Es­tate is boom­ing with ba­bies as cou­ples move in

Birth-rate is five times the national av­er­age ‘It’s just fan­tas­tic to see so much joy­ous new life’

Kentish Gazette Canterbury & District - - Bridge Place - By Joe Walker joe­walker@thek­m­ @Joewalker17

A baby boom on a new hous­ing es­tate has seen it record a birthrate five times the national av­er­age.

In lit­tle more than two years, 17 new­borns have ar­rived on the Ayle­sham Village devel­op­ment on the edge of the for­mer min­ing com­mu­nity.

With just 124 homes on the es­tate, the rate is the equiv­a­lent of 52.7 births per 1,000 peo­ple – the national av­er­age is 11.9.

The sky-high fig­ures have been at­trib­uted to the num­ber of young fam­i­lies tak­ing ad­van­tage of the gov­ern­ment’s Help to Buy Scheme, which is avail­able on all of the devel­op­ment’s homes.

It al­lows first-time buy­ers to snap up a new home with only a 5% de­posit.

Natasha Sy­mon, 30, and hus- band Jamie, 31, moved into a four-bed­room house in March last year.

Be­fore the year was out Natasha was preg­nant and two months ago gave birth to daugh­ter Tabitha, a new sis­ter for Harry, who is now two.

She says hav­ing so many new young mums on the es­tate has helped bind the com­mu­nity to­gether.

“There’s al­ways some­thing fam­ily-ori­en­tated going on,” she said. “Ev­ery­body knows ev­ery­body and we all have some­thing in com­mon, be­ing new par­ents.

“A lot of the lo­cal churches run tod­dler groups which is great for when you are try­ing to fill a young child’s day.

“We were just say­ing the other day how you see chil­dren play­ing out­side here all the time, which is not some­thing you see very of­ten any more.”

Ayle­sham is al­ready the largest village in east Kent, but al­most 1,100 more homes are still to be built on the Ayle­sham Village site.

Natalie Perry is direc­tor of sales and mar­ket­ing for Bar­ratt Homes, which has led the devel­op­ment.

“We knew when we were de­vel­op­ing these homes that they would be a per­fect fit for young cou­ples look­ing to start new fam­i­lies,” she said.

“Howe ver, we didn’t quite ex­pect to see so many beau­ti­ful ba­bies born just two years since the first res­i­dents moved in.

“It’s just fan­tas­tic to see so much joy­ous new life at Ayle­sham, which only adds to the vi­brancy of the place.”

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