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Neighbourhood Watch: Brentwood

Starring role: Two cast members film an episode of Towie in Brentwood

Setting the scene

TV crews are such a common sight in the centre of Brentwood nowadays that residents barely bat an eyelid. For this is the home of Towie, the reality show that put the town on the map and made stars of its cast.

But you don’t have to be a fan to appreciate everything Brentwood has to offer, including good schools, countryside on the doorstep and excellent transport links. The A12 and M25 are just a few minutes away, there are fast and frequent trains into the City, and once Crossrail is up and running, passengers will be able to whizz to Heathrow directly.

What’s new

Luna St James, less than a minute’s walk from Brentford station, consists of 45 one and two-bed flats with a gym, concierge and allocated parking, from £349,500. Help to Buy is available and shared ownership launches on May 11 and 12, via robinson-jackson.com.

Apt Living Brentwood is an office-to-residential development of 55 one and two-bed apartments, designed so that not an inch of space is wasted. They complete later this year and start at £249,950, apt-living.co.uk.

Five homes remain for sale out of 14 at Regent Place, half a mile from the high street and starting from £495,000 for a two-bedroom, two-bath bungalow, through savills.co.uk and keithashton.co.uk. And only two homes are left at Park Road, a niche scheme of four and five-bed houses. A four-bed is £875,000 and a five-bed is £900,000, savills.co.uk and walkersestates.co.uk.

Stylish: The living space at Hunters Court

New, too, is Hunters Court, one of the town’s highest buildings, with far-reaching views from the upper floors. The majority of the 18 one and two-bed apartments have a balcony or terrace, from £250,000, williamhbrown.co.uk. Station Place is a scheme of 15 one and two-bedroom homes, offering Help to Buy.

From £285,000, via williamhbrown.co.uk and balgoresproperty.co.uk. The same agents are marketing Culyers Yard (pictured above) where all but three of the 13 one and two-bed flats are reserved and the remaining two-beds start from £350,000.

Snooping around

Famous: Sugar Hut nightclub

THE 15th-century White Hart, a former pub that’s now the Sugar Hut nightclub and owned by ex-Towie star Mick Norcross, is one of the oldest surviving buildings, though the vast majority of homes were built in the last 100 years. ‘Properties range from small period terraces near the station, to 1920s and 1930s houses, new-builds and big, one-off homes in Hutton Mount,’ says James Millar of William H Brown. ‘One-bed flats start at £175,000-£200,000 and three or four-bed family houses are on average £400,000- £450,000. We typically see first-time buyers or first-time movers, often migrating from London boroughs into Essex.’

Vital statistics

Essex girl: Towie’s Gemma Collins has a boutique in Brentwood PICTURE: REX

Council tax: Band D, £1,724.48

Commuting time: 40 mins to Liverpool Street

Annual season ticket: £3,660

Amenities: ★★★★☆ Chains and independents, with fashion stores strong on glamour: at one point, 12 Towie cast members had shops in Brentwood although only two remain — Gemma Collins’ Boutique and Minnie’s, owned by Sam and Billie Faiers; lively club scene; Brentwood Theatre; football, swimming, sports and concerts at the Brentwood Centre; dry ski slope at the Ski & Snowboard centre

Open space: ★★★★☆ Follow the Gruffalo trail or hire a bike in Thorndon Country Park; Stick Man play trail in Weald Country Park; Hutton Country Park; King George’s Playing Fields

Schools: ★★★★☆ About average GCSE and A-level results; all state primaries and secondaries judged good or outstanding; Brentwood School is a highly-rated independent

Crime: ★★★★☆ Below average

Who lives there? Singles, couples and families who commute into London

Famous faces: Frank Lampard, Griff Rhys Jones, Keith Allen and Noel Edmonds are all former Brentwood School pupils

Rent report

‘The market remains strong with young professionals looking for more for their money than they could get in London. New schemes around the station are popular, with two-bed flats averaging £1,100 — £1,200pcm,’ says Adam Johnson of Beresfords.

Property ladder

First rung

£225,000, keithashton.co.uk

Originally a show home, this one-bed, second-floor flat is in the middle of Brentwood High Street and has a combined kitchen/living room with a Juliet balcony and plenty of fitted storage.

Average for Brentwood

£525,000, williamhbrown.co.uk

This three-bed, two-bath Victorian semi-detached house is within walking distance of the station and is in immaculate condition. Includes a large living room, open-plan kitchen/diner and off-road parking. The average property price for Brentwood is £546,563, according to Zoopla.co.uk, which bases its figures on the average price paid over the past 12 months.

Luxury

£2.5million, beresfords.co.uk

A substantial six-bed house in exclusive Hutton Mount. There’s a massive kitchen/family/living area and a ground-floor wine cellar which opens out on to a terrace next to the outdoor swimming pool.