The Secret is Out: Oundle Named as one of Best Places to Live in the Midlands

20140611_Oundle_Town__011-2Live in Oundle? Congratulations, because you are officially a resident of one of the best places to live in the Midlands, according to The Sunday Times.

While Oundle has been featured twice in The Guardian’s ‘Let’s Move To’ column, this year the town made its debut in The Sunday Times’ annual Best Places to Live in Britain.

Out of the twelve Midland towns and villages spanning from Shropshire, Derbyshire, Rutland and Birmingham, Oundle is the fifth smallest town in the list.

Previous overall winners of the Best Place include Stamford (2013), which is often said to be a larger version of Oundle, Skipton (2014), Newham (2015) and Winchester (2016). The 2017 overall winner was Bristol.

Estate agent Chris Woodford is convinced that Oundle would have been a worthy winner of the 2017 Best Place to live title. He said, ‘Oundle is a safer and quieter place than Stamford. It is much more intimate than Stamford, and I think people appreciate that. You can walk down the street here and you know a lot of people.’

What makes a village, town or city one of the best places to live? The criteria is wide ranging, but tends to produce consistent results. Now in its fifth year, the annual survey shows a pattern of favourites that appear time after time in each survey, with 80% of those graced by Georgian architecture.

The winning combination would also not be complete without a Waitrose, which all the towns have, except for two. Further criteria includes long-established communities, with some known to have Roman links due to their specific location and traditional architecture. Other considerations include community spirit, and data about crime rates, life expectancy, school performance, as well as culture, food quality and flood risk.

Helen Davies of The Sunday Times said: ‘Homes in the best places to live carry a 20% premium on comparable properties in the area.’ It is likely that if you want to buy a house in this highly ranked list, you’ll get the prices to match. On average, the asking price of a house will be £339,000, with rent averaging £1,350 a month.

The particular highlights that defined Oundle’s entry ranged from the evocative description of ‘mellow yellow-stone Georgian streetscapes’ to standout shops such as the old family businesses of Amps and Cotton’s shoe shop across the street, as well as the
revamped Wharf.

The Sunday Times did not fail to mention Oundle as the home town of a ‘top-notch independent school’ alongside its attraction as a destination for cyclists on weekends.

Elinor Nikolova
May 2017