A short-distance move has gone a long way towards helping John Hodgson begin the next chapter of his life.
The 61-year-old machine operator, who has lived in Seaham for 20 years, had been thinking for a couple of years about downsizing from his four-bedroom house in the town and finding a smaller, lower-maintenance home for him and his grown-up daughter Sarah, 24.
However, he was determined to stay in Seaham, so it was only when Bellway started building new homes at Byron Heights, off Dalton Heights Road, that he was able to find a property that ticked all the boxes for them.
He reserved his new three-bedroom home at the development off-plan, sold his old home and moved into rented accommodation nearby with Sarah, before they moved into their new home in July this year.
John said: “It feels great to be able to continue to live in Seaham. My son lives here too, and work is now just a bit closer.
“Living in Seaham is the perfect balance of town and seaside life. It has a beautiful coastal setting with lots of convenient facilities, and Dalton Park Outlet shopping centre just under a 10-minute drive from the town.
“One thing that really draws me to Seaham is it’s community spirit. Back to the days when it was a typical old mining town, the unity has always been there. Seaham has always kept its charm and it feels like home to me.”
Having downsized, John is now celebrating being mortgage free and he’s also enjoying the benefits of living in a high-specification, high-quality new home.
John said: “I had my heart set on a new-build home. Last year I went and had a look at the new Bellway homes in Ryhope, which were great quality and looked perfect, so from there I knew I wanted a Bellway home – but there was just one thing missing – and that was Seaham!
“When I saw that there were new Bellway homes coming to Seaham, I got talking to the sales advisor Karen who introduced me to the types of homes that were available, and after seeing the three-bedroom Hazel property on site I knew I’d found my forever home.
“Although we have downsized, we now have a much more advanced property. It’s a very modern house with a nice layout, and it has lots of very useful features – such as a mobile shower control. The garden is much bigger than we expected too.
“Living in a smaller home is much more manageable, and we still have enough space for everything. There’s also much less maintenance work to do.
“Buying a new build was a completely new concept to me and I was realistic about my purchase, but our house has absolutely ticked all the boxes for us and we’ve had an amazing experience.
“One of the biggest changes since downsizing is having the mortgage cleared from my last home. It’s a huge relief and a great feeling to be mortgage free now.”
John and Sarah were also particularly impressed with the customer service they received from the sales team at Byron Heights.
John said: “Karen, the sales advisor, helped with visits to the site to check in on the progress of our house, offering us safe visits with hardhats whenever she had slots available.
“With just a week left of our rent contract, we contacted Karen to see if there would be any chance that we could move early, and we felt very lucky that she was able to cater for our needs and move us in that week.
“We were absolutely elated when we got the keys. Our move was timed perfectly and was all completely Covid-secure, and we’re hugely thankful to Karen for that.
“There’s a nice sense of community forming at the site. The staff get so involved with helping their customers out and really help to make the place feel like home.
“On the whole we’re really happy and the customer service is 10 out of 10. Nothing seems a bother to Karen or Chris and Geoff on the site team – they have time for everyone. We would definitely recommend buying with Bellway.”
For more information on the three and four-bedroom homes available at Byron Heights, call the sales team on 0191 379 1424 or visit bellway.co.uk.