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‘Norfolk is too good for us to keep to ourselves’

PUBLISHED: 17:00 10 February 2016 | UPDATED: 17:47 10 February 2016

Norwich Castle and Norwich Cathedral. Photo: David Kirkham.

Norwich Castle and Norwich Cathedral. Photo: David Kirkham.

Archant

SPONSORED: Norfolk is the best place to live in the world, but shouldn’t we be keeping it a secret?

Those of us who were born and bred in Norfolk have always known that our county is the best place in the world to live.

For decades the excellent quality of life has been something we have been happy to keep to ourselves, revelling in the knowledge that we have won life’s lottery when it comes to where we have made our home.

More recently, however, the rest of the country seems to have realised our little secret.

You know when the lifestyle and property pages of the major national newspapers start sitting up and taking notice, that the Norfolk lifestyle is something that the wider world is beginning to want a slice of.

Before Christmas, the London Evening Standard’s property pages ran a piece claiming that Londoners love Norfolk’s fabulous coastline, lovely market towns, keen house prices and period charm’.

The county is, according to London’s biggest local paper, ‘the county of choice for life-changers and work-from-homers’.

Then the Guardian got in on the act. Just this week they published a survey of the happiest cities to live in, with Norwich firmly at number one – more evidence of the national media’s growing love affair with our county.

Of course, we have known all along that Norfolk is the best place to live, but the growing realisation of that fact amongst people from London and the southeast is bringing many new home-buyers to our county.

This is exacerbated by the hugely inflated prices of property in the capital, which means that even quite affluent families can’t afford to buy their own home, and are starting to look further afield.

Although the Guardian piece majored on cities, the Standard article rightly picked out our county’s market towns as particularly desirable, citing Holt, Downham Market and Hingham as three places to consider setting up home.

Hingham (where we are currently building) is a particularly good example: ‘a small town which punches above its weight,’ says the Standard’s journalist, with buyers attracted by the ‘shops, sports centre, pub and strong community spirit’ in the town’.

London buyers are also surprised by what their money buys in Norfolk.

Our great value and high specification homes with EPC ‘A’ rating, solar PV and fibre to the home are top of the list, with great opportunity for personalisation – something which is much less common in the ‘off-the-peg’ new home market in the capital.

There will always be those who want to keep our county’s attractions a secret, with many jesting that the A11 & the A47 should have drawbridges.

The truth, however, is that if Norfolk is to remain a vibrant, successful county, we have to be prepared to attract new people to the county. Norfolk is too good for us to keep to ourselves.

•Tony Abel is managing director of Abel Homes, which launches its site in Hingham in March.

For more details, visit www.abelhomes.co.uk or search for @tonyabel on Twitter.

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I am the property editor in charge of delivering some exciting and informative content within Archant’s varied titles. We have 16-17 pages of stories, features and columns in the EDP Property supplement out every Friday free in your EDP so please don’t miss it.