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Thinking of moving to the area - specifically St Margarets - any advice/info?(16 Posts)
The thread title probably says it all!
We are seriously looking at a move to the St Margarets area (would love Rickmond but can't afford!) and are weighing it up against Wimbledon, which we know better and has faster transport links to Waterloo but which can feel a bit 'urban' for us.
Anyone live in the area and love/like/hate it? We are expecting our first DC so obviously things that are hugely important are green space (which I know St Margarets has in abundance) and like-minded neighbours/nice family atmosphere/ a pleasant high street and/or areas to stroll with a pushchair.
Would love to hear all the good and bad! Thanks so much in advance.
Oh and ps our budget is going to be anything between about £650k (ideally) up to £750k if we are really, really stretching ourselves. That looks feasible to me on Rightmove but perhaps I'm looking at dodgy streets or something!!
St Margaret's is lovely but if you're thinking state schools there are whole chunks of it that form a sort of no-mans land. The choice is also worse if you want a secular school (2 of the 3 state primaries are C of E IIRC).
You may find you're not priced out of Richmond if you consider the North Sheen end?
Thanks RichmondNCT that's really helpful - hadn't thought that far... Being pg is making me dozy! Yes I think we probably would want a state primary, though we wouldn't mind if it was CoE. By no-man's land do you mean that the catchment areas are blurry and you can end up not getting a place anywhere you might want?!
Are the houses you've looked at north of the A316? They do tend to be slightly less expensive than elsewhere in St margarets (your budget is a huge amount of money but won't go that far in some parts of st margarets). As mentioned, this is partly due to the lack of schools in that area. That said, the closest primary (St stephen's) has just expanded, which should ease the problem although I understand primary schools across the borough are hugely oversubscribed.
In all other respects, St margarets is a lovely place to live. We have just moved slightly closer to twickenham (near the civic centre) - a fair bit cheaper than St margarets proper but just 8 mins' walk away and just as convenient for the river, marble hill, buses to Richmond etc as well as being near a good school (and waitrose!). If that's of interest, the roads at the twick end of amyand park rd might be worth a look.
There are no catchment areas as such. It's not quite this simple but you get allocated a place at your nearest school with places, and if there is more then one school that you live close enough to, you can express a preference. Some people get a real choice of as many as 3 schools, others get no choice. 170ish families a year for last 2 years got no place allocated at all (although almost all got offered a place by September).
Have a look at the council website for school info and the threads on here. I'm also in no-man's land but the other side of the river. And applying for schools now.
St Margs properties get cheaper as you get towards Isleworth (I think - it's been a while since I looked) but yes also cheaper towards Twickenham. The whole borough's great and differences in price if unrelated to property type (eg flat/non-period) tend to be because of schools, transport or occasionally snobbery (which will only be short term as property is so expensive round here that today's less popular patch is tomorrow's hot spot).
If I had the money to move St Margaret's, Kew or Barnes would all be on my shortlist because they're villagey but still Richmond.
North Sheen is probably no better for schools than St Margaret's in terms of choice - but all Richmond borough primaries are good as long as you get a place. Secondary school choices are very much in flux because the link school policy has just been abolished. ondary_school_allocation_maps.htmRichmond council has allocation maps and some projections - you'd probably miss out on Grey Court in either St Margaret's and North Sheen but might have a chance of Orleans Park.
I'm down the road in Teddington, where the schools are fantastic. I absolutely love living here. Wimbledon is much closer into town, with great transport links, but doesn't have the tranquility of the naiceness of our part of town.
Good things: green spaces, low crime, friendly community, great primary and secondary schools.
Bad things: longer commute into town (but I always get a seat on the train), distinct lack of urban vibe, monocultural community by London standards.
I was referring just to primary schools and the choice is definitely better in North Sheen than St Margaret's at the moment. Could all be quite different in 4 years time and secondary is likely to be very different (couple of long running threads regarding secondaries at the moment). Map of current primary schools here: www.richmond.gov.uk/home/community_and_living/local_maps/primary_schools_map.htm Zoom out and you'll see a gap around Richmond station that extends to St Margs on left and Queens Road in Richmond on right. Any gaps like that are likely to cause problems unless you're on an edge near a school because there's often more competition for less places (depending on population density and demographic of course).
I am inclined to
bury my head in the sand not worry about secondaries just yet. Not with judicial reviews etc ongoing. Besides I'm still weeping at the maps that shows none of my closest primary schools would give us a place <crosses fingers for a bulge>
I forgot about Teddington. That would probably make my villagey shortlist too.
Now if you want to know about hospitals, maternity care, breastfeeding drop-ins and baby classes I happen to know a lot about that and it's basically all good across the borough with the exception of local breastfeeding support that is not evenly distributed.
Wow these are such helpful and detailed responses, thank you so so much ladies!
Ktay - yes I think we will need to look closer to Twickenham as well, our budget will stretch further there, that's for sure. Also Twickenham has advantage of faster trains to Waterloo. Do you know how crowded they are first thing in the morning? DH goes to work about 7.15 so I imagine they're not too crowded just then but of course we will have to test it out. Hadn't really considered that of course it's only a short walk from Twickenham to St Margarets - not that there's anything at all wrong with Twickenham - I have friends who live there and it's a nice town - but I am keen on having something a bit more villagey nearby. This would be an advantage over Wimbledon - the areas we can afford there are much more than 10 mins walk up to lovely Wimbledon village.
RichmondNCT - so helpful, thank you, and I may very well PM you at a later stage to ask about antenatal classes etc, if you wouldn't mind?
Hadn't considered Teddington, I have no idea at all about what it's like. But if vaguely villagey could be worth a look. Not sure about transport links though.
If I had my totally free way we'd live miles out of London in a proper village somewhere but just not feasible with DH's work sadly
Oh and greengrape - brilliant thanks, the link to schools info is ACE
Ask away Prob best to email rather than pm at the moment. If I don't know the answer I'll know who to speak to: firstname.lastname@example.org. It may well be Twickenham branch (the boundary is the river between St Margs and Richmond) but I'll be able to redirect and general stuff is the same.
Teddington bestof both worlds but on slow line to Waterloo.great family feel and community fantastic schools next to bushes park brilliant and but now as expensive as richmond to buy especially close to certain schools north Teddington cheaper near Stanley primary
I used to travel in about an hour later than your dh and the trains were generally standing room only at that time. That said, they don't really work out much faster in the mornings so - as we are equidistant from the two - my dh usually gets the 0715 stopping train from St margs, which has the advantage of being cheaper (zone 4) and less busy. Different story in the evenings though, when the fast train to twick shaves 10 mins off the commute.
Those school maps make scary reading! Unfortunately there isn't one for our first choice (we're applying this year) but looks like we wouldn't stand a chance with our back-up option
Ps twickenham high St is a tad underwhelming (the twickerati blog is a fun read and frequently laments the surfeit of estate agents, charity shops and coffee shops) but if you walk down church St you can kid yourself you're in a village. Also you quickly come to appreciate places like poundland when you have a toddler!
Teddington is just lovely and, for me, worth the longer commute. Going into town, it's about the last station where you can guarantee getting a seat in the rush hour (which is always a bonus).
Teddington is blessed with five fantastic primary schools, but there is still huge pressure for places so you want to be careful where you end up. There's a lot of guff talked locally about the perceived differences between the schools (Collis the poshest, apparently, Stanley a bit low rent and rough, Hampton Wick cosy little community) which I think is complete tribal nonsense. They're all Ofsted outstanding, all serving a very affluent demographic, all seem happy and well run.
If you have boys, it's best to go south (near the river/towards Hampton Wick) so you can get into Teddington School for secondary. If you have girls, you could go up towards Strawberry Hill or Fulwell and get into the catchment of Waldegrave Girls, which is a fantastically high performing girls state secondary.
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