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It's common for long-term property owners to want to downsize their home once the family has fled the nest. Jo and Nick Ounstead found themselves in this position when their two eldest children were away at university. Scouring the market for new houses in East Sussex to find a property that would meet their requirements, they found a perfect answer at Mayfield Grange, the much-admired Weston Homes development in the village of Mayfield, an area the couple knew well.
"Our last house had a much bigger garden as well as a swimming pool, but it was all maintenance and with the stage that we are in our lives, with two of our three children leaving for university, we just weren't using the space," says Jo. "What appealed to us most about Mayfield Grange was that we maintained the living space and had the benefit of 20 acres of grounds, but we wouldn't have to deal with the upkeep."
Jo and Nick, along with their 12-year-old son, are now living in an impressive four-storey, five-bedroom new-build house on the gated development, which features a mix of newly constructed homes and refurbished buildings such as the Grade II-listed Great Hall and the Chapel, that were once the home of Mayfield College. Property styles range from two-bedroom apartments to these spacious family homes, with prices currently between £325,000 and £950,000. All the properties are finished to an exceptionally high standard and are unusually spacious.
Bob Weston, founder and chairman of the award-winning housebuilder, says: "Many downsizers today are looking for homes that are large and spacious. Just because people want less rooms does not mean they want less space. Mayfield Grange lends itself to the downsizers market not only because of the size of its homes, but also its exceptional and tranquil countryside location."
The extensive grounds that Jo refers to are there for all residents to enjoy, a delightful area of lawns and woods that further enhance the peaceful, luxury feel of the development. Set in the East Sussex countryside, the amenities of the village are close at hand and it's only a seven-mile drive to the wealth of shops and services on offer in Tunbridge Wells. Direct rail services to London from the nearest station, at Wadhurst, take around an hour. The coast at Eastbourne is just 24 miles away and the lively atmosphere of Brighton 30 miles away.
The number of rooms in their new home has provided the family with a very flexible living space that they have been able to adapt to their personal requirements. When they moved in, Jo and Nick saw an immediate opportunity to make good use of one particular space.
Jo explains: "One of the special features of the property was a separate room that was advertised as a wine room, but we have converted it into a cinema room with a big 3D television and a surround sound system. We had the idea of turning it into a cinema room before we moved into the house and because it was designed as a wine store, it hasn't got any windows, which meant it was easy to set up and didn't take long."
Mayfield Grange is one of the most eye-catching developments of new homes for sale in Sussex today. The show homes at this Weston Homes scheme are open seven days a week, from 10am to 5pm.
Jo and Nick Ounstead downsized to a spacious five-bedroom home at Mayfield Grange, retaining a sizeable living space while eliminating the need to look after the land they had at their old home