Spotlight on Haywards Heath
The popular commuter town of Haywards Heath in West Sussex sits 36 miles almost directly south of London. It grew from modest beginnings with the arrival of the London to Brighton Railway in 1841.
The station was built on heathland between the picture-postcard villages of Cuckfield to the west and Lindfield to the east, and the town itself is still notable for the remaining swathe of heath close to its centre.
Houses and flats for sale in Haywards Heath
Haywards Heath has fine Victorian and Edwardian detached houses close to the station, which sell for between £800,000 and £1 million, but there are also some three- and four-bedroom Victorian terraces that sell for between £350,000 and £400,000.
There is also a good choice of post-Second World War houses starting at about £295,000, which offer very good value for money.
But it is the surrounding villages, especially Lindfield and Cuckfield, that attract the big money. In these villages a two-bedroom cottage in the high street sells for £400,000-£500,000 and a much sought-after six or seven-bedroom period house sells for £1.5 million to £2 million. According to estate agent Darren Middleton of the local branch of Hamptons, people queue up for the latter.
Bolnore Village is a new self-contained village to the south-west of the town, originally developed by Crest Nicholson. Here one-bedroom flats start at about £140,000 and five-bedroom detached houses are priced from £760,000.
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The area attracts: a lot of south London families who are attracted to the area by the beautiful countryside of the South Downs, especially now it is protected by National Parks status, plus the easy commute to London and the proximity to the sea and the lively arts scene in Brighton, only 12 miles to the south.
Staying power: once there, with their children settled in local schools, families tend to stay in the area.
Renting in Haywards Heath: Paul Dryden, the lettings manager at Hamptons, says many families rent in Haywards Heath to “try before they buy”.
Best roads: a cottage or large village house in or close to the high street in Lindfield or Cuckfield.
Haywards Heath: top five high-value streets
New-build homes: Haywards Heath
The local council’s ambitious regeneration plans were scuppered when a development partner went bust. Now plans have been trimmed and Solum Regeneration, a joint venture between Kier Properties and Network Rail, has obtained planning permission for a £17 million station improvement scheme to include a new hotel and branch of Waitrose next year.
Bolnore Village lies to the south-west of Haywards Heath. Crest Nicholson (01444 316211) is currently building 118 (12 affordable through Moat Housing) homes. Prices range from £199,950 for a two-bedroom flat to £449,950 for a four-bedroom house.
Bovis has a development at Bolnore Village, Maple Grove (0845 470 9163), of two- to four-bedroom houses. Prices range from £249,950 for a two-bedroom terrace to £449,950 for a four-bedroom detached house.
Crest Nicholson is also building at St Francis Park (01444 318976) in Colwell Road, south of the Lewis Road, a development of 90 (17 affordable through Affinity Sutton) two-, three- and four-bedroom house with prices for the remaining 22 homes ranging from £324,950 for a three-bedroom terrace to £439,950 for a four-bedroom semi-detached house.
Kaleidoscope (0333 321 8907) in Gravelye Lane in Lindfield is a Croudace development of 63 (20 affordable) two, three and four-bedroom houses with prices ranging from £270,000 for a two-bedroom terrace to £425,000 for a four-bedroom detached house.
Connect (0844 488 3457) is a Linden Homes development of 186 (71 affordable through Affinity Sutton) one- and two-bedroom flats and two- and three-bedroom houses in Haylind Road. Prices range from £139,995 for a one-bedroom flat to £224,500 for a two-bedroom terrace.
Up and coming: Darren Middleton says there is trade-off between price and proximity to the station, so Hurstpierpoint and Ditchling are cheaper than Lindfield and Cuckfield.
Travel and commuting: Haywards Heath is close to the M23 London to Brighton road; trains take about 45 minutes to London and an annual season ticket costs £3,916 to London Bridge with any train operator (£3,400 with First Capital Connect only) and £3,612 to Victoria.
Schools: Almost without exception the state schools in Haywards Heath are judged “good” by the government’s education watchdog Ofsted. The two state comprehensives, both co-ed taking pupils from 11 to 16, get slightly above average results at GCSE.
Oathall Community College is in Appledore Gardens and Warden Park Academy is in Broad Street, Cuckfield. For sixth form studies pupils move on to Central Sussex College which has campuses in Crawley, Haywards Heath, Horsham, Burgess Hill and East Grinstead. The main centre for A Level studies is in Haywards Heath. The college is rated “good” by Ofsted.
There is also a good choice of local private schools, most set in beautiful old buildings in spacious grounds. Ardingly College (co-ed ages two to 18) is in the nearby village of Ardingly while Hurstpierpoint College (co-ed ages four to 18) is in Hurstpierpoint.
Worth School (co-ed ages 11 to 18) is a Roman Catholic school linked to Worth Abbey in Turners Hill. Great Walstead (co-ed ages two to 13) in Lindfield, Tavistock and Summerhill (co-ed, ages two to 13 ) in Summerhill Lane and Cumnor House (co-ed ages four to 13) in Danehill are the three local prep schools.
Shops and restaurants: Hayward Heath’s main shopping street along South Street is drab and in need of a facelift; there is a similarly uninspiring shopping centre, Orchards, although it does contain a branch of Marks & Spencer, which has recently committed to staying in the town, and branches of Next, New Look and Dorothy Perkins.
Broadway is where the restaurants are concentrated; many of the chains – Zizzi, Pizza Express, Prezzo and Cafe Rouge - are here but there are also independent cafes and bars too. The shopping excitement is in the villages of Lindfield and Cuckfield.
Lindfield in particular has smart boutiques such as Villandry Home, for interiors accessories, and Doodie Stark, for women’s fashion, but it also has a butcher, baker and fruit and vegetable shop.
At Cuckfield, The Neilson is an award-winning women’s boutique, Nicky C, who also has a shop in Godstone, mixes homewares and fashion. There are lovely country pub restaurants, particularly popular are the Griffin in Fletching, the Red Lion at Turners Hill and the Coach and Horses in Danehill. For fine dining, locals head for Jeremy’s at Borde Hill and Oxenden Manor at Cuckfield.
The Priory of Our Lady of Good Counsel in Syresham Gardens is a fine Victorian gothic building built for a community of nuns from Bruges between 1887 and 1888. It is now converted into a small business centre with a restaurant in the former chapel. The restaurant is currently unoccupied and for rent through Christie & Co 01622 656000.
Open space: Haywards Heath has an area of heath in the centre of town and Victoria Park. The South Downs and the Ashdown Forest are nearby and there are lovely gardens at Borde Hill and Wakehurst, a Kew outpost housing the Millennium Seed Bank.
Leisure and the arts: a cultural desert itself, but Brighton is only 12 miles away and just 15 minutes on the train. The Dolphin Leisure Centre in Pasture Hill Road houses the local council-owned swimming pool.
The Lindfield Arts Festival, now in its 4th year will be held this year from 10 – 12th May. Now a registered charity, thefestival goes from strength to strength (lindfieldartsfestival.com).
Council: Mid-Sussex District Council (Conservative-controlled); Band D council tax for 2012/2013: £1,506.23.
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What does Haywards Heath have in common with Gidea Park in Essex?
Architect Harold Turner who designed homes in the garden suburb of Gidea Park and in Haywards Heath. Here he was responsible for the 300 homes in Franklands, a village of affordable homes promoted by local Rotarians, and Mill Hill Close, a retirement village for the Institution of Civil Engineers. He also designed lovely houses and cottages in the Sussex vernacular style in and around Haywards Heath, in particular in Oathall Road, which are much in demand.
Average prices: Buying flats and houses in Haywards Heath
Average prices: Renting flats and houses in Haywards Heath
One-bedroom flat: £600 to £750 a month
Two-bedroom flat: £650 to £950 a month
Two-bedroom house: £800 to £1,100 a month
Three-bedroom house: £1,000 to £1,500 a month
Four-bedroom house: £1,400 to £2,500 a month
Five-bedroom-plus house: £1,800 to £3,500 a month
Source: Hamptons International
How do property prices compare? Haywards Heath compared to rest of UK