Framsden, which is 10 minutes from Needham Market a village recently pinpointed as one of the new commuting areas in research carried out by Savills has changed quite considerably in the past 10 years. It never used to be thought of as a commuting village, but with many of the older residents selling up and younger professionals moving in, the signs suggest that change is on its way. Despite the lack of a shop, the village boasts a pub and a church, and theres a very good nursery and primary school in the neighbouring village of Helmingham.
Commuters are moving here from more traditional commuting areas in the Stour Valley Colchester or Manningtree, for example because of the premiums you have to pay there. This area is considerably cheaper, about 20% less, says Tom Orford of Savills Ipswich office. Framsden has a good mix of housing, from classic timber-framed farmhouses to bungalows, with a small amount of Victorian architecture, but very little new build. A terraced cottage would be priced from about £250,000, a detached four-bedroom house with garden from £475,000, and a large four-bedroom property, with some land, from about £750,000.
We had a record year last year, but have already sold more properties this year than in 2007, says Mr Orford. The one problem is that there are so many buyers looking who are not in a position to proceed. Prices are stable and theres a huge shortage of properties in the more meaty commuter belt on the Essex/Suffolk borders and on the hot spots on the coast.
Travelling time: It takes 17 minutes to drive from Framsden to Ipswich, from where trains to London Liverpool Street take about one hour, 16 minutes. However, if youre not there before 7.15am, its almost impossible to park.
Schools: Helmingham nursery and primary school on the outskirts of Framsden; private schools Brandeston Hall Preparatory School and Framlingham College; and a state high school in Debenham, which is one of the top 10 schools with Beacon status.
Shopping Debenham, which is three miles away, is the nearest village, with all the shops you would need for the basics, a doctors surgery and sports centre. For a major shop or something specific, most people go to either Ipswich or Stowmarket, which is less frenetic.
Eating and drinking: Theres a great 15th-century pub in Framsden called The Doberman Inn; The Queens Head in Brandeston; the Low House in Laxfield, which is a proper pub; the Fox and Goose in Fressingfield, which has excellent food; and in Woodbridge, near the coast, The Galley is good for fish.
Attractions: Easton Farm Park in Easton allows children to experience a real farm; Baylham House Rare Breeds near Needham Market; Helmingham Hall Gardens, in a 400-year-old deer park; Framlingham Castle, a 12th-century fortress that was once the refuge of Mary Tudor; and Orford Castle, an unusual keep built by Henry II. There are several golf courses nearby, and sailors can enjoy themselves in the safe waters of the Rivers Deben and Alde.
Pros: The area is surrounded by beautiful private estates, including the Helmingham estate. The owners are into the higher level of environmental stewardship, which is also beneficial, says Mr Orford.
Cons: Theres only one bus route into town, and no way for the elderly to get to the local shops and doctors surgery. The pub in Framsden doesnt allow children.