I read an article on the Daily Express this morning. I know, but bear with me. That piece discussed, in the same way we have, the show that names South Ribble as the best place to live in the UK.Advertisement
Rather annoyingly, it describes the area as being in Lancaster and includes a load of tweets from people pouring scorn on the idea.
Let’s rewind a second though. Sarah Beeney fronted a Channel 4 show last night which looked at the best places to live in the UK. It looks at things like jobs, affordable housing, business, wellbeing and transport to culture.
South Ribble is often thought of as primarily areas including Bamber Bridge, Leyland and Walton-le-Dale. It also includes areas extending to Penwortham, Samlesbury, Buckshaw Village and Longton.
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The idea that any scepticism needs to be thrown at this when you look at all those parameters is laughable. There are strong job opportunities, the cost of housing is low and the options are plentiful, the people are happy even if they are a unique mix of dour, cheerful and friendly all at once and you can get to Lancaster, Preston, Liverpool and Manchester all within an hour. There’s also a decent school pretty much everywhere without having to worry about which bloody postcode you live in (compared to other areas).
But those are all very pragmatic things and if I’ve learnt anything about living in places it’s that you can’t really measure things like this in such a way. So let’s look at it differently. The countryside across the South Ribble is gorgeous. As someone who has moved away to Birmingham (apparently has more trees and canals most of Europe), the landscape of South Ribble is something that I miss every day.
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I also miss the people. As mentioned earlier, we’re a weird mix of pessimism and dark humour combined with fortitude and friendliness all in the same person. We’re proud of where we live but we’ll happily run it down every day. There are people who leave but always want to come back and there are people who haven’t left Bamber Bridge in the last decade.
Sure, there are things you can say that count against the area. Nowhere is perfect. But for people who want to make an area home, start a family, make career progressions, enjoy the countryside and have some of the best cities in the UK on the doorstep, then South Ribble is deserving of any title that comes its way.