A family of four are enjoying the convenience and comfort of life in the former showhome of a new housing development in Hurworth-on-Tees.

Emma and James Leafe and their two sons, 11-year-old Ryan and eight-year-old Alfie, moved into the four-bedroom Mulberry showhome at Bellway’s Hurworth Gardens in October – upsizing from a rented three-bedroom cottage in the neighbouring village of Neasham.

The family had been looking for a more spacious home for several years, and discovered Bellway’s development when Emma helped her dad move into a new home just across the road.

Emma, 39, who works in housing at Darlington Council, said: “As soon as we saw the showhome, we noticed straight away how spacious and open-plan it was. It even had a study too which was important to us as James and I are working from home now.

“It was an incredible feeling when we got the keys. As it is an ex-showhome, the home was already finished so we had the most stress-free move ever. When kids finished school on the day, they were able to come straight back to their new home and everything was there for them. All we needed to do was wash the bedding and unpack our clothes. It was such an easy transition.”

The Leafes had been renting for seven years, after previously having owned a flat in Darlington which they sold in 2013, so were relieved to be able to step back on the property ladder at Hurworth Gardens.

Emma said: “The house in Neasham had a ginormous bathroom upstairs, which meant that our bedrooms were small and didn’t have very much space. And as the kids are growing up, we decided to prepare by searching for a bigger home.

“While we were house-hunting we struggled to find another home that made us want to give up our place in the village. But we decided to be patient and make sure we were making the right decision by waiting for the right home to come along.

“Not having to pay rent is such a freeing feeling. It’s amazing that we finally have a family home that belongs to us too, and we can add whatever we want to it.”

Emma, 39, and James, 43, who works for the Student Loans Company in Darlington, love the design of their new home, which perfectly fits their family lifestyle.

Emma said: “The layout is very family-orientated, and as the house is detached we knew that we wouldn’t have to worry about any noise we would be making.

“Our new office space is perfect for homeworking. James and I take it in turns to use it and enjoy working in all the other lovely rooms of the house too. At our old place all we had was a small desk in a bedroom, so it became hard to separate working life from home.

“We’re so pleased with the house. It’s decorated very nicely with large French doors, and light and airy interiors. There is lots of space to do homework and spend time together as a family. We definitely aren’t going to outgrow this property this time, as the kids will still have lots of space even when they are grown up.”

The family are all also settling in well to life with their new neighbours and in the wider village.

Emma said: “Village locations tend to bring lovely neighbours, as we’d experienced before, which is absolutely the case at Hurworth Gardens too.

“The residents here are very aware when new people move to the development, and they have been so friendly and welcoming to us.

“As our local shops are within just a short walking distance, we’ve noticed that lots of people in the wider village are welcoming too and they say hello to us when we pass by.

“The kids will remain in their current school for the time being, but there is an excellent comprehensive school in Hurworth that Ryan is due to start at next year, which will enable him to cycle to school every day. We’ve already signed Ryan and Alfie up to the Scouts at Hurworth Grange Community Centre. It’s such a convenient village.

“The development itself is beautiful too, with lots of green space.”

Emma and James were also impressed by the customer service they received throughout the homebuying process.

“Barbara, the sales advisor, is an angel,” said Emma. “She was so helpful from start to finish even under the current circumstances with the pandemic. The site team have also been brilliant as any tiny thing we needed sorting they helped us with straight away.

“The whole team at Bellway are very respectful and are working with very good safety regulations in place. They made a real fuss of us and made us feel very special.

“And to top it all off, my dad – who is in a social bubble with us – really likes our new house and is jealous of how much space we have now! We would definitely recommend buying with Bellway.”

For more information on the new three, four and five-bedroom homes being built at Hurworth Gardens, speak to the sales team on 01325 271956, or visit bellway.co.uk.