I complained about the local new build… and then I moved in

HR director Lisa Smith is the first to admit that she wasn’t initially a fan of Berkeley’s Woodhurst Park in Warfield, a five-minute drive from Bracknell.

In fact, the 45-year-old mum-of-one was so firmly against the idea that she wrote a letter in opposition when the first phase was in its consultation stage.

Having previously owned a home locally, following a change in circumstances, Lisa ended up renting for seven years with her daughter. Then, when she was ready to get back on the property ladder, she realised that her views had changed completely.

So much so that Lisa bought a four-bedroom house at the development, putting down a sizeable deposit made up of savings and equity from the sale of her previous house. 

Here, she explains what made her change her mind.

Why here?

Having lived in and around the area for the past 16 years, I wanted to be able to put down roots for good, and grow with our new home as our lifestyle changes in the long term.

What made you choose this house?

My primary concern was space – as my daughter gets older, an ensuite is a welcome addition. I have an office as my work schedule remains hybrid, and we even have a games room that can double up as a guest bedroom. It’s a blank slate where we can start afresh and that was incredibly appealing coming from renting for so long.

Are you impressed with Woodhurst Park?

Despite my initial preconceptions, the development really surprised me as to how well it blended into the local area. Aesthetically, it fits right at home with its landscaping and the community that has grown here over the past few years has seamlessly integrated into the wider area and has been so welcoming to myself and my daughter.

Were there any snags during the buying process?

My firstmortgage offer expired, so I had to commit to a higher rate in order to complete. I am an optimist – mortgage rates are always on a cycle and I am confident they will drop again. My house hunting search had already been delayed by the pandemic and I was increasingly conscious of the difficulty of obtaining a decent rate as I get older, so this five-year deal was the best choice to keep my costs lower. Having the security of a home was worth the added payment every month and my mortgage is only slightly higher than my rent was.

*Two-bedroom flats, from £345,000, and two, three, four and five-bedroom houses are currently for sale at Woodhurst Park. A four-bedroom house similar to Lisa’s is £765,000, woodhurstpark.co.uk

Just 28 miles outside London – and under an hour on the train: everything you need to know about Bracknell

Located in the heart of the UK’s tech corridor 28 miles west of London, Bracknell was a village before being designated a postwar new town. Since then it’s expanded so much that it’s now Berkshire’s third largest town, after Reading and Slough.

The schools, green spaces, amenities and competitive property prices make it an attractive proposition for buyers and renters, as do the transport connections: it’s a short drive from the M3 and M4, has direct rail services to London and is around 20 minutes by train from the Elizabeth line at Reading. Thanks to huge investment, the town centre is being transformed, most notably with the 2017 addition of the Lexicon, a £240million shopping complex.

Average property price: £432,224 Average rent: £3,115pcm

Council tax (Band D):£1,875.93 Commuting time to Zone 1: 
from 52 mins to Paddington, changing at Reading or 64 mins 
to Waterloo

Season ticket £5,476pa

Local celebs: Dani Harmer


To accommodate a population that’s grown by 10% over the past decade, various housing developments are ongoing or recently completed within Bracknell and in surrounding villages. Here’s the best of the bunch:

1. SO Resi Bracknell

A mix of one and two-bedroom shared ownership flats, two minutes’ walk from Bracknell station and convenient for shops, restaurants, cinemas and sports facilities.All have private outside space and parking is available. From £79,500 for a 25 per cent share of £318,000, soresi.co.uk

2. Coopers Hill

This summer, Countryside launched the first homes at this new development in walking distance of the Lexicon shopping complex. Each of the two and three-bedroom houses comes with a garden, flooring, integrated kitchen appliances and parking, and some include an en suite. From £445,000, coopershill-bracknell.com

3. The Grand Exchange

SevenCapital is delivering 118 high-spec one and two-bedroom flats in central Bracknell, which are due to complete by the end of the year. Residents will have access to the shared amenities such as a concierge, gym, garden room/lounge and workspace. From £299,950, sevencapital.com

4. Woodhurst Park

Two-bedroom flats and two to five-bed houses in Berkeley’s established community in a country park setting in Warfield, on Bracknell’s northern outskirts. A village green, pond and natural trails are on the doorstep, and a new pre-primary and primary school is in walking distance. From £345,000, woodhurstpark.co.uk

5. Whitegates

The last few three-bed bungalows and four-bed houses in a scheme of13 detached homes in Warfield. Kitchens are fitted with contemporary doors, Silestone worktops and induction hobs, and each home has en suite and family bathrooms and a large garden. From £699,950, trilogy.land

6. The Fairways

These three and four-bedroom houses are set on a former golf course in Binfield, to the west of Bracknell, and form part of a major new local plan. The centrepiece of the project is the new King’s Academy Binfield – an all-through school with places for 1,800 pupils from nursery age to 16-plus. From £660,000, bloorhomes.com

7. Coppid View

Spacious three, four and five-bedroom houses on the edge of Binfield and a short drive from the centre of Bracknell. They have flexible layouts and some include electric car charging points and solar panels to keep running costs down. Only 11 are left out of 54. From £499,950, taylorwimpey.co.uk

8. The Evergreens

Homes ranging from one-bedroom flats to five-bedroom detached houses in a woodland setting on the Wokingham side of Bracknell. Half of the houses have sold. From £349,950 for a two-bed flat, taylorwimpey.co.uk

9. Winkfield Park

Fifteen luxury homes – flats, penthouses coach houses and one five-bedroom farmhouse – in a semi-rural gated development in the grounds of Winkfield Park Polo Club. Each has a bespoke kitchen and use of five acres of landscaped communal gardens. From £550,000 for a two-bedroom flat, via search.savills.com

10. Tilehurst Green

Only a trio of three-bedroom semi-detached houses are left in Binfield. Features include carbon heating and hot water systems, open-plan kitchen/living/dining areas and versatile garden rooms with roof lantern or part-vaulted ceilings that are ideal for home working. From £575,000, burringtonestates.com

11. Royal Winchester House

A total of 338 one and two-bedroom rental flats. They boast floor-to-ceiling windows and walnut flooring, plus eco-credentials such as exhaust air heat pump systems for heating and ventilation and a biodigester to reduce food waste.From £1,000 pcm, thecomergroup.com

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