London-bound commuters have to juggle a lot of factors when making quality-of-life judgements about where to live. Perhaps above all, whether a cheaper house further down the line compensates for the hassle of a longer journey.

Most families seeking the perfect combination of a manageable commute and a good value home also want an easy school run and a quick dash to the station. De Montford Place, Bedford, ticks these boxes.

The county town is 35 minutes on the train from St Pancras, at the end of the Thameslink route through the capital, and has a number of highly-rated state and independent schools plus easy access to lovely countryside.

The town centre is getting a makeover too, with a new station “quarter”, department store, shops and offices overlooking the River Great Ouse.

A former university campus close to the station is getting a revamp. What was a run-down neighbourhood, albeit a conservation area, dominated by student digs and lecture rooms is now one of Bedford’s best addresses, with smart, good-value homes in new and refurbished buildings. A park has been created too.

The area has the look and feel of a prosperous pocket of suburban Putney or Wimbledon – with architecture that is solid and aspirational. But the homes are far cheaper.

Storey Homes, the developer, is offering a range of houses priced from £450,000, this for a three-storey, four-bedroom house. Help to Buy is available. Flats cost from £165,000. Call 01234 325777.

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