Highlands Park Burns

Dr Alison Burns and her husband Professor Alistair Burns, who live in Knutsford, Cheshire, were in the market for a second home that would enable them to be closer to their daughter, in nearby Wallingford.


Alison, an archaeologist who specialises in pre-historic footprints and Alistair, a professor for old age psychiatry, found their perfect apartment at Crest Nicholson’s Highlands Park development in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire. The couple loved the market town location and the high quality homes and plan to spend a third of their time in their new Oxfordshire base, alongside their cockapoo, Coco.


The couple, who purchased their two bedroom apartment in Barnsletts House, Highlands Park, opted for Henley-on-Thames as they loved the market town and the surrounding countryside. Alison explains: “Our daughter lives near Wallingford, and we wanted to be nearer to her. She’s over a three-hour drive from Knutsford, so buying at Highlands Park enables us to stay for a few nights at a time without constantly bothering her. We really like Henley and the area around it. It’s got beautiful countryside and Henley itself is really nice. I like to be able to have restaurants, shops and different places to visit on my doorstep, which Henley offers. It’s got some beautiful riverside areas where you can sit, a little theatre, cinema, and it had a Christmas market in the town hall. I like that feeling of there being quite a lot going on in the community, it’s one of the reasons we chose Henley over other places in the area.”


Alison explains why she and Alistair were attracted to the development: “Highlands Park is in a fantastic location with the countryside right on its doorstep, and the development has a ‘Trim Trail’ running around the outside which connects up with various footpaths leading off in different directions, both toward Henley and away from it. There’s also a huge field, called a dog run, so we find the area around here is much better for Coco than back in Knutsford. Walking Coco has also enabled us to meet fellow dog walkers in the local area.”


Alison continues: “The development is in keeping with the Oxfordshire vernacular, with black wooden cladding, red brick, flint, and stone walls around the gardens of the houses, making it very attractive. The design of Barnsletts House is very interesting, it’s almost half of a hexagon. Inside our apartment, we’ve got a large picture window and French doors so we can get out onto the balcony. We like the feeling of openness here and the view from the apartment down the road.”


Their apartment is ideally suited for them to be able to work from home. Using adaptable furniture, like the foldable campaign desk in the second bedroom, Alison has been able to change up the rooms to suit their needs as an office-come-guest bedroom. Alison says: “My husband spends three or four days working from home, and I work from home but am sometimes engaged in fieldwork. Having a base in Henley enables Alistair to be flexible in his working arrangements as he works in various parts of the country. He goes into London sometimes too, so we are quite fortunate that we can reach Reading, or other stations nearby, to catch a fast train into London. We’ve also got the second bedroom set up as an office. The flats are really well built, so we can shut the doors for privacy whilst we’re working.”


Alison explains how opting for a new build suited their requirements: “A new build flat is an ideal way for us to achieve our priorities: offering us security when we’re not there but suiting our life when we are in Henley. With a new build, everything is very up to date. The boiler is very efficient, and I really like the flexibility of our heating system. We can put it on ‘holiday’ mode for a number of days and the heating and hot water will only operate after the holiday period. We’re therefore not heating our apartment unnecessarily but are still stopping the pipes and home from freezing when we’re not here, which has been very helpful this winter. With two control panels, one in the bedroom and one in the living area, we can also be flexible with what we heat and where. It’s all very energy efficient, which is great.”


Prices for two bedroom apartments at Highlands Park start from £437,500. Prices for a two, three or four bedroom house start from £565,000, £620,000 and £700,000 respectively. For more information, visit the sales suite, which is open Thursday to Sunday from 10am until 5pm. Alternatively, call 01491 378 966 or visit www.crestnicholson.com/highlands-park.