Leaving a house that's been your home for over 40 years is a big move. Filled with so many wonderful memories, it can be hard to imagine living anywhere else. That was the case for our residents, Mr and Mrs Saunders, whose house is one of six on Bennetts Road in Horsham being replaced with 21 new homes for affordable rent.
We asked Mr and Mrs Saunders to share their experience...
What was your reaction when you found out you'd be moving?
When we got the letter, we were surprised to learn that the house would be coming down. We were worried and thought we could end up not having a garden in the new property.
What concerns did you have about leaving?
We had such lovely neighbours before, so we were nervous about what the new ones would be like. We've kept in touch with our old neighbours though and they've popped by to make sure we're settling okay.
We'd also never lived somewhere which had neighbours either side, as well as above us before, but they've helped us settle in. They've commented on how lovely the garden looks and everyone's just been so friendly.
How did we help to ease any concerns you had?
Paul, your project support manager, was brilliant throughout the whole thing. He broke the ice and made the move a lot easier! If there was something we wanted or anything we needed, he was on hand to help, we couldn't fault him.
How did you find the moving process?
Moving was alright as we had support from our grandkids who helped us pack up, so it went well. We also had some offers of help from the old neighbours that we left behind. Knowing we had that support made the moving process a lot more comfortable.
What did Saxon Weald do to help make the move as smooth as possible?
Saxon Weald made sure we saw the property so we could see what work needed to be done. There were some shrubs in the garden and a palm tree that blocked a lot of light into the living room. That was removed and the ground was filled in on one side, so the garden was made nice and tidy.
The rest of the property looked good before we moved in as it had recently been completely redecorated with new carpets and curtains.
A couple of HomeFix guys fitted handrails to help us get up and down the steps and worked one evening out in the garden. We're very grateful for the effort that they put in to sort the property out for us.
How do you feel about where you've moved to?
It's fantastic. With the coronavirus, the move couldn't have come at a better time for us. During lockdown, we were able to open the back door so the family could stand at the back gate to check in on us. Staying close to our family was what we wanted to do! It was also important for us to have two bedrooms in case anything happened, and we needed someone to stay to help us.
Was there anything that stood out to you throughout the whole process?
It was the efforts of Paul and Phil at Saxon Weald that made it so easy. Before we moved, we'd been sleeping downstairs because we couldn't get upstairs. The new flat made it easier because there are no stairs and a wet room was added. We couldn't fault Saxon Weald for their assistance.
What piece of advice would you give to someone else in this situation?
It's important to work with whoever is guiding you through the process and trust that they'll find the right solution.
It's also important to look beyond the property, to see what it can become more than what you see when you first look at it.
It was like a jigsaw - everything just fitted in right.