When the pandemic hit in March last year, Sophie Royden (30) and Oliver Marshall (34), refused to let it get them down and set themselves three objectives to make 2020 their best year yet. As a front-line paramedic (Oliver) and Emergency Medical Technician (Sophie) for the Ambulance Service, they wanted to survive the pandemic, get married and buy a house. The couple have recently purchased a three-bedroom Elmswell house type at Crest Nicholson’s St John’s Mead development in Elmswell, Suffolk, and later eloped to Gretna Green, Scotland.
Having previously rented a three-bedroom maisonette in Haverhill, Suffolk, the couple struggled with having no outdoor space during the first lockdown and decided having a garden to enjoy was a top priority during their home search, Sophie explains: “During the first lockdown we didn’t have a garden and it wasn’t until then that we fully appreciated the value of having one. It’s probably something people take for granted and when we started looking to buy a house, we decided having a decent sized garden was a priority. My preconception of new builds was that the gardens were overlooked and small, but this wasn’t the case at all. We spent the second lockdown in our new home with a garden to enjoy; it made such a big difference and really kept us sane! We’re looking forward to getting it landscaped soon too and really making it our own.”
Oliver, having owned a home previously, and Sophie a first time buyer, were able to make use of the government backed Help to Buy: Equity Loan scheme. Sophie explains: “We were lucky to be able to utilise the scheme before the rules changed - the Help to Buy scheme really helped us and meant we could get more for our money. We were also lucky enough to have benefited from the stamp duty savings – we’re going to use these savings to get a new patio for the garden.”
St John’s Mead comprises an exclusive collection of two-, three- and four-bedroom houses which are traditional in style. Oliver comments: “We chose the Elmswell house type as we love the curb appeal and character of the pitched roof to the front of the house. The layout of the home is also perfect for our lifestyle and just what we were looking for.”
St John’s Mead is well connected, with Elmswell railway station under a 15 minute walk from the development, offering direct trains to Bury St Edmunds in just 12 minutes, Ipswich in 24 minutes and Cambridge in under an hour. Residents will also be well connected by road, with the A14 just a short drive from the development linking to surrounding towns.
Oliver continues: “We love the area as we get to enjoy village living with lots of lovely walking routes and still get to enjoy excellent transport links; the A14 is a short drive from the development which links us to surrounding towns. When looking for our new home, the transport connections were a huge factor in our decision making and the development was extremely well connected, ticking all our boxes. There is also plenty of amenities, and we’ve got a convenience store within walking distance. For more shopping there is also Bury St Edmunds less than 20 minutes’ drive away which is a popular market town.”
Sophie concludes: “Our experience with the team at Crest Nicholson was really positive. The site manager and sales executives have been brilliant and communicated with us every step of the way and made the whole process a lot easier.”
Prices at St John’s Mead start from £320,000. The Sales Suite and show homes are open Thursday - Monday from 10am – 5pm. For more information, please call 01359 758 536 or visit www.crestnicholson.com/stjohnsmead.