Commuter villages that top Londoners’ wish lists

The South-East’s most popular commuter villages are revealed today — all within 90 minutes of London.
Rogate, in the South Downs National Park, together with the surrounding villages of Milland, Durford Wood, Langley and Elmers Marsh emerge as the most sought-after. According to consumer intelligence company CACI, these villages attract the biggest proportion of buyers classed as “wealthy countryside commuters”.
“These are people who are typically high-status professionals or maybe company directors,” says CACI director John Rae. “They will have pretty large houses, often on the edge of villages, with big gardens.
“These houses often have names rather than numbers, and their owners, because of their financial status, are usually older parents, perhaps with teenage or student children.”
The fact that these villages are within commuting distance of the capital is crucial. Rogate and its West Sussex neighbours are close to Petersfield, from where trains take just over an hour to London. The area is also handy for top private schools such as Bedales, while Rogate Primary School is rated “outstanding” by Ofsted.

TOP TEN: Where the wealthiest commuters live

Colin Williams, director of Neilan Williams estate agents in Petersfield, says: “Rogate is a bit of a chocolate-box village, with a pretty church and a pub. There is not very much there, but there are some very nice houses tucked away.” Entry price in these villages is about £300,000 for a two-bedroom flat, but Williams says buyers can easily spend £2 million to £3 million on a substantial house. Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich spent a reported £12 million on the Fyning Hill Estate, which is also in this area.
Other top locations highlighted by today’s study are the nine villages within the Buckinghamshire ward of Cholesbury, The Lee, and Bellingdon, where well over half the households are made up of wealthy commuters. The villages include Lee Common, Lee Gate and The Lee, Bellingdon, Asheridge, Braziers End and Buckland Common.
Like Rogate and its neighbours these villages are in glorious countryside, this time the Chilterns. They are also handy for some lovely towns and large villages — Chesham, Great Missenden and Amersham in particular — and fast trains from nearby Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, pull into Euston within 31 minutes.
“They are all just your typical, idyllic villages, with single-track roads, and very pretty,” said Rachael Cummings, sales and lettings negotiator at Hadlands Estate Agents. “They all have something like a shop or a pub, and they are very affluent. People tend to move here for the grammar schools like Dr Challoner’s in Amersham, which everyone raves about.”
What these villages have in common is that they are out of the financial reach of many commuters. To get around this, CACI’s John Rae suggests buying smaller but extendable homes in these areas, or looking at homes in neighbouring districts in the hope of benefiting from a ripple effect.

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