Strabane does it again..

No rejoicing in the streets yet though.. According to the UTV report, for the second year, Strabane has made the Top Ten Worst Places to Live in the UK, compiled using a variety of statistics – crime stats, education tables, employment rates, and environment and lifestyle factors – from all 434 local authorities across the UK for a forthcoming Channel 4 programme, to be broadcast on 26th Oct. The good news is that Strabane is only the 8th worst.. better than last year when it was the 3rd worst. How would it do in a similar survey across Ireland, north and south? Surely there’s somewhere worse to live on the island?.. surely..The Worst top 10 results are:

1. Hackney, east London
2. Tower Hamlets, east London
3. Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales
4. Newham, east London
5. Islington, north London
6. Middlesbrough, North East
7. City of Nottingham, East Midlands
8. Strabane, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland
9. Blaenau Gwent, south Wales
10. Manchester, North West

,

  • Geoff W

    Since I was born in Nottingham, once lived in both Hackney and Manchester and now reside in Islington, and regularly visit Strabane I’m utterly chuffed to have scored 5 out of 10.

    A pox on all estate agents’ noses!

  • ciaran damery

    Srabane is as much “part of the UK” as the english constituency of Finchley is Irish. So all I gotta say is, Gee thanks!

  • Valenciano

    A really subjective and dubious survey – I mean come on … Islington 5th worst place to live?! Worse than horrors like Burnley, Dewsbury, Halifax or many of those windswept dire Essex coastal towns like Thurrock et al?

    Hackney has its problems for sure but there are probably many boosts ahead for the place. A boom in development and property in the run up to the Olympics, forthcoming addition to the tube network being just two.

    Nottingham and Manchester have always been famous for nightlife but always seem to end up in surveys like, which makes me suspect that they’re compiled by 50 somethings living in Aylesbury.

  • joeCanuck

    I don’t think these surveys are worth much.
    I grew up in Strabane and it was certainly a wonderful place to grow up, the countryside just a short walk away. Although I left 40 odd years ago, I return for a visit every two years or so.
    Variables such as the time of year when the survey is done or using the same (negative?) people every time can really skew the results. How many towns in N.I. were actually surveyed?
    I now live in a town about the same size as Strabane on the shores of Lake Huron about 150 miles from Toronto. If you asked me in the summer time what the town is like to live in I would say “awesome”. Ask me in February and I’ll tell you I hate the place.

  • where are the bloggers for the good news story,
    last November I was listening to Radio Sweden as one does and I heard that Dungannon was voted best small town in the world.
    http://www.briangreene.com/bhg/2005/dungannon-best-small-town-in-the-world/

    Dungannon had 3 bad news stories of local regional and national coverage weeks prior to this win, the blogosphere and regional news ignored this story. this was as much to the surprise of dungannon county council as was my telephone call to them to run the story on a dublin based blog. they sorted me out for pdfs photos and comments…

  • Pete Baker

    joe et al

    It may help to clear up the apparent confusion about the list if I repeat this line from the original post..

    ..compiled using a variety of statistics – crime stats, education tables, employment rates, and environment and lifestyle factors – from all 434 local authorities across the UK [ie all 434 local authorities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland]

    Those would be the official statistics, btw, only environment and lifestyle factors might be said to be subjective.. but they’re using the same criteria when they assessed all the local authorities – this wasn’t a telephone poll.

    As the presenters have also said..

    Spencer said: “We`ve only just come out of hiding after the storm this show created last year. But it`s all based on official data, we`re merely presenting the facts – harsh as they may be.”

    Allsopp said: “All the research is rock solid, we look at every single local authority, all 434 of them, and the figures speak for themselves.”

  • In an All-Ireland survey would Strabane be the worst place?

    I understand Moyross in Limerick may be a contender.

  • joeCanuck

    Pete

    Thanks for the clarification.
    But I still think the survey is of dubious value.
    Everything is relative. I grew up in a poor family (moneywise) but everyone around us was in the same situation so it was a very happy childhood.
    Statistics don’t tell the whole story.

  • Strabane is not so much a town but somewhere to drive through to get were your going. Having only one three star hotel for a large town does’nt improve its image. Economically, infra-structuraly and industrially by-passed by successive governments does leave Strabane isolated but the townsfolk, by in large, are some of the nicest people in the North, almost certainly in the United Kingdom too.

  • Alan Law

    A few years ago two scottish colleagues of my brothers were driving through Strabane, they worked for Woolworths, and had a brick launched at their car.
    The hospitality didn’t end there when the staff in a local petrol station refused to serve them. Their car had a UK number plate and coupled with their short hairstyles may have appeared to many as “squaddies”.
    On the day the local Woolworths opened after it was refurbished, the IRA planted an incendiary device.

  • joeCanuck

    Alan

    The second paragraph of your anecdote is somewhat dubious.
    There hasn’t been a filling station in Strabane for more than a few years (petrol prices across the border in Lifford, less than a mile away, are so much lower). And I had been buying petrol in Strabane for many years before that and I was never served; all self-service.

  • páid

    West side o’ the bridge.. café, name escapes me. Great fish ‘n’ chips. What more d’ye want in life?

  • Rory

    Living in Tottenham, a short bus ride from Hackney and only two tube stops from Islington, this survey flies in the face of everyday reality. There is absolutely nothing in Tottenham, no restuarants at all worth eating in, absolutely shit pubs, no cinema, no music no theatre. The only joy is the 73 bus to take one to Islington or the West End or the proximity of the tube and a fast train into either.

    Both Islington and Hackney sport those facilities missing in Tottenham and have the added advantage of being short on Spurs supporters.

    So I find the survey dodgy and wonder how possibly can anywhere be considered worse than Ballymena, Portadown, Larne, Kilkeel (and now I believe, increasingly,) Newry?

  • Yokel

    Two Words…Hugo. Duncan.

    Strabane you are certainly worth the title now.

  • joeCanuck

    Play the ball Country Bumpkin.

  • dalek

    So I find the survey dodgy and wonder how possibly can anywhere be considered worse than Ballymena, Portadown, Larne, Kilkeel (and now I believe, increasingly,) Newry?

    posted by rory

    Rory wind yer neck in you’ve got this one wrong. Newry best shopping town in the north outside belfast and prob the most improved town in the North..comparing it to Larne?..yer having a laugh feckwit

  • none of your business

    This survey is shite of the highest order…Both Hackney and Islington are great places to live..different but cool…

    As for Strabane..couldn’t comment..never seen the place..considering the structural inequality in that part of the world over many years, I wouldn’t doubt it’s a kip, but ask another question…

    Who’s been responsible for it, as much as i dislike the “celtic tiger”, you’d have to admit that is has dragged many slums out of the dark ages.

    How come east belfast doesn’t get a mention in the top 10..racism, sectarianism, poverty, thug u like…like Limerick.. best viewed out of the rear window at speed..don’t start me on Larne..only place in the world i’m scared to buy petrol….

  • Armed Atheist

    I’m surprised nowhere in Liverpool made the list. Maybe it’s improved lately.

    Similar survey across Ireland, north and south? I hate to go for the easy target but Limerick is going to be nominated by someone anyway. My only impression of Limerick – I stopped there to buy petrol and had a malnourished young Shane McGowan lookalike sidle up to me at the pump and inquire as to whether I wanted to “peck my tayth up with brawken fengers.”

    http://www.dublinscumbags.com/
    should amuse the Dublin haters for a few seconds.

    Waterford. Ballina. How to choose?

  • Mark

    While these ‘surveys’ and things like the “Rough Guide” provide a great opportunity to mock, laugh at and dismiss areas, I fully understand why Strabane made the list. As one of the most peripheral regions under British jurisdiction is it any surprise that lack of investment in local infrastructure, jobs and community leaves it lagging behind so other districts? Many of the factors used in judging this can be explained by the neglect of border communities and a failure to recognise they have a hinterland that extends beyond British jurisdiction.

    The possible cross-border investment package, road links and joined-up infrastructure suggested in recent articles may start to address some of the economic and social factors that cause life to be so difficult for the citizens of Strabane. It has a County town within metres; future planning and investment should recognise and exploit that along with its potential to be on a general W/NW economic corridor.

    Or do we just let Strabane rot while being fully aware and repeatedly told it is being failed?

  • Harry Flashman

    People seem to have difficulty understanding Peter Baker’s post at #6, these places aren’t nominated, they have been chosen by virtue of statistics universally applied against each town.

    So it doesn’t matter if you love Strabane or think Newry’s a real shitehole the statistics say Strabane’s the worse town, not too complicated now is it?

    As for Hackney, I find it amusing as there was a letter to the Irish Times last week from an Irish lady who lived in Hackney for thirty years. She seemed very proud of the fact that despite living in the UK for so long she still remained thoroughly Irish and in no way felt the need to integrate to Britain at all.

    Anyway she went on to say what a wonderful place Hackney was with so many diverse cultures and how the only problems were caused by “white racists”. She made no mention of the pretty serious problems caused throughout London on July 7 2005 that weren’t caused by white racists (nor indeed by the problems London suffered due to her compatriots in the previous three decades whilst she was steadfastly refusing to integrate!).

    Well I suppose Hackney’s listing at number one shite place to live will probably be blamed on those pesky white racists again.

    By the way when reports of this type come out there are invariably people who say “Oh such and such a town is great, it’s got a great club scene”. This always fascinates me, to decide whether a town is a good place on the quality of nightclubs where young people whack themselves out on ecstasy and spend hours in a zombie like pulsating trance seems to me to be bizarre beyond belief.

    I’ve never understood this “great club scene” anyway, I’m in my thirties now but I never understood it even when I was a teenager. Who would judge a town’s quality by its nightclubs as opposed to – oh god knows anything, quality of newsagents, public conveniences, number of telephone boxes, standard of advertising billboards, colour of townhall? It makes no sense.

  • Mark

    Harry,

    People seem to have difficulty understanding Peter Baker’s post at #6, these places aren’t nominated, they have been chosen by virtue of statistics universally applied against each town.

    Some people, not people. Other people recognise this is not an indictment of Strabane or it’s locals but a recognition of failings of those that have control over the factors Strabane is being judged by.

    The question shouldn’t be why Strabane is shitty compared to other places but why it isn’t getting better.

  • willis

    This survey is a wonderful example of the misuse of statistics. It has pretentions of objectivity but is about as meaniful as comparing Education in NI to England.

    As Rory has probably guessed, Tottenham did not make it on to the survey because it is not a London borough (it is in Haringay).

    Strabane District council area has a population of approx 15,000. Manchester has approx 450,000.

    That said it’s only a property programme.

  • Yokel

    Ah jesus Joecanuck, how po faced can ya get, what a sense of humour failure but now I know that…

    I didn’t realise I was in the presence of the Hugo Duncan fan club.

    Anyway as I was saying…two words..Hugo. Duncan.

    That takes Strabane over the line..

  • mnob

    So its the brits fault that Strabane is in the top 10 is it ? Its because its on the ‘hinterland’ – how come 4 of the top (bottom ?) 5 are London Boroughs then ?

    As an aside – if having a hotel is a measure of a town’s worth then how about a city without *any* hotel in the city limits ? (Hint just south of Belfast).

  • The worst place in N.I.?

    Finaghy rail halt.

  • Henry McNeill

    Anytime these sort of surveys come up, and is Strabane is single out, someone will only say whatabout Portadown or Ballymena or Kilkeel or Larne.

    Look at this little ‘anecdote’ from ‘Seamus O’Sullivan’
    “don’t start me on Larne..only place in the world i’m scared to buy petrol”

    Why don’t you and Rory and Dalek just say what you mean mate…there are just too many of those nasty unionists in Larne, aren’t there???????

  • DK

    I remember driving through Strabane and there was a litter-strewn little park with a massive notice painted on the wall that said something along the lines of “Support and play your native Gaelic sports”. In the park, half a dozen children were playing soccer. I also remember someone from Omagh telling me that Strabane was constantly getting stuff, but it just gets smashed to bits. Maybe they were biased though.

    Surprised that Dundee didn’t get in the top ten. It’s a great showcase town of experimental social-housing from the 60s and 70s. Ground floor windows all boarded up…

  • dantheman

    Larne must be near the top of the list.
    Ballyclare would also be up there.

    However the worst of all must be Newcastle, Co. Down. Although a scenic desination, it has a very bad inherent drugs problem. I would estimate that at least 60% of the local inhabitants are solvent abusers. It also has one of the highest percentage of pillheads in Western Europe.

  • Valenciano

    HarryFlashman,

    I think most of us understand PBs point perfectly well – we just take issue with the “variety of statistics” chosen. It’s entirely subjective and a different set of stats would produce entirely different results.

    To answer your point about nightlife, the reason is that for many of us, socialising is a very important lifestyle factor. Thus the number, variety and quality of bars and restaurants is very important. For those of us without kiddies, it’s usually much more important than frankly irrelevant stats on whether the local authority scores worse in physics tests.

    This is where the stats become extremely problematic – Hackney/Islington might have poor schools but they are both within easy reach of areas that have excellent schools and therefore it’s probably better to live there with kids than live in a Northern town which, while having slightly better schools, lacks the choice of a big city.

    Ditto with employment rates. Local unemployment in those places may be higher than local authorities oop north but living in a sub-district of London will still provide more oppurtunities for those that want them than many smaller Yorkshire/Lancashire towns.

    At the end of the day it boils down to the old adage: “different horses for different courses.”

  • Henry McNeill

    ‘Dantheman’ says it again….

    “Larne must be near the top of the list.
    Ballyclare would also be up there.”

    No explanation is offered so again we must presume that the problem he has with the aforementioned places (as compared with the lovely place where he presumably resides) is that there are just far too many of those non gaels living there.

  • dantheman

    “’Dantheman’ says it again….

    “Larne must be near the top of the list.
    Ballyclare would also be up there.”

    No explanation is offered so again we must presume that the problem he has with the aforementioned places (as compared with the lovely place where he presumably resides) is that there are just far too many of those non gaels living there. ”

    No its because they are both shitholes. Millisle and Donaghadee I quite like, neither are Republican areas. Newcastle would be mostly nationalist, which doesnt avoid my wrath.

    So wrong on all accounts there Henry…..

  • Henry McNeill

    Ah Dan, at least you have bothered to attempt to explain, but…

    Picking a couple of random proddy places near the sea won’t wash, I mean Millisle FFS ???

    “The Top Ten Worst Places to Live in the UK, compiled using a variety of statistics – crime stats, education tables, employment rates, and environment and lifestyle factors – from all 434 local authorities across the UK.”

    There you are… objective criteria. Pray tell what makes the place you live less of a ‘shithole’ as you put it, than the place where I choose to live????

  • dantheman

    Henry, I shouldnt have had to explain anything. I didnt mention demography – you did with your silly assumptions. My own town is quite a shithole but there are worse in both nationalist and unionists areas.

    Saintfield is a pleasant enough town, and to paraphrase you quite proddy. West Belfast (although only part of a city) leaves a lot to be desired. The fact that it is republican does not endear me to live there.

  • Yer Woman

    Some people just go out of their way to be offended, Dantheman.

  • dantheman

    You are a bit of a dick Henry McNeill in fairness. In what part of utopia do you reside??

  • Mojo

    Strabane? Strabane? Worst place in N.I.? You have to be kidding. Worst place is the Belfast Zoo, me Da’s place.

  • Henry McNeill

    Listen ‘Dan’ the ‘man’

    You, ‘Rory’ and ‘Dalek’ are understandably offended that Strabane has been judged to be a less than desirable place to live using objective criteria.

    Some on this thread have decided to blame this unfortunate state of affairs on the British state.

    Others have thrown in a bit of whataboutery and mentioned Portadown, Ballymena, Ballyclare, Larne (several times) and Kilkeel as being basically shitholes and yes, even unsafe places to stop for petrol in.

    I am merely trying to tease this out a little, but the lack of response leads me to the conclusion that places like Larne, Ballyclare etc are just not ‘green’ enough for the likes of you. You are just not honest enough to openly admit it.

    Alright son?

  • joeCanuck

    Henry McNeill

    The criteria themselves may be objective but who decides what criteria are to be used to decide whether a place is desireable to live in?
    Subjective criteria are important too; e.g. Neighbourliness.

  • skinbop

    I cannae believe no Scottish towns in the top ten. Any been to Kilmarnock – grim up north…

  • none of your business

    So I slag off Larne, Limerick and East Belfast..big up Hackney and Islington..then someoneone goes and checks my email address and does a wee bit of “racial profiling” on me..

    I know these places in the north due to using them as ports..and when I get out my Irish Times on the boat..the very long beer line full of tatooed, chav, steroid happy, loyalist fuckwits make me shut up and move when I’m minding my own business…

    Piss off and watch the War Glory Porn that collins is pumping out on the tele..

  • Steaky

    Dantheman

    “However the worst of all must be Newcastle, Co. Down. Although a scenic desination, it has a very bad inherent drugs problem. I would estimate that at least 60% of the local inhabitants are solvent abusers. It also has one of the highest percentage of pillheads in Western Europe.”

    Wind yer neck in!

    As a resident of said drugs den I would def say that it has less of a problem than any city in the North for argument say Belfast (where I have also lived) and indeed most of Newcastles problem is caused by the visiting holidaying hoards during the summer months.

    And given that
    23.5% were aged under 16 years;
    21.7% were aged 60 and over; in Newcastle at the last time of the census, I take it your experience is of Glue sniffing grannies

    P.s. Where do you live?
    Compare the rise in property prices in Newcastle to any other town in Northern Ireland, and the corresponding boom in Dundrum and Castlewellan and it seems that people actually seem desparate to live there.