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I posted this on the Property board but thought I might get a better response here...
Hi, all. DH and I (along with 5mo DS1) are looking, like so many others, to leave overcrowded, overpriced London and move somewhere a bit more reasonably-priced and spacious. We don't have a great deal of money as we're just living on DH's wage for the time being. But we have a deposit saved and a budget that would stretch to £250k.
I know it's not a huge amount but all we really need is a modest 2-bed terraced house with a little bit of garden space. We'd like somewhere with decent schools and in a road that feels safe to walk down after dark. Oh and DH would like to commute to London (Waterloo preferably) in under an hour. I also have family in SE London so decent train links would suit me too.
The commute and budget really suggests Tonbridge, just South of the station or the Slade area. I've heard Tonbridge referred to as "chavvy" an awful lot but we're in SE London now where there is quite a lot of crime, gangs etc.
So with that in mind I'd like to hear feedback on Tonbridge. Is it nice for children? Is crime an issue in the areas I've mentioned? Are the council estate areas generally ok or are there any no-go areas?
Hi, Tonbridge is fine for kids and bringing up a family. There really isn't a level of crime or violence that's comparable with living in much of London. Having lived all over London, incl SE for 20 years it's ridiculously quiet here, relatively speaking anyway. Sure there are teenagers hanging round McDonalds and behind the high street but I've never felt threatened by them. If you go to www.police.uk you can see month by month reported crimes by type and you can then compare that to where you are now. Mostly it's people reporting anti-social behaviour but there's not much to it imo. There are more housing options to the south but the Slade is arguably the best primary school in town.
Moved to Tonbridge 2 years ago from central Croydon - best move we ever made!!! Can't recommend highly enough... happy to supply info...
Hey, my family all live in Tonbridge and I wish I could afford to move back there (I moved away when I was 18 because I wanted to live somewhere busier) there are some really good schools, both Primary and Secondary and the area is nice, yeah there are teenagers hanging around but as teenagers go they are generally pretty polite and just bored coz there's not much for teenagers to do round there
Thanks for replies. I'm glad I checked back here! Woodelf I will have a think and PM you with any questions that come to mind if that's ok?
I do wonder when people complain about "chavs" etc what they have to compare to. It's all relative isn't it?
Does anyone know what the primary schools Sussex Road and St Stephens are like? I've read the ofsteds but always good to hear people's own experiences.
Bump! I need to know about these two schools too. We're looking at moving to South Tonbridge in the next 5-6 months. My DD is Yr4, I don't know if we stand any chance of getting into Sussex Road. St Stephen's Ofsted report rally doesn't look good, but I would love to hear from people who are actually involved with the school. At the moment my daughter is in a good but huge London school, I find it quite impersonal.
My little sister's friend is at Sussex Road (they are both year 5) She seems happy and is doing well, it has a good reputation for being very friendly and caring. I don't know anyone currently at St Stephen's, it doesn't have a great reputation though. I'd say St Margaret Clitherow's in North Tonbridge is the best school in the town but Sussex Road is a close second.
Thank you. I understand Slade School is also very good and housing round there seems good for our budget too. I think we need to have a good look around to decide!
Are "catchment areas" (if there's such a thing) quite small for primary schools in Tonbridge around the good schools? I can't find any info on the admissions booklet.
Slade has a fantastic reputation but I've got no personal experience of the school.
I think Slade has quite a small catchment, unless you are looking at the Hearing Impairment unit. St Stephens and Sussex Road as long as you are that end of town should be ok, Cage Green and Woodlands you'd need to be the north end of town, St Margaret's is a faith school so they prioritise by faith (Catholic, then other Christian denominations) before area. Obviously the closer you are to the school you like the more chance you have of getting in though.
Have you been to visit Tonbridge? There is a big park there and on Sunday afternoons it is busy with families with a really good feel to it. The high street has a lot of chantry shops but there is still a Waitrose and other supermarkets. I grew up in Southborough and was very definitely one of those teenagers hanging around the high street on a Friday night! I still like Tonbridge. It isn't as naice as T Wells but the train station means that it will never completely crash financially, there is some great countryside in the area, and I have some very fond memories of that park!
It is a pretty good area without being too fashionable or expensive.
It is a pretty good area without being too fashionable or expensive.
This is exactly why we want to move there and not to TW or Sevenoaks. We have read so many negative remarks about Tonbridge on the internet, but we've been to visit 4 times now and every time we just got a better 'feel' for the place. We are not bothered about shopping, the high street doesn't really bother me at all.
It makes such a change to read positive comments about Tonbridge. As a couple have mentioned, Tonbridge does tend to get a bit of a bad name sometimes and it doesn't have quite the same to offer residents as neighboring towns. That being said, it does still have plenty to offer and you don't have to walk far out of the central town before you are in lovely parks and countryside.
I actually set up a group 'RE:store Tonbridge, to allow local residents to voice their opinions on an open forum, about issues in Tonbridge, primarily the lack of shops to cater to peoples needs and the huge amount of charity shops and pound shops. Thought whilst my own opinion is that the high street is getting worse by the week, others have differing opinions.
The forum construction is in progress and will be launched at the beginning of Feb, so keep an eye out for that as there will be various topics of discussion to be found there, however in the meantime you can follow the group on Twitter @RestoreTon
We've visited a few times and also got a nice feel from it.
To the people who think the high street in Tonbridge is bad, they should see our local high street! Filthy, full of kebab/fried chicken shops, spit all over the floor, shops that are no use to me whatsoever. The highlight of the whole road is superdrug! :D
We now have to decide whether to rent for 6 months first or just jump in and buy a house while we can. We've liked so many areas and faffed about until we've been priced out it's been really disheartening.
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