It is time to stop kidding yourself that London offers the British equivalent of the American dream. The glitz and glamour of our capital and of city life has masked the unrealistic expectations that are associated with living in London. When examining national statistics and location-based surveys, there are several recurrent factors that prove that this is indeed not the best choice of places to live, especially when you factor in considerations such as health, raising a family and travel.
Finance and Accommodation
According to a recent survey conducted by RightMove, the asking price of semi-detached properties in Banks, Lancashire averaged £178,039, Ormskirk averaged £190,628 and Burscough, £181,304. When compared to their survey of London, where house prices averaged £462,211; house-buyers could expect a saving, on average, of £278,887, if not more. Buyers can also expect more space for their money in the North-West than in London. Your semi-detached is likely to be larger, with a bigger garden and potentially include additional assets like a garage. Some of the newer builds in London have specially crafted furniture that is smaller to make the rooms appear bigger. A greater range of properties are available too; with the capital being an increasingly sought-after location year upon year means that buyers may have to wait longer in order to find their dream property, or consider compromising on some of their desired requirements.
According to a recent survey conducted by The Guardian, statistics suggest that the ‘the longest commute is to London, where the average daily commute is 75 minutes a day.’ This data does not factor in the frequent delays experienced by those who opt to, or in some cases have to, travel by car. The M25, A1 and roads surrounding Clapham are notorious for congestion problems.
London is one of the worst cities, not just in the U.K., but in the EU for pollution. According to www.london.gov.uk ‘we’re still breaching EU legal limits for NO2 in many places, and levels of particulate matter are above World Health Organisation recommended limits in some places.’ High Pollution levels can lead to multiple respiratory diseases such as Asthma, COPD and Lung Cancer.
Unsurprisingly, with astronomic house prices, commuting stress and elongated work hours, meaning less time with the family; it comes as no shock that London is Britain’s worst city for mental health. Research conducted by Mentally Healthy found that under half of the people surveyed in the capital claimed to be ‘very mentally healthy’. Drink was often sought as a coping strategy to combat the stresses of city life and there was a larger proportion than expected that deemed themselves as ‘very mentally unhealthy’.
Congestion and poorly maintained roads also poses as an increased health-risk to those travelling by ambulance. Although Liverpool was criticised for its poor performance, in which ‘73.36% of the most serious calls – category A – were responded to within eight minutes, even though the target stands at 75%’ (Liverpool Echo), London’s response time was far lower, as reported by the London Ambulance Service, with only 65% of their 75% achieved. Stories of patients have suffered due to increased journey time and injuries due to pot-holes are all too familiar. One man, reported in the Express that an ambulance he was travelling in hit a pothole so hard that it restarted his heart. Although this example actually benefited the patient, in some cases, such jolts to the ambulance can proof fatal to the casualty.
Families wishing to swap the rat-race and smog for a healthier existence could consider making the move up north.
The Myth Buster
There are no jobs up north: Comically, in response to a civil engineer’s comment that there were no jobs up north, the dry retort came ‘well, we do need the occasional bridge, y’know, to get our donkeys across and all!’ Although somewhat flippant, the second gentleman made a valid point; the north has is a hub for industry, with Manchester, Liverpool and other large cities all offering a very short commute from the fresh sea-air and smaller villages dotted around the Northern shorelines. However, it’s not just beach-combing, fresh fish and golden thick-cut chips that sell the north as a potential location to live. Yes, you can expect the traditional seaside attractions of Ferris wheels, mini windmills and donkey rides in some of the north-western beaches especially; there is however an abundance of culture beyond what those who haven’t ventured much outside of the South would expect.
Briefly examining the North-West as an example; visitors can expect a range of festivals, places of natural beauty, artistic and historic attractions, as well as well-renowned sports teams and venues to entertain even the most cynically-minded person.
Liverpool Tall Ships Race: Witness the famous Tall Ships world-round race
Southport Air Show: Showcasing daring performances from the Red Arrows, Vulcan, Merlin and Chinook Helicopters, Spitfires and much more.
International Fireworks display: Breath-taking pyrotechnic displays to music.
Blackpool Lights Switch-On: Every Christmas, come and witness this spectacular display, marking the start of the festive season.
Southport Flower Show: Winners of Britain in bloom, Southport hosts a flower show with a few faces from the gardening world that you might just recognise.
Your every day
Liverpool One: A recently built, modern shopping complex that features its own beach and bar in the centre! Paradise for those who love to shop.
Trafford Centre: Again, heaven for the shopaholic.
Speed boat: Take your children or embrace your inner-child.
Blackpool donkeys: Meet Smokey and his friends! They all have lovely soft, fluffy ears and love children.
Water-parks: It’s time to make a splash with one of the north-west’s water slides. Chill on the lazy river or get drenched under the tipping-bucket!
Comedy: Home to comedians such as Jason Manford and Lee Mack, we are sure to get you laughing until you cry.
Areas of Natural Beauty
Forest of Bowland: Fancy a picnic area with the kids or your significant other with stunning views?
Formby Pinewoods: Home to the endangered natterjack toad, newts and red squirrels – keep your eyes out for all different types of wild-life!
Tatton Park, Manchester: Visit these stunning ground home to deer, rare breed animals, a Tudor hall and amazing gardens. The perfect place for a family day out!
Antony Gormley’s Iron Men, Crosby: Creator of the Angel of the North, Gormley created the Iron Men on Crosby beach.
The Beatles Museum, Liverpool: Take a look around the Beatles museum to see the famous white grand piano, costumes, listen to music and much more.
The Maritime Museum, Liverpool: Displaying artefacts from famous ships, the war and such.
Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral: Visit the amazing circular cathedral and view the stunning stained glass.
St George’s Hall: Hosts a variety of acts and exhibitions.
O2 Arena: Hosts a variety of popular acts.
Hale Orchestra: Immensely talented musicians who play a variety of classical and contemporary music
Philharmonic Orchestra: Liverpool’s answer to the Hale orchestra, who are again immensely talented.
Football: The North-West is home to several world-class football teams. Watch a match on their home turf, whether you’re a Liverpool fan, support Everton, Manchester United or Manchester City, there’s something for everyone.
Horse Racing: Book a day out at the races – Aintree Race Course is home to the famous Grand National.
Ben from Sellhousefast commented that, ‘Having benefited from a recent injection of funds to regenerate areas such as Liverpool; potential house-buyers might be surprised to find that the vision of dirty streets and boarded up buildings is actually far from reality.’ To bust another popular myth, you still have the option to move back to the south if you need to relocate because of work or other such reasons – there are a lot of lucrative opportunities in order to make money. If you’re still not sold on moving to the North-West, it’s worth a day-trip, a weekend stay or even a holiday to experience some of the amazing entertainment on offer.
Good luck on your move and with searching for your perfect home!