Judging the appeal of towns

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Ivo, 25 Oct 2011.

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  1. Ivo

    Ivo Established Member

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    Reviving a bit of a classic concept, which was based around three different threads, does anyone here have any kind of specific tastes as to what they like in a town (etc)? For me personally, a nice town should have a fairly antiquated feel, but not to the point that it feels completely out of place or that everything is built to Tudor style! It also helps if the place is not particularly touristic, although there are some exceptions, even on the coast. And of course the presence of a railway helps!

    Similarly, does anyone else ever feel that they can tell exactly what a town (again, etc) would be like from simply staring at a map? To give an example, I knew that I would like Camberley [actually, make that "love"] and dislike Guildford [actually, make that "hate"] just by looking at a standard scale AA atlas, even though the two are quite close together. I have only ever been wrong on one occasion, which was my beloved Southport.

    On either of these points, does anyone have anything to add? Please try to avoid filling the thread with reasons relating to hear-say though ;)
     
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  3. EM2

    EM2 Established Member

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    Really? I hated Camberley on first sight (and still do). The bookshop on the High Street was its only saving grace.
     
  4. Schnellzug

    Schnellzug Established Member

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    i can't say i've ever been to Camberley (as opposed to through it), but following this recommendation i shall have to immediately.

    As far as the judging places from the map, I can see that; I mean, you can tell if somewhere has probably been built from scratch if all the streets are in straight lines and there's lots of Roundabouts and so on, or whether there's likely to be rose-covered cottages around a duckpond, I suppsoe.

    or a small cove around a little fishing harbour. That's always a plus point as well.
     
  5. Ivo

    Ivo Established Member

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    Each to his own I guess. Schnellzug, take note of this in case you dislike it.
     
  6. Madge Wildfire

    Madge Wildfire Member

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    I find it is very strange with me and towns on first visit, almost like a psychic thing but I have no idea where it comes from. Two places close together can have the opposite effect.

    For instance I had a very instant dislike to Bacup but loved Todmorden. They are not that far apart but for some reason their 'vibes' were opposite.
     
  7. martinsh

    martinsh Established Member

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    Tod is in Yorkshire !
     
  8. 4SRKT

    4SRKT Established Member

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    Todmorden is in the Calder Valley and has a good mix of leftie vibes coming in from Hebden Bridge (without the ludicrous excess to which that runs in Lesben Bridge itself), and solid Pennine folk. Bacup is a backwater.

    The appeal of towns is down very much to the individual but one should be very wary of judging places based on appearance. For example when I moved to Bradford I thought it was almost unrelentlingly grim, but quickly discovered that there is a fantastic scene here full of great people truly committed to the city, and 12 years on the place is so totally under my skin that I simply can't imagine living anywhere else. I even regard it as more 'home' than York by this stage. It's still a grim looking hole mind, and I can see why people don't like the look of it, but it's a grim looking hole with enormous personality and character just under the skin.
     
  9. martinsh

    martinsh Established Member

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    It's a grim looking hole with at least one amazing pub (The Fighting Cock) and several great curry houses

    Oh, and a history of trolleybuses
     
  10. beermaddavep

    beermaddavep Member

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    Easy- the thing that makes any town is the people. If folks are friendly and laid back it will make even the most depressing concrete architecture irrelevant.

    Some towns across the UK are chocolate box pretty, but combine that with sullen aggressive youths and snide back turning locals (are you listening North Wales/ Surrey lol) and you have a place that flu wouldn't visit.
     
  11. Lampshade

    Lampshade Established Member

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    Not in everyone's eyes, I was watching a game show the other day and a contestant said she was "from Todmorden, in Lancashire" :p

    I went to Skelmersdale the other week, I inferred from the map that it'd be pretty grim due to it having an enormous bypass and the rest being comprised of minor roads - and I was right, it was by far the worst place I've ever been to - and I've been to Rhyl :shock:
     
    Last edited: 27 Oct 2011
  12. Ivo

    Ivo Established Member

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    Skelmersdale is a painful place to visit. It makes most New Towns look beautiful. If one was to look at it and Milton Keynes, they would struggle to even accept that both were products of the same programme, never mind explain how both were...

    If you go by bus - the 375/385/395 from Southport/Wigan is the obvious one - you go all over the place, especially from the western end ["all over the place" meaning even inside the Arriva depot last I knew] - and end up at what is quite possibly the ultimate stereotype for the 1960s - a big concrete block masquerading as a town centre. The bus station, on the edge of said block, is comparatively pretty! Only... the definition of "comparatively pretty" is valid only within Skem itself and more or less no other location in the entire United Kingdom. (Except maybe Cumbernauld, but I've never been there!)

    I almost don't want Merseyrail to extend to Skelmersdale. For a localised 3rd rail operation its route network is pretty nice! To go beyond Ormskirk to Skem, however, would tarnish that forever...

    If anyone reading this lives in Skelmersdale, I have no apology to offer for the honest truth above.
     
  13. Paul Sidorczuk

    Paul Sidorczuk Veteran Member

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    I tend to agree with what you say about Skelmersdale and the bus journey that seems to take for ages in the town area. The only consolation is that Arriva no longer use that bus depot, so that particular "treat" is no longer available. On another thread, WatcherZero has stated that he thinks that that the bid proposal for a Skelmersdale rail project has been rejected.

    Your comparison between Ormskirk and Skelmersdale is very valid in area comparison of totally different areas hard by to each other. I suppose St Annes on Sea and Blackpool would be another example.
     
  14. martinsh

    martinsh Established Member

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    You can say what you like about Blackpool but it's much better than Skelmersdale !
     
  15. Paul Sidorczuk

    Paul Sidorczuk Veteran Member

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    How right you are. Blackpool has its "Golden Mile", but if Skelmersdale had a "Golden Mile", it would be stolen overnight..:D:D
     
  16. Lampshade

    Lampshade Established Member

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    And it would have a roundabout in the middle of it :lol:
     
  17. Eng274

    Eng274 Member

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    I wish I knew what made me personally like or dislike a town. There are a few obvious ones, like the people as previously mentioned by beermaddavep. The pub scene (you're only young once...) usually sways my opinion a little. I'm not talking about streets of tacky night clubs, but places with a good mix of vibrant clubs and local pubs, which add positively to the atmosphere of the area.

    Kings Cross-Russell Square area of London impressed me as being a great place that was always buzzing, even on a Wednesday night. Some of the architecture was also quite impressive. The proximity to several major rail termini also helped!

    On the flip side, I could not connect with Coventry at all. Once you get right into the city centre it improves a little, but outside that it seems like your standard 1960s soulless, unwelcoming concrete conurbation.
     
  18. martinsh

    martinsh Established Member

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    What should an ideal town possess ? Well in my opinion it should include the following

    • Some pleasant buildings, style of architecture. It can be a tourist attraction, but should be a place that is lived in by local people (i.e. not a picture postcard / chocolate box )

    • There should be a selection of restaurants served both local cuisine, and a variety of other different styles (e.g. Indian, Chinese, Italian etc)

    • There should be some excellent pubs serving a range of local beers. If it is possible to sit outside to drink (without being overwhelmed by smoke !), then so much the better.

    • It should be possible to to see live music being played (in a variety of styles) any night of the week.

    • In the evenings, there should be a “buzz” round nightspots and venues, but it shouldn’t be overwhelmed by problem drinking

    • The town should have a convenient ralway station, where you can see a variety of passenger and freight services.

    • The local buses should NOT be run by some faceless international group. Ideally there should be a main local bus operator (maybe municipal), and perhaps some smaller independent operators as well.

    • It would be nice if the town had a tram or trolleybus system.

    • Some interface with water would be pleasant, either a river, a lake or seaside.

    • There sould be plenty of attractive parks, both in the centre and suburbs, to relax in.

    • Ideally there should be at least one place where you can get a panoramic view of the town.


    Hang on a minute - I’ve just described Riga !
     
  19. 4SRKT

    4SRKT Established Member

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    You have, with a number of exceptions, also actually described Hebden Bridge quite well.
     
  20. Eng274

    Eng274 Member

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    It also sounds uncannily like Edinburgh :D the only stumbling block is the dreaded (and very late) T-word..
     
  21. W-on-Sea

    W-on-Sea Established Member

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    With the exception of the railway station bit, Witney fits this description surprisingly well for somewhere so small too! But in some ways not having a station can be a definite advantage in creating a more cohesive, less transient or dormitory community. I like both Riga and Edinburgh very much too!
     
  22. martinsh

    martinsh Established Member

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    I have a friend who lives in Hebden Bridge who has been to Riga with me - he never mentioned the similarity ...:D
     
  23. Mojo

    Mojo Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    I would ideally like to live somewhere near to, or within reasonable commuting distance (by rail) to my place of work. Hence, the home should be close to the station and the station have a good service to where I want to go.

    Ideally there should be adequate parks and other facilities such as cafes, restaurants and bars, as well as good shopping nearby. Having a Waitrose and a Sainsbugs nearby would be vital for me to do the food shop, but other shops for clothes, etc. would be handy too.
     
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