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A recent poll of 3,000 parents by online parenting guide familiesonline.co.uk found that parents don’t let children play outside on their own until they are, on average, 10½ – three years older than when they themselves were allowed to do the same.


Wanting to move to a home with community spirit and somewhere the children could play out safely, Vikki and Ben Wakerly, and their four children have recently moved into their dream five bedroom home at Countryside’s St Luke’s Park development in Runwell, Essex.

Vikki (41), a Catering Assistant and Ben (42), a Customer Sales Manager, were previously living in a five bedroom semi-detached property in Billericay, which they had extended and added a loft conversion to, in order to suit their family’s needs. Vikki explains: “Having four young growing children, Ben and I decided that ideally we needed a larger detached family home, with a good sized garden and off street parking. We also wanted to be part of a community and live somewhere we could let the kids play out on their bikes, as we lived directly on a main road before.”

Set within 200 acres of landscaped grounds, Countryside’s St Luke’s Park development comprises an exceptional collection of 575 traditional style two, three, four and five-bedroom houses and apartments. The new homes are surrounded by mature trees and woodland, with tranquil woodland walkways, a carefully refurbished Grade II listed chapel, a proposed new primary school and a proposed range of community facilities.

Vicki continues: “Previously, I had dismissed the thought of buying a new house, however just from driving past St Luke’s Park one day, I thought it looked amazing. When we popped in for an initial look, Ben and I were so impressed with the development. We looked at all the five-bedroom homes available at St Luke’s Park but selected the Sycamore, as the layout works perfectly for us. Our two boys, Theo (7) and Toby (10) each have a bedroom on the second floor, with a joint shower-room. On the first floor, our master bedroom suite is lovely and my eldest daughter Charlotte (12) has her own en-suite, which she loves. Everything works for us as a family, the downstairs is open-plan and spacious, which is great for relaxing or entertaining.

“As you drive up into St Luke’s Park, our house is one of the first you see and we have the most amazing oak tree in the front garden. It’s lovely to follow the progress of the development, and slowly watch everyone move in. There’s a real sense of community and all of our neighbours are lovely, so it’s been fantastic for the kids. Theo and Toby have made so many friends, they are always desperate to get home from school or wherever we have been to play out with their friends. I feel it’s a really safe environment for them to play out, everyone keeps an eye on each other. We take our youngest daughter Zara (3) out to play out with all the kids as well, it’s a really family friendly development.”

Ideally located approximately six miles from Basildon, ten miles from Chelmsford and twelve miles from Southend-On-Sea, residents will benefit from good shopping and leisure facilities. Perfect for commuters, direct trains serve London Liverpool Street in approximately 40 minutes from nearby Wickford and Rayleigh train stations. By car, excellent road connections to the development include the A130 and A127, offering links to the A12, A13 and M25.

A new phase of homes has recently been released at the development, with prices for a three-bedroom house starting at £399,995, four-bedroom houses from £539,995 and five-bedroom houses starting from £734,995. Furthermore, a range of homes are now available to buy using a Low Cost Home Ownership scheme. For more information or to register your interest please visit www.countryside-properties.com or call the sales team on 01268 207 136 / 983 306.

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