What’s the deal with Deal? The Kent gem with his­tory

The Daily Telegraph - Property - - Front Page -

and bow-fronted Ge­or­gian houses.

Lack­ing a sandy beach, it was saved from the “bucket and spade” bri­gade, and there’s an un­pre­ten­tious gen­til­ity to it. For­mer res­i­dents Lord Nel­son, ac­tor Nor­man Wis­dom and Carry On ac­tor Charles Hawtrey just about sum it up.

Yet the past 10 years have brought a few im­prove­ments, says Nigel Cole­brook of lo­cal agent Bright & Bright. “The high street has be­come far more cos­mopoli­tan than it once was, with a vi­brant café cul­ture and high-qual­ity restau­rants, such as that of The Rose, a new bou­tique ho­tel,” he says. “Deal is a part of Eng­land that has been over­looked for decades and there has been very lit­tle new development, which is part of the charm.”

The beau­ti­fully pre­served, hig­gledyp­ig­gledy pas­tel-coloured seafront cot­tages of Beach Street and the Grade II listed pier are also the rea­son that it was cho­sen to fea­ture in the forth­com­ing ITV drama­ti­sa­tion of Wil­liam Make­peace Thack­eray’s clas­sic novel Van­ity Fair.

Buy­ers are snap­ping up the highly prized ter­raced cot­tages (that go for £300,000 to £400,000) and town­houses (£400,000 up­wards) in the Mid­dle Street con­ser­va­tion area, the dozen or so roads be­tween Beach Street and Mid­dle Street once favoured by smug­glers.

Cheek by jowl with his­toric pubs and much-loved shops – there are usu­ally queues for the Mid­dle Street Fish Bar – are newer open­ings such as the pri­vate-din­ing con­cept Din­ing Club.

There’s a rare ex­am­ple of a for­mer shop for sale on the open mar­ket on Beach Street it­self, a re­mod­elled three­bed­room res­i­dence for £520,000 with unim­peded views of the English Chan­nel, through Bright & Bright.

Out­side the con­ser­va­tion area, lit­tle Vic­to­rian un­mod­ernised cot­tages start from £180,000, says Si­mon Back­house of agent Strutt & Parker.

“We have sold to a num­ber of cou­ples who have in­cred­i­bly good taste, buy­ing these lovely lit­tle fish­er­man houses and turn­ing them into some- thing truly amaz­ing,” he says.

“The fur­ther east you go in Kent, to towns like Deal and Sand­wich, you will get more bang for your buck. The num­ber of buy­ers has in­creased dra­mat­i­cally re­cently, as they cot­ton on to how fast the train is to the east Kent coast [the Javelin train from St Pan­cras takes around 82 min­utes].

“Qual­ity hous­ing, bet­ter life­style and ac­ces­si­bil­ity make it per­fectly pos­si­ble to com­mute three days a week, so there is a steady flow of Lon­don­ers.”

Some buy­ers are up­siz­ing from week­end pads to move down full-time into large Vic­to­rian town­houses for £500,000 to £700,000, sug­gests Cole­brook. “There are many highly rated pri­mary schools, with gram­mar schools at Sand­wich and Dover that serve Deal, and also in­de­pen­dents such as St Faith’s at Ash and North­bourne Park,” he says.

Fam­i­lies also like more space on the fringes of town, sug­gests Dee Ryall of agent Jack­son-Stops. “Go­ing to­wards Walmer, Park Av­enue is more leafy and sub­ur­ban, with a mix of fam­ily hous­ing stock, at £350,000 to £900,000,” she says. “Fur­ther south there are pres­ti­gious ar­eas on the out­skirts such as Kings­down and St Mar­garet’s at Cliffe, of­fer­ing great sea views just 10 min­utes from town. Houses can cost £1mil­lion to £2mil­lion.”

There is a sail­ing club and fa­mous links golf cour­ses, such as Royal St Ge­orge’s at next-door Sand­wich where James Bond cre­ator Ian Flem­ing spent many week­ends, and which is due to host the 2020 Open. Ac­cess to the Con­ti­nent is speedy from Dover, the Chan­nel Tun­nel ter­mi­nal at Folke­stone and the Eurostar from Ash­ford In­ter­na­tional.

There are rel­a­tively few ho­tels and B&Bs in Deal, so there are good op­por­tu­ni­ties for Airbnb rentals or hol­i­day lets, ac­cord­ing to Cole­brook, who has seen an in­crease in pur­chases for this rea­son. “With the nearby golf cour­ses, rental de­mand is year round,” he says. “In­ter­est from France, Bel­gium and Hol­land has no­tably grown with the weak pound, and the port of Dover is only 15 min­utes away.”

Part of the ap­peal of Deal for Robert Byrne from Peck­ham, south-east Lon­don, is that it never gets over­run by tourists. His fam­ily owns a three-bed­room house be­hind the seafront.

“I have kept com­ing back over the years and now bring my own chil­dren for weeks ev­ery sum­mer,” says the fa­ther of two, whose mother is from Deal. “We al­ways head to the Royal Ho­tel, which is iconic. It’s usu­ally packed with lo­cals and so feels less tran­sient than places like Mar­gate.

“The beach seemed busier than usual this sum­mer, but it is still se­date and ut­terly re­lax­ing, and we feel like we have dis­cov­ered a place that no­body knows about.”

Deal pier, main; be­low, a town­house, £750,000 with Strutt & Parker

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