Before I moved to Beechcroft's Cheltenham development, I was living in the countryside and had a huge garden. After being widowed, I wasn't able to manage to do all the things my husband used to do and winter in the countryside is pretty grim. I was the first to move in - and now I have neighbours and we are all very similar in that we want to enjoy life and hold onto our independence. I just love the development, especially at night when the lights are on all around the courtyard. It's enormously reassuring.
Our former home in Hampshire was just too big, requiring a lot of heating and maintenance. Our garden was moderately sized but still took a lot of effort to look after. We're in our 70s now and when we come home, we just want to shut the front door, turning the heating on and relax. We've downsized in terms of the size of our home - we've got three bedrooms now instead of five - but not in financial terms. We wanted to have at least three bedrooms and we wanted to be comfortable. The quality of Beechcroft homes is very good. At our new developments we'll have quiet, like-minded neighbours and our new home will be warmer than our old one.
I went to the launch of the development and viewed the Beechcroft show flat - and fell in love immediately. The interior design is the best I have seen - so stylish. When I wake up in the new home I've just bought, I'll open my eyes to beautifully high ceilings and cornicing - and the underfloor heating will be a bonus. And, of course, there are views across the lawns to the river. Where I live at the moment, I don't see many people as most of my neighbours spend time in other parts of the country and I feel a bit isolated so I'm looking forward to owning a home on a private, gated development with a good sense of community.
When we decided to downsize, the Beechcroft homes were ideal for us because we needed plenty of living space but not too many bedrooms - which is just what Beechcroft provides. The home we selected is perfect; we've even got a balcony. Buying a new Beechcroft home also means we'll be able to lock up and leave our property to travel and visit family abroad without having to worry about our home whilst we're away - particularly with an Estate Manager on hand.
I wasn't actively looking to move - in fact I was very resistant to the idea. I really didn't want to go into an old people's place so when I visited a Beechcroft site it was the first retirement development I'd ever been to. I was really surprised. I just didn't know places like this existed. It's the perfect stepping stone if you're moving from a large house to something easier to maintain but still offers plenty of space. I now own a beautiful home with high ceilings and a good heating system but it's also energy efficient - everything you'd want in a house.
Living at my Beechcroft development means I'm near the shops. Where I lived before, I was more in the country and when it snowed, I'd be stranded for days. My house was up a slope and it took hours to clear the snow in order to get out. The people I have met here are lovely - really super. There's a real sense of community.
We were invited to the open day - and almost immediately decided to buy a home with beautiful views across the front garden towards the church and, from the balcony, over the South Downs. The location, within a few minutes' level walk of the shops, including the local branch of Waitrose, is ideal for over 55s who rather leave the car at home.
I am really happy here. I have made so many friends and know all my neighbours. We have a communal lounge and terrace at the development which we use for meetings and drinks parties. The neighbouring care home is really useful. We can go there to have meals if we don't feel like cooking and I've been to all the social events. We had a 'bake off', Eric Knowles came to value antiques,a London quarter gave a concert and we have had an unveiling of a sculpture. Lunch is always included and the events are very sociable. It's also useful having an Estate Manager - he is so helpful and was very good when I moved in and had lots of packing boxes to get rid of.
When I saw that Beechcroft was developing the site, I took the number down and registered my interest and I am so glad that I did. I was the second person through the doors on the launch day. The apartment I chose hadn't been released as it wasn't due for completion for some months but Beechcroft allowed me to reserve it at an early stage and I was prepared to wait. I couldn't be in a better place. There's so much to do and something for everyone. The only problem is that there isn't enough time to fit everything in.
The house we'd lived in for so many years was too large for the two of us. It was expensive to maintain and, with an acre garden, there was always so much to do. We spend the winter in our second home abroad, which we've owned for 30 years, and now we can lock up and leave without any worries about our English home.
We had been thinking about moving for some time but we were anxious not to downsize drastically but it wasn't easy to find a four-bedroom apartment and certainly not one with all the rooms on a single level. We chose to move to Winchester because Beechcroft was building there - not for the city itself. We looked at the development at an early stage of construction and, as we found exactly what we were looking for, we reserved the apartment immediately! We didn't actually lose much floor space and we now have four bedrooms instead of five.
Our younger son and his family live about 10 miles away and they wanted us to be nearer to them. Now we're closer we get to see the children and grandchildren more often and I am able to help with babysitting.
We always said we would downsize before we had to. The garden of our former home was far too much for us to manage and we had a swimming pool. We couldn't let the opportunity of buying at our Beechcroft development pass us buy. We love the house we bought - even through we have had a lot of furniture built in, the rooms don't look small and our balcony is lovely - and all the facilities are within walking distance.
We started to view bungalows on offer in our area and found that most of them required work and that wasn't something we wanted to take on at our age. We love our Beechcroft development and haven't really missed our old house. We wouldn't go back. We are very happy with our apartment and the fact that we can open the doors onto the terrace and go out into the gardens whenever we like. We also appreciate the fact that the apartment is really spacious.
We are attracted by the 'lock up and leave' lifestyle - we enjoy travelling to Spain and the Canaries - as well as within the UK. At the moment we travel for about 12 weeks a year but now we'll be able to spend more time away, especially as there is an Estate Manager to keep an eye on things whilst we are away. It is certainly comforting to know that an onsite Estate Manager will be permanently employed in case we need anything.
I liked the feeling of the show apartment and the gardens are lovely; we wanted to be by the river. We are downsing from a larger house and I don't want to garden any more. I am very happy to live in an apartment, particularly one that is set in beautiful surroundings and is of a good size. I like Old Isleworth and this area offers excellent value for money, better value than Richmond which is within walking distance along the river. We know the area and have friends locally and are sure that there will be an excellent sense of community at Fitzroy Gate.
Life is about people - socialising was part of my job and now I feel part of a community again. As soon as I moved into my new Beechcroft development, my new neighbours made me feel very welcome. I feel really contented. I'm not saying that moving house and everything that involves wasn't a difficult journey but it was all worth it in the end.
Having been an architect, my husband is very fussy but the Beechcroft development has really impressed him. He still goes on about the high specification. Of course, moving was tiring and I had been in hospital before we moved but our children helped us enormously and Beechcroft made it even easier. We really did not expect the level of friendliness and helpfulness we received. We are over the moon with our new home and could not be happier.
When we started to look for a new home what appealed - on paper - was a house with a balcony or outdoor space - perhaps a garden and a garage. What we ended up choosing was absolutely nothing like that - but, from the start, I loved the fact that Fitzroy Gate is on the river and is set in beautiful grounds. Every window in our apartment has beautiful views.
We often thought that when we downsized, we'd want to be near all the amenities in town. Berkhamsted has a good range of shops and restaurants, we love the cinema and there's always a lot going on. At some time, in the future, we may not want to depend on a car, so we have bought a home near the centre of town with the station and everything on hand.
We were amazed by the Beechcroft apartment because the rooms were large and beautifully proportioned. In our former house, I wasn't able to have all the family round at once because there simply wasn't enough room - but I will be able to do so in my new home. The family all get on so well and it's a joy when we can all get together.
As soon as we walked in, we knew the apartment was the right one for us. We were very impressed with the finish. My husband has done building work himself and renovated a couple of house - and can really recognise quality. Everything at Cumber Place has been done so well. One of the nice things about our new home is that the two bedrooms are both proper double bedrooms...the whole development is lovely.
We downsized dramatically and it was a shock to the system - we had to get rid of 85% of our belongings but it was necessary. Now we're really happy. We can walk to the shops and there's very little maintenance which is what you need when you get older. We weren't looking for an apartment - although we did want a much smaller garden. Before we saw the Beechcroft properties we believed that buying new meant sacrificing space. We had already looked at older houses but thought we would b inheriting other people's maintenance issues. We also viewed some very upmarket properties with wall-to-wall windows but felt that it would be like living in a holiday home.
Beechcroft is a leading UK retirement developer building outstanding homes for the over 55s in Surrey, Sussex, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, Middlesex, Gloucester and Kent. Beechcroft’s retirement houses and apartments offer award-winning landscaped settings and estate management services, access to shops and services and a community of like-minded people.
This is independent retirement living at its best - perfect retirement properties for the over 55’s to live in or lock up and leave.