Loving Where We Live
Published 29 April 2019
For those of us who are lucky enough to live in Norfolk, it is sometimes easy to take for granted what a great place to live our county is. So it’s good to be reminded of our good fortune by national commentators.
Earlier this month Norwich was once again named in the Sunday Times ‘Best Places To Live’ list, praised for its compact size and ‘arty urban cool’. Two other places in Norfolk made the list as well: Aylsham and Blakeney, the latter praised for its ‘stunning coastal scenery and lively community’.
The Sunday Times list is important, because it doesn’t just look at the obvious and superficial factors such as pretty scenery or attractive architecture. The study assesses a wide range of factors, from employment, schools and broadband speed to culture, community spirit and local shops. This is not a guidebook for visitors, but a genuine attempt to find the best places to live around the UK.
In uncertain times, loving where we live is more important than ever. It has a powerful effect on our wellbeing, happiness and health, as well as more material things such as our ability to earn a living.
Community spirit received a heavy weighting in this year’s survey, reflecting a renewed focus on the communities we live in, not just the bricks and mortar of our ‘dream house’.
The Sunday Times accolade comes just a couple of months after Metro newspaper named the city as one of the top ten places in the UK to live, also reporting high levels of happiness.
Of course, there are some who would rather we kept Norfolk’s status as a wonderful place to live to ourselves, fearing that we will otherwise open the floodgates to millions of disaffected residents of less blessed locations, desperate to move to the promised land.
But inward-looking, insular communities are not ones where happiness levels thrive. Norfolk’s increasingly open culture over the past 30 years or so is one of the reason the county has thrived, economically, socially and culturally. It has made our county the place it is today, the place where we love to live.
It hasn’t led to the destruction of what makes our county special, for example Norwich’s position as one of the most successful places for small, independent retailers, or the many vibrant community activities taking place in our villages.
Norfolk is as great a place to live today as it has ever been, so let’s welcome the fact that important national newspapers are recognising that fact. Above all, let’s recognise it ourselves, and really love where we live.
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