A look at what life is like at St James Quay
87% of Brits are ditching their cars and taking to pedal power in order to combat the rising cost of living and embrace a more sustainable lifestyle.
Norwich is the perfect place to swap to a more sustainable lifestyle as you stroll through the historic cobbled streets of Elm Hill, admiring the Tudor architecture that retains its character and beauty.
With the average yearly cost to run a car at £3,727 versus just £396 for a bike, recent figures have revealed that car ownership has fallen for two consecutive years – the first successive reduction in more than a century – whilst bike ownership is up by 57%.
When Stuart Walton (57), his wife Tricia (53) and their 16-year-old daughter Ruby, made the decision to downsize from their five-bedroom detached house on the Norfolk coast to a two-bedroom apartment at St James Quay in Norwich, by award-winning housebuilder The Hill Group, they sold their car and opted to travel by bike.
The family is now enjoying living in one of the UK’s most coveted cities and reaping the greener rewards that getting around on two-wheels offers.
Owner of Norwich-based freelance web design company GetProCopy, Stuart Walton explains the benefits that his family have now gained by travelling by bike: “Our new home is within walking or cycling distance of all that Norwich has to offer, so we sold our car which meant we saved money on all the costs associated with having a vehicle and invested in new bikes and paddleboards.
Our old house was in Bradwell, Great Yarmouth which lies on the Norfolk coastline, it’s quite a rural location compared to living at St James Quay in Norwich. We all had to depend on a car to get around and do simple things like going to the shops, especially Ruby who had to rely on myself or my wife to take her anywhere.
The location of St James Quay is ideal; being on the fifth floor we have some tremendous views of Norwich Cathedral, the city and River Wensum. We have a lovely river walkway that we can take a stroll along and be in Norwich town centre in 10 minutes. Ruby attends the Sixth Form College at Notre Dame High School in the city centre which is only 5-minutes away by bike. Ruby loves the independence that living here has given her, she’s a different girl!”
Stuart continues: “Norwich is a very cosmopolitan and unique city. We often go for a wander around the Lanes or head into The Silver Triangle which is known as ‘The Notting Hill of Norwich’. It has a very different vibe to rest of the city; filled with quirky cafés, restaurants and vintage shops. We have recently discovered Waterloo Park which is just a few minutes away by bike.
There is a beautiful Victorian pavilion there which hosts a social enterprise café, The Feed – it’s such a great venture which invests its profits into helping prevent homelessness in Norwich. We love keeping fit too, we go on long cycle rides and my wife and I often go paddleboarding and swim in the river every Saturday – living here is like being on a 5-star city break that never ends!”
Talking about how their new two-bedroom apartment supports family life, Stuart says: “Living at St James Quay has brought our family closer together. We moved into our apartment in the Sewell Building in June and the layout is fantastic.
It’s really spacious and there is a lot of natural light throughout the apartment as we have a side window in our ensuite and a lovely big corner window in the main bedroom. There is a huge living, kitchen and dining room with doors opening onto a private south-facing balcony. My wife and I own our business, so we work from home and this room is where we all tend to spend the most time together, our 22-year-old son is in Cardiff at university so he also comes to stay with us as well."
Speaking about the specification in their new home, Stuart explains: “The build quality and internal specification we have is exceptional. We have three large cupboards in the hallway giving us lots of storage space, which is one of the reasons we chose St James Quay. We feel that Hill provide a premium when it comes to the finishing touches – we have Amtico flooring, Bosch appliances in the kitchen and Hansgrohe fittings in both the bathroom and ensuite.
We also have underfloor heating and individual thermostats in each room which helps to keep our bills low, as we can turn the temperature down to suit the room we are using rather than heat the whole apartment. However, it is so incredibly well insulated - our gas and electric bill is just £77 per month, and we don’t see this changing as we hardly need to have it on. It also means there are no radiators on the walls so we can put our furniture wherever we want.”
Talking about their experience with the Hill sales team and concluding their journey: “We have made some lovely friends here and have everything we could need on our doorstep. Our new apartment already feels like home, and we are thoroughly enjoying living in Norwich.”