Shared Ownership unlocks the door for key workers looking for their dream home at Network Homes’ Oakwood development

Council Project Officer Lucy Thomas and her partner Christian Silver, a full-time Firefighter at Hertfordshire Fire & Rescue Service, have recently taken the first step towards their long-term goal of home ownership by using Shared Ownership to secure a contemporary three-bedroom home at Network Homes’ Oakwood development in Hertford. Having lived with their parents previously, the couple were thrilled to discover that their dream of owning a home at Oakwood was achievable using the government backed Shared Ownership Scheme to purchase a 50% share.

Network Homes’ picturesque development Oakwood provides a wide spectrum of 31 Shared Ownership homes from one and two-bedroom apartments through to two, three and four-bedroom houses, offered to those who live or work in East Hertfordshire. Set just moments from Grade 2 listed Panshanger Park, Oakwood is ideally located next to an abundance of green open space whilst being well connected to Hertford town centre.

Commenting on their buying process, Lucy explains: “Christian and I have been saving for years, we used a combination of ISAs, No Access Savings accounts and reduced our outgoings on treats and socialising but were still unsure if we would be able to purchase a property in Hertford due to it being such a highly sought-after and pricey location! We were able to place a deposit of £25,250 but plan to staircase in the future. We have monthly outgoings of £1411 which is comparable to rental costs but goes towards owning the property which for us makes complete sense.”

Staircasing enables you to buy extra shares in your home. The greater the share you own in your home the less rent you will pay. If you Staircase to 100% ownership you become an outright owner and will no longer have to pay rent to Network Homes.

Christian continues: “We were familiar with Oakwood and have always said how nice it would be to live there but thought it would be out of reach financially. We were so excited when we discovered that Network Homes offered Shared Ownership at Oakwood, it made our dream of buying together a reality. We decided to take a look at the homes on offer at Oakwood and fell in love – the rest is history! We reserved our home the day after viewing it and moved in a few months later. It was an obvious decision for us, the home is so spacious, it was ready to move into with energy efficient white goods, complete with flooring and even the garden was turfed! Our home is finished to such a high standard and is set in a prime location…”

Buying a new-build home meant the couple were able to save on expensive re-decorating costs that often have to be considered when purchasing a second-hand home. However, with a keen interest in home styling and upcycling, Lucy has enjoyed repurposing second hand furniture picked up online, into new pieces. Lucy comments “Christian and I are both sports enthusiasts in our spare time; I play lacrosse locally and he is a Tottenham season ticket holder. When I’m not spending time being active outdoors, I have got really stuck in to upcycling. This is a creative, sustainable, and affordable way to put our stamp on our new home! I’m currently working on repurposing a bench.”

As Lucy primarily works from home, she is hugely benefitting from all the space on offer. With three bedrooms to choose from, the couple can also entertain and host friends and family at home with ease. Christian adds “Most of our friends and family live in Hertford so we really wanted to settle down in the area, we feel lucky to been able to afford our new home. We are really happy with the customer service we have received from Network Homes during the buying process, they were friendly and helpful, the aftercare has been great! Whilst parts of the wider development are still in construction, we are being kept in the loop with finish dates, and Oakwood already has a lovely community feel.”

From riverside cycling to long country walks, there’s always something new to discover around Oakwood. Hertford is fortunate to be close to some well-established footpaths and towpaths along the River Lea and boasts beautiful parks offering all the amenities you need. A range of nearby amenities are on offer, with a mix of supermarkets, high street names and independent boutiques to explore.

Oakwood is located on Thieves Lane to the west of Hertford town centre and will be part of the wider 254-home development, Blakemore Manor due for completion Summer 2024. Shared Ownership at Oakwood gives you the opportunity to buy a share of your new home, starting at 40%, or more depending on what you can afford. For more information, please visit or contact Network Homes on or 01992 586 501.