ROCHFORD is a plain town with a square surrounded by banks and specialist shops, including gift shops, a tea and coffee shop, and a watch repairer. The market is held here every Tuesday. Hall Road is the smart address. The houses here have huge gardens running down to the golf course, and you’ll need over £1.2m to buy. The town tends to feel overshadowed by Southend. It has a reservoir popular with anglers on Sundays. The choice of shops has improved with the opening of the Lakeside shopping centre off the M25 at Thurrock. Ashingdon, three miles away, has higher property prices. A modern one-bedroom flat can be had for £175,000, while four-bedroom houses can cost over £290,000. It has a pub, a few shops, and sits in a patch of rural Essex that is attempting to keep urbanisation at bay. Builders are, however, trying to fill the gaps with new houses.