevenoaks has major supermarkets such as Tesco and Waitrose, plus additional schools, shops, restaurants and leisure facilities. including a thriving golf club.


Community Spirit Makes a Comeback

With the Office for National Statistics having recorded a surge in community spirit across the UK since the coronavirus outbreak*, it is not surprising, that the local community is now becoming a more prominent factor for those thinking about moving.

Paul and Beverley Lincoln (69 and 64) moved to Fernham Homes’ Ellesmere development, which is situated in the tight knit village community of Hollingbourne, near Maidstone in Kent, just before lockdown in early March, and immediately felt the benefit of living in an area where people looked out for each other and did things together.

Paul, a consultant for a construction design company, comments: “If we have to go back into lockdown again, then I couldn’t think of a better place to be than Hollingbourne. At the height of the lockdown in April and May, the pub in the village was serving takeaway meals, and Woods, the village shop took on its role as lynchpin of the community and stayed open all the time. They were superb and even operated a local delivery service to elderly people. Union Jack bunting to mark VE Day still adorns the main street and you can see rainbows in most windows.

Paul continues: “Another attraction of the village is that it is situated in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is surrounded by a network of public footpaths, which lead right onto the North Downs, which meant we could spend most days wandering around the local countryside.

The exclusive Ellesmere development of 12 family homes is situated in the small hamlet of Hollingbourne at the foot of the North Downs. The area is renowned for the beauty of the surrounding countryside, and offers residents numerous walking and cycling routes, forming part of the National Cycle Network and historic Leeds Castle is also just a stone’s throw away. The village is home to three pubs, including ‘The Dirty Habit’, which dates to the 11th century. The village store, Woods of Hollingbourne, prides itself on only selling locally sourced Kentish produce where it can, and is still offering a local delivery service for those who are self-isolating or are unable to leave their home.

Paul continues:

“We quickly got friendly with our neighbours after moving in and we started having a takeaway evening meal from The Dirty Habit every fortnight with them; sitting on tables located at opposite ends of the green in front of our homes! Fernham inevitably had to stay off site during lockdown, so the residents took it upon themselves to look after the common areas, water the plants and cut the grass where we could. That is the kind of community we’re living in; everyone wants their home to look nice.”

The development at Ellesmere comprises four two-bedroom, three four-bedroom homes and five larger, five-bedroom houses, all with landscaped gardens and with the four and five-bedroom homes benefitting from large garages. The exteriors, designed by DHA Architecture, have been detailed to reflect the historic homes in and around Hollingbourne, featuring two colours of red bricks, brown and red roof tiles and white render, as well as gable-ended roofs typical of the area. Great care has been taken to preserve the country feel of the development, with many of the existing trees and hedges being retained.

Paul, who moved from Hempstead in Gillingham where Beverley and he had lived for the last 25 years, wanted to downsize and find a property that required less maintenance, continues: “Working in the building profession, I like the traditional build methods and design elements that Fernham has used. The quality of the finishes are also second to none. The house itself is exactly what we wanted, it’s smaller than our previous home, easier to maintain and with lower running costs, but still has the space for family to come and visit when we get back in more normal times.”

Paul Rosbrook, Operations Director at Fernham Homes, comments:

“The lure of a new lifestyle, one that is quieter, with open green space and countryside walks on the doorstep and a strong local community, was an attraction for buyers like Paul and Beverley before lockdown. But since lockdown, people are looking for this in greater numbers with rural Kentish villages like Hollingbourne now appealing to those who have the flexibility to commute less often.”

The homes at Ellesmere are located less than half a mile from the railway station which offers direct services to London Victoria in as little as one hour and 12 minutes. The area also offers a good selection of schools, including Hollingbourne Primary School in the village and Grammar schools in Maidstone. Nearby Bearsted and Maidstone offer more extensive facilities, and the M20 provides easy access to the motorway network.

In addition to the pubs and village store, there is also a church and village hall within easy walking distance from Ellesmere. For a village of its size, there are numerous local groups and clubs to get involved with, including a Cricket Club, Breton Dancing, Golf Society, Football Club, Art Group, Garden Society, Pantomime Group, Pilates, Bowls and the Women’s Institute. A mobile library also normally runs in the village hall car park each week.

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/healthandwellbeing/bulletins/coronavirusandthesocialimpactsongreatbritain/14may2020


Family Homes in the Peaceful Garden of England

Fernham Homes is launching the second phase of its popular Boughton Park development in the historic village of Boughton Monchelsea in Kent. At the weekend launch on 3rd and 4th October, 10 new three and four-bedroom properties will be available to purchase off-plan, with prices starting from just £385,000.

Fernham Homes has redesigned its house type range with modern family lifestyles in mind, featuring open plan kitchen/diners, and externals which will blend in with the local architecture. Phase two at Boughton Park will introduce six different, new house types, ranging from the semi-detached, three-bedroom The Fairfield with its separate formal living room, to the generously sized and detached The Heverham, which boasts four double bedrooms and a handy utility room. All come with allocated parking spaces – some with a car port – and enjoy landscaped front gardens and turfed rear gardens with Indian sandstone patios, as well as large bi-fold doors.

Inside, the specification will be equally impressive, including fully fitted kitchens with integrated Bosch appliances, master bedroom suites with smart fully fitted wardrobes, and USB sockets fitted to the kitchens and master bedrooms.

Lynne Smith, Director of Sales and Marketing at Fernham Homes, notes:

“The first phase at Boughton Park is almost completely sold out, so we are expecting the launch weekend for these new homes to be busy. Boughton Monchelsea is a great location, offering both a thriving village community and good links to London, so buyers should register their interest as soon as possible.”

The new homes are part of Fernham’s select development of 43 three, four and five-bedroom properties on the edge of the village. The location is ideal for families as the village primary school is just a few minutes’ walk away and there’s a great selection of amenities on hand, including a playground, village hall, shop, post office and farm shop.

Award winning housebuilder Fernham Homes prides itself on finding great locations for its new developments, and Boughton Park benefits from the best of both town and country. Maidstone station is just four miles away, offering services to Ashford International (with onward connections to mainland Europe) in 32 minutes, London St Pancras in 51 minutes and London Victoria in just over an hour, whilst Marden station is less than six miles away, offering services to London Charing Cross in under an hour.

Maidstone itself, the county town of Kent, is ranked in the top towns in the south east of England for shopping, with more than a million square feet of retail space, including The Mall Maidstone and Fremlin Walk shopping centres. The riverside Lockmeadow Centre boasts a multiplex cinema, restaurants and nightclubs.

For those who prefer country to town, the North Downs and the Weald of Kent are close at hand for pleasant walks, and Boughton Monchelsea deer park has summer openings where you can glimpse the shy animals close at hand. There are tranquil walks along the River Beult, fishing at the Monk Lakes and the chance for a quiet pint in the local pub, The Cock Inn, which has been pouring out the ale since 1568. There’s also a craft brewery, Rockin Robin, and an award-winning restaurant, The Curious Eatery, in the village.


Looking for the Convenience of a New Build but Want Choice?

If you’d love to create a house to exactly suit your lifestyle but worry about the stress and uncertainty of embarking on a self-build project, Fernham Bespoke Homes has the answer. At its newest development in the village of Linton near Maidstone, two large plots are available for total interior customisation, offering the freedom of a bespoke build without the hassle of undertaking any project management.

Launching this weekend (1st August 2020) Fernham’s Hillside Park development is a collection of 13 luxurious four- and five-bedroom detached homes on generously sized plots, set in 15 acres of quiet countryside overlooking The Weald of Kent. There’s a railway station less than four miles away offering services to London Bridge in under an hour, making it ideal for those wanting to escape from the city to a more peaceful way of life.

The two fully bespoke homes are Chestnut House, set on 0.3 acres of land, and Sycamore House on a quarter of an acre plot. The attractive outside elevations of the homes have been designed with local Kentish ragstone, weatherboarding, brick and render details, but inside is a blank canvas waiting for a buyer to shape the design to their needs.

Property Consultant Sue Taylor is an experienced bespoke-builder who has been working on the project with Fernham Homes. “Buying a bespoke property gives the prospective home owner the opportunity to work with the developer to take on the design and construction of their new home,” she explains. “Although the external elevations are a fixed design, the scope for personalising the home is completely flexible including deciding how many bedrooms and bathrooms are required and how the living spaces are best designed for your personal use.” These properties could accommodate up to five bedrooms within their footprint, if that is what is required – equally, if the buyer is a downsizer and just wants a few large rooms with an abundance of storage, this too could be accommodated.

A buyer who has struggled working from home during lockdown might decide to prioritise having a large home office, or for a family where someone has a disability, a downstairs bathroom and bedroom could be created with space for a hoist. Multi-generational families could easily divide up the floorspace into areas that could be self-contained when desired, and families with children could make sure space was divided up fairly rather than the youngest ending up in the tiny box room.

Lynne Smith, Director of Sales and Marketing at Fernham Homes, explains: “Families are all different and use space in different ways – some like to spend time all together in a big open-plan space while others prefer to have a variety of different rooms to retreat to. Some buyers might like an enormous master suite with dressing room and en suite, others would prefer to spread the space more evenly across the bedrooms. Our bespoke homes offer not only the opportunity to customise the look and style of the kitchen, bathrooms and finishes, but to decide on the fundamental way the home is organised to create something that’s as unique as your family itself.”

Buying a bespoke home is a slightly different process to a regular house purchase – but that’s an advantage when it comes to Stamp Duty. The transaction is divided into two parts, with half of the purchase price covering the cost of the land (on which Stamp Duty is payable), and the second half of the cost going to main contractor A B Canham in staged payments to cover the build, which is not subject to any Stamp Duty. The standard Platinum Specification includes a wide range of options, but additional upgrades, such as an orangery or playroom above the garage (subject to further planning permission), would be at an additional cost, agreed from the outset.

Fernham Homes has teamed up with specialist finance company BuildStore, one of the country’s leading mortgage providers for custom/bespoke-built homes. Tom McSherry, National Relationship Manager, says:

“Just as custom-build projects are all different, so are buyers’ mortgage requirements. We have created a range of exclusive mortgages to suit the specific needs of bespoke builders, with exclusive products from around 16 building societies, which true to their roots are keen to help you create your dream home. With a custom build mortgage from BuildStore, you can borrow up to 95% of the cost of your plot and up to 95% of the cost of your build. These higher percentages make it possible to stay in your current home, while your new home takes shape, so you can avoid the upheaval and expense of moving into temporary accommodation.”

Rapidly growing regional housebuilder Fernham Home has more than 60 years’ experience in building quality properties – so buyers can be confident that they are in safe hands. Sue Taylor adds: “Bespoke home build offers the opportunity to use our expertise to create the home of your dreams without having to worry about the organisational burden or spiraling budgets – let your dream become a reality – your vision, our expertise.”

Sales at Hillside Park open on 1 August, with prices expected to range from £890,000 for a bespoke four-bedroom home, to £1,130,000 for a bespoke five-bedroom home.


Unstoppable Second Time Buyer Goes Ahead With Move

Despite the property market seemingly screeching to a halt earlier this year as Britain went into lockdown, some buyers were still able to complete their new home moves. Second stepper Stacey Bates (36) was able to do just that, and moved with her daughter Evie (8), into their new three-bedroom, semi-detached home at Fernham Homes’ Empire Park development in Greenhithe, Kent on 15th May.

Stacey explains: “As I was moving to a new build property the risks were minimal, and I fortunately wasn’t reliant on removal companies, so decided to go ahead. The move itself went very smoothly – Fernham kept in contact with me and provided updates throughout the entire process, even more so than my own solicitor! When it came to moving day, the keys were waiting for me at the address and the house had been deep cleaned, so it was very safe and easy to move into.”

Stacey continues: “I’m definitely glad that I didn’t postpone the move. Being in our new home has given myself and my daughter much more space, and on the days that I’ve worked from home I’ve been able to potter around and get things sorted in the house. My brother’s family also live on the development, so we have been able to easily check up on each other and say hello – from a distance!”

Set in a quiet valley in northern Kent, the development at Empire Park features a mix of detached and semi-detached three, four and five-bedroom homes, all with private gardens and garages. The exteriors reflect traditional Kent architecture, while inside, the homes have been beautifully equipped and finished including Bosch integrated appliances in the kitchen, energy-efficient boilers and turfed gardens with sandstone patios.

Stacey continues: “Although my previous home in Greenhithe was also a three-bedroom house, the quality at Fernham is a world apart. Compared to other new builds that I looked at in the area, the finishes are far superior. I also really like the sense of community at the development – there are only 28 homes, six yet to be sold, and as it’s a cul-de-sac set away from the road, my daughter can play outside with her friends whilst the adults keep an eye and make sure they’re social distancing.

“As a Detective Sargent in the Metropolitan Police I’ve been working throughout lockdown and Evie has still been attending school, which has definitely helped us to maintain a routine during the move. The community is also really supportive – everyone is so friendly and chatty, and we have a Mums’ Whatsapp group which we’ve used to help each other out with the shopping. As most people living at the development have young families, the windows are full of rainbows and everyone joined in with ‘Clap for Carers’. I feel very confident that my new neighbours would happily help out with any issues – moving to Empire Park is one hundred per cent the best thing I’ve ever done.”

Lynne Smith, Sales and Marketing Director for Fernham Homes, commented: “It’s great to see buyers like Stacey making their way up the property ladder, and we’re so pleased that we were able to help her complete her move during the lockdown period. We know how important it is for buyers to be able to move into their new homes on time, which is why we are so proud to have helped 6 new residents move to our developments since lockdown began on 23rd March. It’s vital that we help to keep the housing market moving, and we are over the moon that our sales suites and show homes have been able to reopen on an appointment only basis, as this means we can continue helping people to find their perfect home.”

Just 10 minutes’ drive from Ebbsfleet International station, the homes at Empire Park are perfectly situated for homeowners to experience the best of both worlds. The trip into the capital takes from just 17 minutes, yet the development is within walking distance of Swanscombe Heritage Park and the banks of the Thames. Less than ten minutes’ drive away are Beacon Wood Country Park and Darenth Country Park with its Site of Special Scientific Interest, whilst three Outstanding Areas of National Beauty – Surrey Hills, High Weald and the Kent Downs – are all under an hour’s drive away, as is the coast. Shoppers will also appreciate the fact that Bluewater shopping centre, one of the largest in Europe, is just two miles away.

Stacey said: “My commute to Woolwich only takes 30 minutes, yet we are surrounded by country walks and green spaces so the location really couldn’t get any better for myself or my daughter.”

Part of the attraction of the new homes at Empire Park is the green spaces that are being carefully curated around the new community at Ebbsfleet Garden City, including seven parks with impressive views and new Thames-side walkways that will give the public access to the waterfront for the first time in more than a century.


Stamp Duty Holiday to help you make that move

Lynne Smith, Sales & Marketing Director at Fernham Homes, commented on the Chancellor’s stamp duty announcement: “It’s great to see that property’s under £500,000 bought as a main residence will be stamp-duty free until 31st March 2021, with homes worth more also available with a lower stamp duty bill.”

“With savings of up to £15,000, now is a great time to move home – especially as many of us want to embark on a lifestyle or location change. Our site staff can explain how buying a new home just got more affordable and how the stamp duty saving can be used in conjunction with Help to Buy.

Why not browse Fernham’s current developments? We have homes for sale across Kent for less than £500,000 – making them stamp duty free.