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Why Hortsley? An Owner's View

14 February 2020

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Why move to the coast?

“Like many retired people, my wife and I have lived in a variety of homes. But when we retired, the need to have a comfortable, safe home within easy reach of shops and without maintenance or gardening chores became increasingly important. There was nothing for it but to move to an apartment. 

We loved the South Coast, its picturesque Downland and the blue seas of the English Channel, and we wanted to live in a smaller town away from the hubbub of large conurbations like Brighton or Eastbourne. Seaford seemed an ideal choice. We had seen the grand yet somewhat mysterious structure of Hortsley from the main road and so we obtained details from the website. A short call to the sales team and we were on our way for a tour around Hortsley

We had previously lived in the area and remembered when the site was a motor dealer’s property and thus, as we came into the entrance, we were impressed by the size and scale of this private building in the midst of the town. We walked through the main entrance to see gardens that were a delight to us both.

A Smooth Move 

The sales staff and the hosts welcomed us and were enthusiastic about their tasks and about Hortsley. However, at no time was there pressure to buy. This was important because retired people are wary of any aggressive sales pitch and a hint of urgency to sell will quickly be sensed. To the contrary, it was clear that the staff were as much looking at us and whether we would fit into the environment as they were to extract a commitment to purchase. 

The PegasusLife philosophy was covered concisely and succinctly. We immediately understood that they wanted people to be happy and comfortable in their retirement and that their task and those of the hosts was to make this happen with the minimum of fuss and the maximum of help. In this context, the ‘Smooth Move’ philosophy came over as a plus-plus. Here, much of the moving costs are covered by PegasusLife and the move is arranged and carried out by their smooth-move-crews. Moving is a stressful time for everyone but for elderly people it can become a nightmare.

A room with a view

We were introduced to people in the communal lounge and provided with timely refreshment. The Residents welcomed us enthusiastically and this gave us sound encouragement. We had indicated to that we would be interested in an apartment on the top floor as we had seen in the brochure that these had sea views. We went up in the lift to the fourth floor where our breath was stopped for a second. The view is sensational and suddenly we knew what a real ‘wow’ factor was! Not only the view but also the winter gallery with an area provided for each flat was impressive. We realised without being told that this was the place for 2 early-morning tea or coffee, since the sun would rise over the distant downs and warm residents even in the winter. The architects and designers have been brilliant here and the building has won well deserved awards for innovation and design! 

The wow factor was multiplied several-fold when we saw from the balcony the view of the sea and Newhaven Harbour. Here is where the evening sun sets – again bravo to the designers and architects! We were then shown the equipment and facilities. 

The flats are small but the space is designed for maximum use with minimum waste and, now we live here, we need no more space to look after! By this time, we were enthusiastic about Hortsley (who wouldn’t be!) We were told that a small deposit would secure the apartment of choice and that this was refundable in the event that the move could not take place. Later we were to learn that a rent-to-buy scheme had been introduced. This too is a good idea as properties normally take a while to sell. 

In addition, I noted that the predicted maintenance charge looked reasonable and the communal facilities seemed more than useful. There we could enjoy a drink, meet visitors and network. Furthermore, there was a guest suite which would prove invaluable if our eldest daughter visited from the USA or friends came from the far-flung reaches. The travel services in Seaford are excellent. Main bus stops are right outside the main entrance to Hortsley and a train terminal for Brighton and London five minutes away. 

The perfect fit

We decided to make the move and paid the small deposit to secure our apartment. In addition to the ‘wow’ factor, 

the facilities at Hortsley are excellent; with storage cages, underground secure parking, a buggy room for mobility equipment and of course the lounge and the wonderful and peaceful enclosed gardens. Moreover, security (a very important thing to the elderly) is double banked with two secure entrances for each access route. 

By contrast, once outside the gates there is the hurly-burly of a main road. This noise is barely heard in Hortsley and almost never in the apartments. There is close-by (among other things) a Tesco store open from seven in the morning to eleven at night, three banks, five ATM cash points and many small and friendly shops. This is great when mobility is an issue and convenient even if it is not! 

Since we began living in Hortsley, in common with our fellow owners, we are impressed with the hosts. Their friendly and sympathetic approach is welcome and although they must get frustrated with the niggling little issues raised at times, they never seem to show it. Many of the owners have lost their partners and the friendship and care shown by the hosts plus the companionship shared both in the lounge and the gardens helps alleviate loneliness. This is of course fundamental to the concept of a caring and comfortable retirement living. 

I feel we are part of a good community and living here is indeed a pleasure. We are seen as and quite properly called “owners” not just residents. And we have produced our own in-house magazine called The Hortslevian which is written and produced by the residents I am one who normally looks with scorn on most awards ceremonies. 

For me, many of these boondoggles are ‘Lovies’ praising fellow ‘Lovies.’ But by great contrast this was not so when we attended the National Awards at the IET in Savoy Place. The award that Hortsley received there and the other award previously garnered are so very well merited and we are proud of its success.”

Written by Geoff, apartment owner at Hortsley, Seaford.