You can’t beat living on the borderline...

LETTER OF THE DAY: Underlying the housing crisis is the rocketing price of building land

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It’s not difficult to see why people love living in and around the country that embraces the East Hampshire and West Sussex border.

After all, whether you love being in a small town community, enjoy strolls in the woods, rambling across the downs, or want to be out of London but with an easy commute this is a place that fits the bill.

‘People come to me because they appreciate the finer points of living in this area, where properties are appealing, have competitive prices, and offer much better value for money than is to be found in the overheated London market,’ says Colin Shairp, of Fine and Country Southern Hampshire.

‘But there’s rather more to making the choice than saving money. Many people who want to live here don’t work in London – it’s a lifestyle choice that’s more to do with the surroundings than anything else.

‘East Hampshire and West Sussex offer something really vibrant in their topography with the mix of downs and hills, woods and wide open spaces.

London and Guildford are easily accessible for the culturally minded now the Hindhead Tunnel is open on the A3 and of course there’s the Chichester Festival Theatre that’s a delightful and much shorter drive.

‘Schooling, too, is a major issue and again we have good choices just as we have a wide and varied mix of housing.’

Two properties Colin has in mind as perfect illustrations of what’s available are five-bedroom Cranmere House (£1.19m EPC Band E) in Bowes Hill at Rowlands Castle and prize-winning Manor Farm Barn at East Marden (£1.8m EPC Band E).

‘Cranmere House is Victorian yet is perfect for those who do need to travel for work as the mainline station is literally just down the road,’ adds Colin.

‘It has all those desirable Victorian features and looks magnificent with its gables, bay windows, tiled brows, and veranda for al fresco dining.

But the current owners have reconfigured the layout to improve the flow and functionality between the ground floor living areas and there’s even a home office in the garden.

‘Manor Farm Barn is deep in the South Downs National Park and wherever possible the old beams, many thought to come from ships at the Battle of Trafalgar, are retained but sandblasted to the reveal original honey oak appearance.

‘It has that real wow factor which no doubt contributed to the barn winning the Sussex Heritage Award for best conversion in 2004.

‘The owners have resisted the temptation to cram rooms into the barn so instead it provides ample and luxurious room for modern living.

The barn possesses fantastic entertainment space but it also has cosy and more private areas for relaxation in snug surroundings.

‘There’s an open plan vaulted living area that floods with light – the threshing barn origins mean the vast doors to one side are now replaced by glazing.

There are also three double bedrooms, all en-suite, as well as the master suite with bathroom and dressing room/study.’

For more information, contact Fine and Country Southern Hampshire on (023) 9327 7277 or