Local Talk

hemel or st albans??

(13 Posts)
teacat Mon 09-Jul-12 12:05:51

Just trying to gather a bit more info on Hemel.. We were planning on moving to St Albans but prices are crazy and not much on the market so looking at Hemel, probably Boxmoor. Are things improving and is it a nice place to bring up children? We have a one year old boy. The latest ofsted for Boxmoor primary wasn't so good but is it just a blip as it looked pretty good before? I was keen on having a bit more going on around me but Boxmoor is fairly quiet and the town doesn't look so pretty but as long as there are plenty of mums groups and things to do, I guess it could be ok?? Help! just need reassurancesmile thank you!x

MrsJohnDeere Mon 09-Jul-12 12:11:31

They are very different places.

St Albans is much, much nicer IMHO. But much more expensive. Horrendous traffic (but then Hemel has that scary roundabout which would be enough to put me off the place on its own!).

Does it have to be one of those two? Would you consider other places in Herts? Hitchin and the North Herts villages are nice places to bring up children. Not as much going on as St A, but nicer than Hemel.

Empusa Mon 09-Jul-12 12:15:15

I quite like Hemel, I live in one of the areas with a rep for being rough, but it's actually not bad at all. As far as I know Boxmoor is one of the nicer areas in Hemel, have a few friends there who are perfectly happy with it.

teacat Mon 09-Jul-12 12:31:34

thank you so much for your quick replies! We'd like to be as close to London as possible and be in a town so these are the ideal places. We did think about Hitchin but still a bit too far. Also Berkhamsted but still quite expensive..

Lassi85 Wed 25-Jul-12 14:20:39

Hi Teacat,

I live in St Albans and I have just finished my teacher training. One of my placements was at Boxmoor school prior to it's recent Ofsted Inspection. I can tell you that the school is very nice, it has had a blip recently due to the headmistress retiring and the school having no head for a period of time.

The school is small and it's very friendly. The teachers are very approachable and the children are lovely. Boxmoor is also a nice area. It's like a mini-village but near the centre of Hemel which is very handy. It means you get the benefit of a nice little village atmosphere for your children without being too far away from the things you need as an adult.

I'd be lying if I told you it was better than St Albans though, but I'm biased because I live in St Albans. I would say the benefit that Boxmoor has is that it is probably cheaper and has a village feel, whereas it depends where in St Albans you were thinking about living. The 'cheaper' areas in St Albans would not be as good as Boxmoor, but if you were looking at AL1 area of St Albans which is a bit more expensive then I would say it was better than Boxmoor.

Glittertwins Tue 31-Jul-12 18:41:02

Boxmoor's Ofsted was one hell of a shock and parents were not happy. It was the talk of all the nurseries and there is more to it than just the head retiring. The schools are heavily oversubscribed and you will need to be within 400m to get into either of the two primary schools which are currently both 1 form intake.
Boxmoor housing is somewhat overpriced for what you get but it is quite nice.

The magic roundabout is fine, just think of it as several mini roundabouts in a circle. I can always spot the out of towners though;)

teacat Wed 01-Aug-12 09:13:30

hi lassie85, thank you for your insight on Boxmoor, we are still in a dilemma! We do like the feel of Boxmoor, just worried about the town itself as it feels a bit empty,lots of shops closing and a bit of a sad atmosphere, but have read articles saying they are hoping to improve things but don't know how long this will all take! If we go for St Albans we were thinking of Fleetville but also worried that maybe it is getting very busy and might be difficult getting into the schools as it has got so popular. It feels like you pay a premium to be here just for a nicer town but if it's so busy all the time you aren't really able to enjoy it?
Thank you glittertwins on the ofsted info, will check the 400m distance on the houses we look at.. hemel school for the secondary seems ok? although this is a long way off. Bit worried about provisions for older children - activities etc and the idea of them hanging roung in Hemel town isn't very appealing, or am I over worrying?? Just worried if we buy in Boxmoor and it doesn't work out, will we ever get to St Albans as the price gap seems to increase by the month!
thanks again

Glittertwins Wed 01-Aug-12 19:33:55

There is very little hanging around the town centre as far as I see walking back from the pool (Boxmoor) on a Saturday night. All town centres have taken a hit recently, I couldn't believe Watford had got so bad last time I went either. There are plenty of sports clubs for children too. We've never been at a loss for things to do.

Lassi85 Tue 07-Aug-12 00:49:03

I live quite close to Fleetville - I'm not a fan of the area to be honest. It's very busy - a lot of traffic, houses too close together.

It's just a personal opinion though in that I prefer there to be a bit more space.
Marshalswick is a nice area of St Albans but it's expensive. Schools in St Albans are hugely over subscribed.

The magic roundabout in Hemel isn't that bad - you just need to treat it like a series of mini-roundabouts. I haven't seen many kids hanging around in Hemel. Kids do hang around the Maltings in St Albans but it's all very innocent really and just them going to a few shops etc as far as I can tell.

Lassi85 Tue 07-Aug-12 00:51:39

I think either place would be a good place to move to, to be honest.

lisad123 Tue 07-Aug-12 01:01:09

St albans get my vote. There's a few nice villages very near with better schools. Have you looked at welwyn garden city? The train links into London are fairly good within herts. Even in Stevenage you can be at kings X within 35mins via train.

teacat Wed 22-Aug-12 08:58:35

thanks all. Glittertwins, re.Boxmoor primary, can you enlighten on 'more to it than the head retiring'? are they improving things? it's still three years off for us so things may have changed by then but we'd like to settle somewhere now. Schools seem to be oversubscribed everywhere, so stressful.

Glittertwins Wed 22-Aug-12 18:56:27

The head retired and the Ofsted inspection was a few days afterwards however they were not impressed. The school attempted to gloss it over by blaming it on the old head retiring but there was more to it than that, as well as the PTA spending money on frivolous things and not necessarily good the benefit of the pupils. Parents were not impressed at the meeting that was hastily arranged when the report came out.
A lot can happen in another 3 years but the school is no better than some of the others in the town like Two Waters.

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