Billericay is a popular, historic market town just 30 miles from London.
The market at the top of Crown Road disappeared years ago and Billericay nowadays is more well-known as an excellent commuter town, with excellent rail links to the City (35 minutes by train), very good schools and a charming High Street, part of which is a conservation area.
It also has great access to the key main roads of the M25, A12 and A127.
The town lies on the edge of rural Essex, which makes it a very desirable place to live. This coupled with the City access goes some way to explain the high levels of Londoners we see looking to move here every year.
Since I moved here in 1973 and started as an estate agent in the mid 1990's, I have seen the town grow to where it is now, with some 14,000-15,000 homes and a population of over 40,000.
The Billericay you see today is economically and physically a thriving and attractive place to live and work. There are many open green spaces including the 40 acre Lake Meadows Park, a must in summer, and they throw a pretty impressive Fireworks Night too.
Norsey Woods is a great place for a walk or to exercise your dogs...or the kids! It dates back to the Bronze Age and covers about 165 acres with a visitor centre for the educational visits it has too.
I remember camping there as a cub scout back in the day and both Nick and myself have enjoyed many a afternoon there over the years with our families.
The High Street must be one of the prettiest in the county and dates back to Roman times. The shape we see now certainly hasn't changed much for over 500 years, our office itself is part of one of the 25 old coaching inns the town has seen over the years!
With well over 100 shops including some well known names and some boutique locally owned ones, the High Street also has some great pubs, bars and restaurants. The Chequers is probably the most popular, most people we know rate it as the best pub in town, with newer bars like Harrys Bar, Bar Zero and the Blue Boar, also very sought after, growing venues on friday and saturday nights.
There are too many great restaurants to name, suffice to say you don't need to travel out of Billericay to have a fantastic night out and there's a taxi rank by the station to get you home if you want to leave the car on the drive.
Waitrose is our local main supermarket with there also a very good Co-op over on Queens Park. Smaller supermarkets over in South Green, Sunnymede and along Stock Road also provide a super local service in their areas.
Billericay Christmas Market is a very popular annual event which sees the High Street completely shut to traffic for the day and then filled with stalls selling anything and everything Christmasy!
All the local schools, both Primary and Secondary have good OFSTED reports and there is a good choice of both State and Private. Please feel free to contact our office for more details although the OFSTED website is the ideal first port of call of course.
A BIT OF HISTORY
Billericay has an facinating history, much of which can be researched in our local museum, the Cater Museum on the High Street.
Billericay was first recorded as Byllerica in 1291 with notable events including a Peasants Revolt ending up in Norsey Woods in 1381 and some of Billericay residents, including Christopher Martin, the ship's victualler, sailing with the Pilgrim Fathers to the 'New World' of America on the Mayflower in 1620 - hence the many representartions of the Mayflower ship in numerous local businesses and the Mayflower High School.
In 1916 Billericay became famous as a result of a Zeppelin airship crashing in flames on the outskirts of the town, down what is now Greens Farm Lane.
A union workhouse was built in 1840 which later, together with additional later built buildings, became St. Andrew's Hospital in the 1930s. The regional plastic surgery and rehabilitation unit was opened here the same year I moved to Billericay, 1973. Many a local will still refer the estate there now to me, as 'one of the houses on the old Burns Unit', although it is in fact Stockfield Manor now.
Only the original workhouse building, including the chapel, and the main gatehouse, now survive, converted now into Grey Lady Place, a residential development of luxury apartments.
The railway came in 1889 and opened up opportunities for landowners to sell plots to Londoners looking to move out of 'The Smoke' into a cleaner rural environment. Both myself and Nick have sold many an old 'plot land' home over the years for redevelopment. A few still remain on the edge of Norsey Woods down Break Egg Hill.
With the housing shortage created by the war time bombing of London, pressure to build was great and the new town of Basildon was given the green light. The 'Green Belt' stopped expansion and the blurring of Basildon and Billericay, hence why lot of the Billericay housing estates were built on abandoned farmland around the town centre and Great Burstead/South Green, where permission was more easily granted.