GRANTHAM A solid band of commuters have arrived in Grantham on the crest of the various housing booms, as high prices rippled out from London. Today’s residents also include ‘virtual commuters’, who make only occasional visits to London, or former commuters who set up local companies in the area in order to work nearer to home. What everyone knows about Grantham is that Lady Thatcher was born here, in North Parade. Not quite so many people remember that Sir Isaac Newton was born here, too. Thatcher was educated at Kesteven and Grantham Girls’ School, which is still doing for girls what Kings does for boys. The town also has an associated college of Nottingham Trent University offering courses in building, business studies and engineering. Leisure is high on the agenda, in the form of the Meres Leisure Centre and athletics and football stadium. There are golf courses at Belton Park, Belton Woods and Stoke Rochford, and good fishing on the River Witham.
Grantham has a smattering of ancient houses in Castlegate and Church Street, as well as the celebrated Angel and Royal Hotel, but much of it now consists of new development. At the lower end of the market, two-bedroom period town houses start at £85,000. Four-bedroom detached houses cost between £170,000 and £300,000. The best roads to live in are probably those leading out towards the villages of Manthorpe and Belton. Large detached houses, set well back from the road, can be bought for around £300,000.
The limestone hills around Grantham contain some pretty stone villages, particularly in the west. Barrowby, for instance, stands high enough to afford good views across the Vale of Belvoir. A four-bedroom family-sized stone house here might cost £350,000. Denton is another handsome stone village, which used to be part of the Welby estate. Denton Reservoir nearby is popular with anglers, and has some attractive pathways along its banks. There is some Sixties housing in the mix, and a small council estate. You could expect to pay £350,000 for a three-bedroom period house with a garage; £110,000 for a semi.
Closer to Grantham, Harlaxton is sufficiently attractive to have been designated a conservation area and has not been abused by unimaginative modern development. It owes much of its style to the Gregory family, who built the eye-catching manor house in the early 19th century as well as some of the Regency-style houses in the village. A country cottage with three bedrooms might cost £300,000.
Perhaps two of the most exclusive villages are Manthorpe and Belton to the north, sandwiched by Belton Hall and its magnificent park, now in the hands of the National Trust. Little ever comes up for sale in Belton, but if you were lucky you could expect to pay £450,000 for something with four bedrooms.