Commuters on right track in Downham Market
Londoners looking to escape city life by buying a place in the country and commuting to work could be on the right lines in Downham.
The picturesque West Norfolk town has this week been named as one of the best places to live for those who want to get out of the city, but still have easy access to it, and don’t want to spend a fortune on property and rail fares.
In a special report in the Sunday Times, Downham came out on top for offering the best value and a commute of 100 minutes or less on the Cambridge Line.
The best town offering a commute of 45 minutes or less on the same line was Roydon in Essex.
Using exclusive data, the newspaper crunched the numbers on the 12 most popular commuter lines out of London, then looked at one or two of the places on each line that offer the best value for money – within a hour for daily commuters and more than an hour away for those who travel to the capital a couple of times a week.
The selection took into account travel time, the cost of a season ticket, the average asking price for a four-bedroom house and mortgage repayments on such a property, based on a 75 per cent loan-to-value deal and a 3.75 per cent interest rate.
As well as ticking all the boxes on the Cambridge Line, Downham was also revealed as the best value place out of all the selected towns and villages with a commute of 100 minutes or more.
The town has a travel time to London from 84 minutes and an annual cost, comprising of mortgage interest and season ticket prices, of £11,770, followed closely by West St Leonards in East Sussex of £11,895 and then Ipswich in Suffolk with an annual cost of £13,226.
Ben Marchbank, a partner with Bedfords Estate Agents, which has property for sale across West Norfolk, said people’s interest in commuting from further afield has grown in the last few years.
He said: “Over the last five years or so it seems people’s tolerance to a longer commute has increased.
“Ten years ago we’d probably have very few people willing to come this far out but over the last few years it’s become much more popular.
“People who perhaps work in London three or four days a week can still get an easy commute, but enjoy long weekends in the country and their children can go to school here too.”
He also said it wasn’t just Downham which has seen a interest rising from commuters.
He said: “To be fair, we find that anywhere from King’s Lynn to Ely within 20 minutes of that line, is popular.
“Obviously the closer you get to Ely and Cambridge, the more frequently people will go to London every day.
“I don’t think many people would want to travel from Downham or King’s Lynn every day but for those who only go a couple of times a week it’s ideal.”
South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss, who lives in Downham herself, said: “Downham is a fabulous town with lots of independent shops and easy access to wonderful countryside.
“It has real character with strong local events like the St Winnold’s parade held in March every year.
“The high school is to become an academy which will give greater freedoms and flexibility to teachers and students.
“The train line has excellent links to King’s Lynn, Cambridge and London and the upgrade of the Ely North Junction will allow for even greater frequency of trains.
“The train station is very lucky to have the Railway Arms on platform one. I regularly sit by the fire there enjoying a coffee whilst waiting for the train.
“There are some excellent employment opportunities in the surrounding area so I am not at all surprised that the town is recognised as a good place to live.”
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Weather for King's Lynn
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 10 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 15 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 10 C to 14 C
Wind Speed: 17 mph
Wind direction: North