Moving to Harpenden

(8 Posts)
trobinson Wed 05-Oct-16 12:32:12


My husband and I are looking at move to Harpenden from London. We both grew up in villages and wanted to move somewhere friendly to raise our 4 month old son. Harpenden seems to have a lot of positives; good schools, green space, shops, good commute to London, access to the M1 to get up North to visit family, etc.

Our budget is around 600K and we are chain free so we are taking our time to find the right house for our family.

We have visited a couple time and walked around town and the different areas to get a feel for the town and now would like to hear some opinions of people who live there.

What is Southdown like? I seems we could get more for our money in this area. I see the Grove school is a good school. We have seen a couple houses in our price range around Piggottshill Lane, Grove Ave and Cranbourne Drive. Are these areas nice?

I have read on other forums about sometimes kids in this area might not get into the secondary school and end up in St. Albans, has anyone experienced this?

Any advice would be really helpful. Like I said, we are not in a rush to move and are going to wait till we find the right house.


ReallyTired Wed 05-Oct-16 14:56:31

I don't live in harpenden but I do live near by. Certainly harpenden has some of the best state schooling locally. In your position I would worry about secondary schools nearer the time. A lot can change in 5 years, yet alone 10 years. The area you have mentioned are nice, but a bit car bound. A lot depends on what is important to you.

There have been plans to open a new secondary free school in harpenden and most of the schools in St Albans have reasonable Ofsteds. Your secondary options are greater if you are prepared to take up religion.

br0n2e Wed 05-Oct-16 15:56:19

I'm a Harpo girl originally. To be honest, there aren't really any bad areas. Even the worst areas aren't bad at all. St Albans schools are all generally good too.

NigellaTufnel Wed 05-Oct-16 16:05:23

Join the Harpenden ParentsNetwork on Facebook and ask there.

And here is a massive shortfall in secondary school places, but they are planning to build another school so that may help.

juneau2 Thu 06-Oct-16 10:05:08

I live in St Albans, but I have lots of friends in Harpenden and one of my best mates' kids go to The Grove. The schools in Harpenden are good, but they are over-subscribed, so you should buy as close to your chosen school as you can to be sure of getting in. The town is in the process of finding a site on which to build a new secondary school. This school should (I think), have been opening its doors in for a Sept 2017 intake, but this has not happened and they are now some 2-3 years behind schedule. However, since your DC is only 4 months old you really don't need to worry about this at present!

Southdown is very nice. Its not quite as posh as the main area of Harpenden, but that's why the houses are a bit cheaper. The amenities are good though and the station is still walkable or cyclable from there.

trobinson Thu 06-Oct-16 20:41:55

Hi all

Thanks for the information as it has had my worries to rest. The houses we have seen are a very close to the school and knowing there will be a second secondary school (which should be well established by the time we need it) makes me feel better.

allagory Thu 06-Oct-16 23:05:27

Lack of places in Harpenden will spread to St Albans too. (See below). The new school has been needed for years, but still all talk.

juneau2 Fri 07-Oct-16 09:17:51

Um, lack of places in St Albans is already an issue! I think at secondary its not too bad currently, (but I may be wrong as my kids are still primary age), so a number of Harpenden DC are offered places at Townsend School in St Albans every year (the closest St Albans school to Harpenden).

What I do know is that there are lots of bulge years at primary which will move up the system and population in the area has grown massively lately, due to people moving from London (just about everyone I know has come from there), and immigration, which has boosted populations across the southeast to never-before-seen highs.

School planning takes years to catch up with these realities and intakes of 90 children at reception level are now common across the whole St Albans/Harpenden area, in spite of new primaries opening (I know of one that opened in St Albans in 2012 and one in Harpenden in 2015).

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