Case Studies

Oxfordshire Locals Upsize to Heyford Park – May 2021

Joanne and Martin Bungay recently moved to Heyford Park near Bicester with their two children, after many years living and working in Oxford.

Looking for a new home in the Bicester area?

They were prompted to look for a new home after Joanne fell pregnant for a second time, and the family realised they needed to move somewhere new that would better suit their needs. Joanne explains:

“We’d been living in Cowley in Oxford in a three-bedroom house, but as our family grew we wanted to find somewhere new that had a sense of community and would provide us with a different lifestyle.”

With Joanne and Martin still working in Oxford, the family started looking in Bicester, where Joanne’s parents live. They knew that they wanted a new-build home and visited a few different places before they discovered Heyford Park, a new community approximately ten minutes’ drive from Bicester.

“We fell in love with Heyford Park before we’d even seen our home, the feeling was completely different to the other new developments we had visited. We loved the different styles of the homes and the sense of space – they weren’t built closely to one another like some places.”

The family upsized into a four-bedroom home, granting them the space to grow and put down roots for many years to come. Discussing their house, Joanne says:

“Our new home has the highest specification that we’ve ever seen. It was ready to move into and we were just so impressed, it was so much better quality compared to other homes we’d seen.”

The family is now settling into their new life, enjoying all that the development has to offer.

“We love walking around the village and across the green, whilst Stoke Woods is nearby as well as the canal. Our commute into Oxford is straightforward and takes around 30 minutes. We love it here!”

Heyford Park move cuts commute for the Richardsons – May 2021

David Richardson, a sales director, had been commuting from North Essex to his office in Aylesbury. He and his wife loved their previous home, but the major commute was taking up to 2.5 hours each way.

With David’s wife self-employed, the couple decided to relocate closer to Aylesbury in an effort to improve their work-life balance. David often has to travel around the country for work, so at the top of their search criteria was somewhere with really good onward transport links.

Heyford Park move cuts commute for David Richardson

Neither David or his wife knew the Aylesbury area that well, so they were open to visiting new locations as they started their house hunt, as David explains:

“We started with a wide net around Aylesbury and began by searching online. This went on for quite some time but nothing was standing out to us. When we found Heyford Park, we just loved the look and feel of the homes and the new development, and there was one style of house that really fitted our criteria.”

After they visited Heyford Park, the couple was immediately impressed by the quality of the new homes.

“We’d seen a lot of other new homes during our search and they just felt like a very similar standard. Heyford Park was completely different – the furnishings and fixtures in the home we viewed were of a much better quality. And they were actually included as part of the home, not added extras that we’d have to pay for later, which was the case with other new homes we saw.”

The new community at Heyford Park is set on more than 1200 acres of land, with the area known for its long-distinguished history as a former RAF base. A range of original features are being retained and enhanced as part of the development. David found this unique history interesting, explaining:

“Heyford’s history makes it much more interesting than just a collection of new homes. The layout of the development makes the most of the old site, with many open spaces like the village green, which our home overlooks.”

With working from home still a necessity, the couple needed a home that could provide rooms and spaces that could be easily converted into home offices.

“Having a double garage and large drive was an important feature we were looking for, and internally we needed space where we could both work. I converted one bedroom into a home office and my wife converted another for use as a studio for her work as a dress designer.”

The couple have quickly settled into the new area and have found time to explore much of the countryside on Heyford Park’s doorstep. David adds:

“A countryside location was really important for both of us – I’m a keen cyclist so during the last few months I’ve really explored the local area. Some of my colleagues live locally in Bicester, which is easy to get to, and we have the Cotswolds nearby too.”

Clissold Park to Heyford Park: How Luke and Freya Haddon-Smale made the move from London to greener pastures – March 2021

For young professional couple Luke and Freya Haddon-Smale, the choice to move out of London was always on the cards; it just wasn’t as soon as they imagined. However, with 2020 changing the living priorities of many city dwellers, Luke and Freya fast-tracked their decision to head out of the capital.

Looking for a new home in the Bicester area

After friends recommended the Bicester area, the couple took a drive and found Heyford Park, a growing community of homes and facilities built by Dorchester Living. In a twist of fate, their car broke down when they arrived, which gave them some time to walk around, explore and look at the development.

“After we moved back from New York, we knew London wasn’t going to be our forever destination. We do love the buzz and energy of London, but we also craved the village feeling and having wide open spaces near us and that’s what we have at Heyford Park.” said Freya.

“It was the easiest decision we’ve ever made. It had everything we were looking for and more. The house we chose sits right on the village green, offers so much space and looks beautiful.”

Freya continued, “living in London was brilliant, and we’ll always be fond of our time there. Having Clissold Park [in Stoke Newington] on our doorstep was great, however the parks were so busy that it became hard to socially distance, even for exercising.”

They bought a four-bedroom home and converted two of the spaces to be respective offices. Having the luxury of shutting the door at the end of the day and switching off from work has been a blessing for the couple, who struggled to find a good work/life balance at their old flat.

As for achieving that balance now, the couple have almost become co-workers and enjoy the “water cooler” moments as much as possible.

“Each day we have our morning coffee and breakfast at the island bench in the kitchen, then move to our offices and start the day. We’ll then see each other again for lunch, then again after work. It’s nice to have someone nearby but not talking over each other on Zoom calls”, Luke adds.

Before the pandemic, the couple had a very different lifestyle in London but the events of last year really helped to shape their living priorities. They knew they wanted a bigger space to work and grow into, ideally in the countryside and with a certain budget in mind.

“Like most young professionals, we didn’t want to be paying someone else’s mortgage and wanted to be practical with our money. At our new home we are paying a significantly lower price on our mortgage, in comparison to what we were paying on rent in London – it’s crazy to sort of be throwing that money away”, said Luke.

And for when the day comes to start the commute back into London, Freya and Luke are only 45 minutes via train into London Marylebone.

Freya commented, “considering it would sometimes take longer to get to our office from Stoke Newington, we’re not too worried”.

Location is key: How Heyford Park was the perfect middle ground – February 2020

When IT Consultant Ahmet Gunes was looking for his next home, he needed somewhere conveniently located between Birmingham and London. Thanks to word of mouth, he found Heyford Park, a scheme almost exactly halfway between.

Location is key: how Heyford Park was the perfect middle ground

Ahmet explains: “I mentioned to a colleague that I was looking for a new home and he pointed me in the direction of Heyford Park. Turns out, the location is perfect! As my job is based on a contractual basis and can differ in location throughout the year, I needed flexibility on location and somewhere with convenient access to transport connections.”

Heyford Park is only three miles drive to the M40, which means Ahmet can reach Birmingham in 90 minutes or London in one hour and forty minutes.

“On the other hand, with contractual work I am lucky to be able to work from home. However, I needed a house that accommodated not only a home office for myself, but also space to relax and inhabit as a family.”

Ahmet bought his six-bedroom home in July and lives there with his two teenage children. The benefits of having a large home, he says, is the flexibility and privacy it allows for the entire family.

“The specification of the home is really top notch and there is so much space for the kids to spread out without living on top of each other. It’s important for a growing family to respect each other and this house totally allows this.”

“My eldest child is off to Nottingham University next year; however, she has decided to take a gap year and work her first year out of school which means she’ll be staying at home. The house provides a dynamic yet sharable space that suits us perfectly.”

Having lived for almost six months at Heyford Park, the family are extremely pleased with their new home and the growing community.

“It is such a pleasure to come home to a really lovely and secure neighbourhood. We take great pride in our house and all our neighbours are really friendly too – it made the move so much easier.”

Stars align at Heyford Park for Tori and her family – December 2019

Tori Cheriman had been living in a new build home in Bicester with her husband Mike and step-daughter Kate, before the family realised that they were going to need more space.

Stars align at Heyford Park for Tori and her family

Tori, who works at Bicester Village, had lived in the town for almost eight years, but once Kate finished primary school the family were faced with a decision.

“We knew our previous home was not going to be big enough, particularly as Kate was getting older, so we asked ourselves if we were going to stay in Bicester, or move out of the town to find something bigger for our budget.” explains Tori.

Having seen local advertisements for Heyford Park, a new community of homes approximately six from Bicester, the family were keen to visit. When they arrived, they had a clear idea of the home they were looking for.

“For us, the layout of our new home was key. We did not want an open-plan living/kitchen area, and instead wanted these to be separate rooms. Having viewed a couple of homes that were not quite right, the Dorchester Living team told us about a new home that would be ready later in the year. We viewed a very similar property and it was absolutely perfect for us, so we were happy to wait.”

With Kate gaining a place at Heyford Park Free School, and the location being ideal for both Mike and Tori to commute to their respective jobs, the family have quickly settled into their new home.

“The sense of community at Heyford Park is great. The development has been really well thought out and it is beautifully maintained. We’ve already enjoyed lovely community events, like Christmas fairs and summer cinema screenings, and we have a local community shop which is very handy. We’re now looking forward to seeing some of the new services that will open next year, including the hotel and Sainsburys.”

Couple glides into new home at Heyford Park – August 2019

When Steph and Dan Smith were looking for their new house, the biggest box to tick was the lifestyle on offer.

Steph-and-Dan-SmithThe couple first heard about Heyford Park near Bicester after looking at homes in the nearby area. Nothing seemed to fit their criteria until they found Dorchester Living’s new development in Upper Heyford. The couple had known about the site’s RAF history as Steph has a keen interest in aviation and is an avid glider in her spare time.

Steph explains:

“In my free time I fly gliders, so I love that in 15 minutes I can drive to Bicester Gliding Club and go fly. Oxford Gliding Club is nearby too, so I’m spoilt for choice. We regularly see gliders flying over Heyford Park and recently I flew over myself which was wonderful as I got to see the progress of the new community.”

Together with their miniature dachshund Otis, the couple live in a four-bedroom home. The spacious bedrooms, high specification and large secure garden were all key selling points, and ultimately led them to instantly fall in love with their new home.

Steph continues:

“We were really impressed with the kitchen’s specification – most new builds don’t come with a wine fridge without paying extra. Everything inside the house, from the internal doors to the finish in the bathrooms to the flooring, is of a really high standard. The temperature control for the house is great too as it allows us to regulate our bedroom separately from the rest of the house.

“Our favourite feature of the house is the top floor and our bedroom. It’s separate from the rest of the house and comes with a large en suite and dressing room, which really helps when we are on different shifts.”

The couple, who were buying their second home, were the first to use Dorchester Living’s part exchange scheme and the found the process straightforward.

She explains:

We couldn’t reserve on our new home until our existing house was bought. We were the first part exchange customers for Dorchester at Heyford Park and the programme made it less stressful for us, as everything was taken care of with our best interests in mind.”

Like Mother, like daughter at Heyford Park – May 2019

When Christine Prior decided to sell her house in Chesterton and move to Heyford Park, a growing community built by Dorchester Living, it was an unusual case of daughter knows best.

Christine Prior

After making the hard decision to put her family home on the market, Christine decided to check out the Heyford Park scheme after her daughter had bought there. Having liked the area so much, Christine went on to purchase a four-bedroom detached house.

Christine, who lives at the house with her rescue dog Norman, has moulded the property to fit her lifestyle. One of the bedrooms has been converted into a dressing room whilst the other two bedrooms have been converted into a home study and guest bedroom.

One of the biggest perks of the new home for Christine is having a huge amount of green space on her doorstep. She commented:

“The countryside really is at your disposal. Obviously Norman is a big fan and it’s brilliant to have rolling green fields within moments of the house. Bicester is only 10 minutes away – it is honestly the best of both worlds.”

“I also have a private garden at my house, so I’m looking forward to enjoying that in the warmer months and entertaining guests. I haven’t had a summer at the house yet – I can’t wait!”

Not only do the mother daughter duo live moments from each other, but they also work together too. The journey to work is only a 20-minute drive via the A34 into Oxford and is something that they often share.

Speaking of her experience with the buying process, Christine could not have been more pleased with the service.

“Everyone at Dorchester made the process so much easier. Even to this day, they have been really kind, trusting and friendly, which is extremely helpful in a somewhat stressful decision. It’s great to know there is a strong support system if anything were to go wrong with the house.”

Making the decision for a new beginning was a big commitment for Christine, however the convenience of having her daughter only a four-minute walk away was a calming reassurance. It also gave her daughter a new side project.

“My daughter is really into her interior design, so she helped me kit the house out. It was quite the therapeutic process as we got to start from scratch with a blank canvas. The house looks fantastic and I just love coming home.”

Tamsin Kerswell & Chris Murray – December 2017

Tamsin Kerswell and Chris Murray, with their children and two dogs, moved into a four-bedroom house at Heyford Park in December 2017. The couple relocated from Filchampstead with the support of the Help to Buy scheme. Miss Kerswell tells us more about their move to Heyford Park and how they have grown to love their new home.

Tamsin Kerswell & Chris Murray - December 2017

“When we started our house hunt, we were originally looking for a three-bedroom property in the Bicester area as this was convenient for work.

“Our aim was to find a new home with a nice kitchen and dining room area, plus a second reception for the children to use as a games room.

“Searching in the Bicester area, we initially looked at another new build development. We were disappointed by the vast size, cramped roads and limited parking availability. We came to Heyford Park, initially not with the intention of buying, but to see what had been done to the area.

“After looking around we were so impressed by the layout of the development. The houses were situated comfortably apart from one another and the various property designs made for a more interesting aesthetic. We ended up looking around a few of the show homes available, some on more than one occasion.

“Eventually, we decided on The Regent house type, which gave us the space and function that we dreamed of, except in a larger house within our price range. We had some stresses with our own buyers, but found the sales staff at Heyford Park really supportive throughout the whole process.

“I’d highly recommend Dorchester Living’s Heyford Park.   There is a really nice community here already, which can be unusual for a new development. We’re also really looking forward to the village being completed, as we’ll have shops and restaurants on our doorstep.

“The area has also proven great for walking the dogs as the location of the nearby field is very convenient. We’re looking forward to the new footpaths as well.”

The joy Tamsin and Chris have for their new home and the local area is clear. When asked if they could see themselves living at Heyford Park for some time, Tamsin said: “I’m never moving again!”

Julie & Chris Corcoran

Julie and Chris Corcoran moved from a home in Bicester to Heyford Park in early 2018, where they bought The Gilbert – a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house.

The couple are the first purchasers to move into a house on the Village Green Collection II.

“We were originally made aware of Heyford Park by our daughter and son in law, who had visited and already reserved a house there. While we weren’t actively looking to move, we had always loved the idea of a detached house, says Mrs Corcoran.

“When we visited, we were impressed by the quality of the homes and the excellent value for money they provided. We ended up viewing several of the show homes and decided upon The Gilbert house type, which is the same style as our daughter’s but detached and with a garage.

“We purchased at Heyford Park because we were able to find a house that we loved, finished to a very high standard but at a price point we could afford.

“We love our new home and really enjoy living in a village, it’s so peaceful compared to where we used to live. Without any shadow of a doubt moving here was the best thing we’ve done for a long time and we would definitely recommend Heyford Park to others.”

Mr and Mrs Masters – August 2017

Mr and Mrs Masters along with their two children and two dogs moved to Heyford Park in March 2017, purchasing a former 4 bedroom showhome. Since then they have become an active part of the local community, organising activities where residents can come together and get to know one another. Mr Masters tells us why his family fell in love with Heyford Park.

Mr and Mrs Masters

” We lived in Oxfordshire and made the decision to move to a larger home, narrowing our search to a few specific areas – Woodstock, Bicester, Witney and Upper Heyford. We agreed that Heyford Park was the place for us because we bought into the vision of what Dorchester Living is trying to create here – a new community in the heart of the Oxfordshire countryside with a range of state-of-the-art facilities on our doorstep.”

“We visited the area a couple of times before we bought and spoke to several people about what it was like to live at Heyford Park and everyone loved it here. We were blown away by their friendliness and sense of community.”

“The quality of Dorchester Living’s homes is exceptional. Everything was finished to a very high standard and the living space offered us more than we’d wished for. The service we received from Dorchester Living is incredible. They offered us alternative accommodation for eight weeks whilst we sold our old home and waited for the purchase to complete, which we were most grateful for. And they continue to go above and beyond in their post purchase service. With project managers on site we can ask them for advice and even make minor adjustments to our home.”

“The location is also excellent for us. I frequently travel by car across the country and so access to the M40 is essential. I can get on to the M40 much quicker now than when we lived the other side of Oxford, which makes travelling so much nicer. Heyford train station provides easy access to Oxford city centre and the train stations in Bicester are useful for when we travel to London.”

“We really do have the perfect house in the perfect location and with an excellent school just walking distance away and fantastic walks for the dogs, we couldn’t ask for more.”

“All in all, we are over the moon with the quality of house we have and how well we have been looked after by everyone at Dorchester Living. I’d recommend Heyford Park to anyone looking for a new home in the middle of the Oxfordshire countryside and with a range of excellent facilities.”

Mr and Mrs Speed – April 2017

Mr and Mrs Speed, their two children and pet dog Jess moved into a Regent house type on The Gardens. The family lived in Ambrosden, Bicester before moving to Heyford Park and they are delighted with their new home.

Mr and Mrs Speed

Mrs Speed says: “We weren’t thinking of moving house at all but upon a visit to an open day at Heyford Park Free School at Heyford Park, we saw the houses and it was love at first sight. We probably wouldn’t have moved if we hadn’t seen Heyford Park.”

“We liked the community feel of Heyford Park, the style of the houses, the location in relation to Bicester and Oxford and the school was a big pulling point for us.”

“The buying process from start to finish was relatively smooth and we were kept informed of progress through the helpful sales team. I have and will continue to recommend Heyford Park to friends. I would especially recommend Dorchester Living who have always been helpful. We have been very impressed with the aftersales customer care.”

“We are very excited by the future plans for the site. We think it will make Heyford Park unique to other new build developments and will help bring the community together. We see this as our forever house and we won’t be moving for a long time, if ever.”

Mr and Mrs Rose – August 2016

Mr and Mrs Rose purchased a Highgate house type at Heyford Park. The couple were looking to downsize from a larger, older house in Wiltshire to a property that is easier to manage, cheaper to run but still has outside space. That is exactly what they found at Heyford Park.

Mr and Mrs Rose

Commenting Mrs Rose, said: “We were drawn to Heyford Park because of the high specification of the homes and the fact that what we saw in the show home we viewed was exactly what we got. Unlike other developments nearby, we weren’t told that all of the nice bits we could see would cost us extra on top of the purchase price, such as stone flooring.”

“The Highgate house type really works for what we want and need. We were attracted to its high ceilings and open plan living space, especially the ground floor living areas and kitchen, which opens out on to the garden – a great space for entertaining family and friends. We also like taking ourselves up to the sitting room on the first floor to watch a film. It is a cosy sanctuary away from the goings on of the ground floor. When we have guests, it is good to know that we have bedroom and bathrooms on both the first and second floors. To us the main bedroom on the 2ndfloor feels like a boutique hotel room and we really like that.”

“Heyford Park couldn’t be situated in a better location. I have to travel to London or up north regularly and so being close to excellent road and rail links is ideal. We were also pleasantly surprised by the price point of the homes. Something of this quality and size would cost 10-15% more in many other areas of Oxfordshire.”

Todd and Tamsin Littlewood – August 2016

The family was one of the first to purchase a new home at the development – a stylish four-bedroom detached house. The reason for the move was that the Littlewood’s had outgrown their beautiful period cottage in Middleton Stoney just 1.5 miles away, and needed more space.

Todd and Tamsin Littlewood

Todd had seen the start of the work at Upper Heyford where he rode his bike and was fascinated by the former military airbase. He says: “It was like a movie set with the old hospital, American petrol station and baseball pitches.”

It wasn’t just the American history that attracted the family but the quality of the craftsmanship that went into the homes.

Todd continues: “What I loved about the Dorchester Living development was the homes seemed to have more space, higher ceilings and a bit of room to breathe, unlike other new builds. And we like the idea of a village with a modern twist. We also liked the specification of the property and the fact that this was Dorchester’s first development outside of London. I love the fact that everything works, is guaranteed and we are in a thriving community with like-minded people.”
“We know the surrounding area so it’s great for our cockapoo Tinker. We have found a beautiful local walk in the woods where I get to see a family of deer wandering around.  We also love nearby Kirtlington and Kirtlington Quarry, which are great for walks with Tinker. Tinker loves her spacious new home and has also made lots of play friends.”

“Running my own entertainment agency, I love what Dorchester Living are doing with the development and the space they have. The events they are planning including street feasts, astrology and open air cinema are brilliant and are going far beyond what they need to. I also love that there are plans to create further amenities, amazing community spaces, a village green and village centre, which will include a fabulous restaurant – in other words everything that we need on our doorstep.”

“We absolutely love living in our new house at Heyford Park and we have made some great friends. I look forward to exploring more local walks with the Tinker and the children.”

Bill and Jenny Jeffries – November 2015

Bill and Jenny Jeffries purchased a three bedroom bungalow from The Contemporary Collection.

Bill and Jenny Jeffries

Bill comments: “We had been looking to downsize from our three bedroom, three tiered terraced property in Middlesex. We started our search south of Oxford, centred on Abingdon and Didcot, but property specifications of the two bedroom new builds there were just too small. While we wanted to downsize, we certainly didn’t want to feel cramped.”

“We visited the bungalow show home and were won over by the high specification of the properties. Funnily enough, we haven’t downsized at all in the end as our bungalow is bigger than our old house. But while spacious, being on one floor makes our new home much more convenient than a terraced property.”

“In addition to the specification of the properties here, we are also excited about joining a new community. We know this is going to be a wonderful village in which to live. The Village Green will be fantastic, the Free School is already performing very well and the community centre has meant we have already met other neighbours. I’ve started talking to them about setting up a photography club and Jenny has joined the local branch of the WI too.”

“While all the facilities aren’t up and running just yet, we are only a short drive from the shops in Bicester and we have discovered a lovely café next to the canal in Upper Heyford which has some delicious homemade treats. We are looking forward to the opening of the Village Green, the restaurants and the pub though, which will really give Heyford Park that vibrant atmosphere and thriving village feel.”

Leigh McCarron and Jemma Way – October 2015

Leigh McCarron purchased a five bedroom Dashwood home with his partner Jemma and their Pyrenean Mountain Dog Bertie.

Leigh McCarron and Jemma Way

Leigh comments: “Despite working in Oxford, I’ve recently only lived in smaller villages because I like the more relaxed way of life. When making the decision to move to Oxfordshire, it was essential that we chose somewhere that encompassed that peaceful rural idyll but still offered a thriving community with shops, restaurants and of course a local pub! It was imperative that we felt like we were going to be joining a thriving modern community, where we could build friendships and that Bertie would have plenty of space to enjoy himself.”

“We really bought into Dorchester Living’s vision for Heyford Park. We looked at other new build developments between Heyford Park and Bicester and nowhere else seemed to offer that rural village feel. The village green, surrounding fields and future sports facilities will enable us to stay active, and we can’t wait for the pub to be built so we will have somewhere to socialise. The shops and other amenities will give us everything we need on our doorstep and the Free School is already receiving great reviews. I think that bodes well for our future here.”

He adds: “And if for whatever reason either of us was to relocate jobs, we could work anywhere and wouldn’t have to move. London, Northampton or even Birmingham, we would still have a simple and very manageable commute. In the long term, Heyford Park is the best choice for us by a mile.”

Leigh continues: “Discovering Heyford Park felt like we were let in on a secret.  Not only did Dorchester Living offer the highest specification homes in this part of Oxfordshire, but it was great value for money. We now live in a beautifully crafted home, which even my builder friends think is well designed and we have not paid the higher prices associated with homes in Oxford or Bicester town centres.”

Nils Vestergaard and Philippa Richards – July 2015

Prior to living at Heyford Park the couple were renting an apartment in the centre of Oxford. Although they loved living in the city, they wanted something more spacious and modern, in a tranquil setting. They began their search for a new-build, detached property, looking for somewhere that was well-located for their respective commutes and that met their desired specification. When the couple started looking for properties, they were immediately attracted to Heyford Park because of its location, its close proximity to Oxford and ease of access to the motorway.

Nils Vestergaard and Philippa Richards

Nils comments, “What we really love about Heyford Park is that it is an exciting new housing development within an existing infrastructure. We like the fact that there are older houses in amongst the new properties, which gives Heyford Park its great character and feel. We also like the preservation aspect; the mature landscape and surroundings appealed to us.  Also, what is to come is very exciting – further phases, the village pub, village green and local shops will add a further vibrancy.”

The couple, who were purchasing their first home together, decided that The Linton was the perfect home for them. The couple loved its spacious design with open-plan living room, dining room and kitchen, and thought the bi-folding doors leading out to the rear garden were a fantastic feature. With four double bedrooms and en-suites to the master and bedroom two, there is plenty of room for Nils and Philippa to accommodate their guests.

To add to the excitement of purchasing their first home together, Nils proposed to Philippa in the house on Philippa’s birthday this year, and the couple are due to be married in spring 2016.

Mr and Mrs Johnson – February 2015

Entrepreneurial couple Rob and Hilal Johnson have reaped the rewards of a seven-year DIY project refurbishing their large five-bedroom farmhouse and then selling it as the property market curved upward, reinvesting the released capital into their financial services business and buying a luxury, detached Dorchester Living home at Heyford Park.

Disappointed with the lack of interesting new development in Oxfordshire, classic car enthusiast Rob became disheartened with the number of dense and run-of-the-mill properties, until he saw the pretty streetscape taking shape on Camp Road, in Upper Heyford, Bicester.

Rob comments: “There is such a demand for new homes in Oxfordshire that more and more new-build developments are springing up all around the county. Unlike some new homes we’ve seen, Heyford Park has maintained its small community feel and affordability, without compromising on the quality of build or the history of the site. Our home is has been built across the road from Heyford Park Free School, so it will be right at the heart of the community when the row of homes completes.”

“Having lived in Oxfordshire for many years, I remember the site as an operational airbase and find its military history intriguing. Dorchester Living has sympathetically converted parts of the base; refurbishing some older buildings, preserving mature trees, using local suppliers and encouraging integration between the residential and business community at Heyford Park,” continues Rob, “we even used a local removals company when we moved in!”

The Johnsons’ 1,200 sq. ft. home is a four-bedroom, detached property, split over two floors. The design boasts an open-plan kitchen, dining and living area, which leads directly into a sizeable, private garden – perfect for the family pet, a 17-year-old retired police dog called Willis.

“We were very impressed with the solid level of build and the nice design, especially for the price, which is very good value. Many new housing developments lack character and the build quality can be questionable, especially when they are built so quickly. Added to that is the lack of open space between properties and views beyond the driveway. We are lucky enough to be in an established, countryside setting, with plenty of outdoor space to explore when we walk Willis.”

“My office is only a 10-minute drive from home and there is a bus stop directly outside for my wife to get to the shops in nearby Bicester. Although we have moved into a new home, the existing, close-knit community means that we already feel part of something – a rarity for new-build developments!”