Matthew Platt

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Professional Musician Matthew Platt was 55 and in need of a place of his own where his two children could visit. He was keen to find somewhere he could call home after having rented for some time.

Then he saw an advert from Grand Union for shared ownership apartments at Astrop Grange in King’s Sutton, South Northants. The development of 10 two bedroom apartments, in the style of a traditional country home, were in a rural setting on the site of a former Georgian manor house. Not only did the elegant apartments catch Matthew’s eye, they were also targeted at over 55s.

“My old family home was a Victorian house, so its age inevitably meant there was a lot of maintenance. Astrop Grange is a new build so I don’t have anything to worry about. My apartment is modern and smart, solid and warm and very low maintenance – I don’t even have to think about doing any gardening.

“There’s secure bike storage outside and a meeting room which we can use for social events too – that’s a bonus!

“I really couldn’t find anywhere that I liked on the Banbury new developments, and it’s so quiet here, but still accessible to the motorway and rail network. This is a necessity for me as, being a freelance musician and piano teacher, I am required to travel frequently.”

Coming from a musical family, it was no surprise that Matthew followed a musical career and, after graduating with a music degree in 1985, he managed a music shop for a number of years. However a career in teaching beckoned, with Matthew’s most recent teaching post being Head of Music at the independent Sibford School in Oxfordshire from 2003 to 2015.

“I very much enjoyed teaching, but I was doing more and more freelance gigs so took the decision to leave my job at the school. My freelance work has taken me all over the UK and to European cities such as Paris and Barcelona, as well as further afield to Canada and South America.

“I enjoy coming back home though; it’s a place where I can really relax and enjoy my surroundings. I was the first person to move into Astrop Grange and I’m so chuffed with it. It’s quiet, but accessible; in fact it’s unique.”

Matthew is a fan of the village too: “King’s Sutton is such a lovely location. There are two pubs, a post office and a convenience store open seven days a week. The bus stop is just across the way and the train station is just a 10 minute walk. There are lots of lovely areas nearby where you can take a walk. It’s also close by for my family; my father is in a care home in Deddington, a market town just south of Banbury, and I can get to him in under 15 minutes.

“I’d definitely recommend shared ownership to others. This has been a truly affordable option; it’s a good way to own your own home when money is short. It was a lifesaver for me and I pinch myself that it’s all worked out so well.

“The sales team at Grand Union has been really good and very helpful. I’ve had no cause to be chasing them on the phone or by email.

“I love my apartment, as do my friends and family. It’s absolutely perfect.”