A survey claiming to identify the best
places to live in Britain has been condemned as elitist and irrelevant
to ordinary people by Greater Peterborough Investment Agency chief
executive Gloria Milne.
The survey, by Country Life magazine,
places the small market town of Alnwick in Northumberland with its
700-year-old castle – the setting for the Harry Potter films – top
of the list of other ‘picture postcard’ locations.
However, Mrs Milne criticised the
survey as being unrepresentative of what makes an ideal location for
people living in the real world. “Britain is full of quaint,
picturesque market towns but, like Alnwick, they do not offer
rewarding career opportunities to their young people and house prices
put home ownership beyond the reach of average families.
“As a result they do not represent a
truly balanced community and are destined to become dormitories
populated by wealthy retired people or high-earning yuppies who
commute to work in nearby large cities.”
Any genuinely representative survey of
the best locations to live in Britain would have to pick Peterborough,
says Mrs Milne. “Peterborough has a balanced economy, offering
excellent career opportunities with internationally famous companies
for its young people, affordable housing for its residents and a
healthy lifestyle,” she said.
Mrs Milne added: “Peterborough can
rival Alnwick in several other ways, boasting the fastest
travel-to-work times of any major city in the country and magnificent
architecture in one of the finest Norman cathedrals in Europe. Its
other claims to fame include the best example of a country manor from
the time of the English Civil War and proximity to Burghley House –
the best example of an Elizabethan home.”
While being a dynamic business centre
within a 45-minute train journey of central London, Peterborough
offers its residents easy access to beautiful surrounding countryside
– including 2,000 acres of parkland alongside the River Nene,
sailing lakes and golf courses, she said. A 50-mile network of cycle
routes and footpaths permit people to enjoy the healthy outdoors free
from traffic fumes.
“Country Life readers will discover
that Peterborough has plenty of beautiful countryside – a bit like
the Cotswolds but without hordes of tourists – and a growing
cultural scene,” said Mrs Milne. “It is also within easy travel
time of other centres such as Cambridge and London.
“This Country Life survey is elitist
and meaningless,” said Mrs Milne. “Isolated picture postcard towns
like Alnwick do not make good places for most ordinary people to live.
Peterborough has all the benefits of a good quality lifestyle together
with the business advantages you would expect from a dynamic city.”
Other top ten locations in the
Country Life survey (in order of precedence) are: Midhurst, West
Sussex; Fowey, Cornwall and Tetbury, Gloucestershire (joint
third); Crail, Anstruther in Scotland; Presteigne in the Welsh
Borders; Fakenham, Norfolk; Richmond, North Yorkshire; Framlingham,
Suffolk; and Wimborne, Dorset.