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Online House Hunter: Keeping it local

Alan Cleaver
sign 219x300 Online House Hunter: Keeping it local

Choosing the right school is vital when moving home

I WROTE in my last blog about the advantages or disadvantages of working and living within a few yards of each other. The chance to have a school, workplace and shops all within a few yards of your home cuts down on travel costs and time but can mean a lack of other facilities offered by spacious houses in open countryside.

But as someone who can vouch for the time and comfort offered by having to just walk a few yards to get home after work, here are some online tips for finding that work/life balance.

The Independent online property search offers you the chance to view a map of your shortlisted towns and see homes for sale. But having found your ideal location for your new or next home, how do you find out the location of schools, shops etc?

My first port of call would be the detailed map on the Sustrans website. For those who don’t know, Sustrans is a charity which encourages people to use more environmentally-friendly forms of transport (walking, buses, bikes etc). For this reason, when you type in a postcode or location you’ll find a map showing bus routes, bus-stops, cycle paths, train stations and the like. But you’ll also be shown the location of schools, shops, dentists, GP practices, parks, sport centres, tourist attractions – the list seems to go on and on. There might be no alternative to visiting the streets where you want to live but this comes pretty close to it!

The NHS, of course, has its own search engine for finding your local health services and you can filter your search for centres that have disabled access, early or late appointments. You can also filter for those accepting new patients if you’re considering moving to that area.

There are a number of online search services for finding the right school but the best place to start is the official DirectGov search engine. On that search engine you’ll also find childcare services and SureStart Centres. The Independent Schools Council  offers a postcode search for Independent Schools on its website.

If you’re wanting to plan your route to work or school from your new home then the aforementioned Sustrans map will be helpful or the route planner on Transportdirect.info. There are a growing number of apps to help as well including an app detailing the National Cycle Network.

There are a number of Buy Local campaigns in towns around Britain which will help you stock your larder or decorate your new home with goods no more than a postcode away.

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