Low crime, good schools and open spaces all reasons why people love to live in one area of Norwich

 The river Wensum at Hellesdon Mill. Photo :Steve Adams

The river Wensum at Hellesdon Mill. Photo :Steve Adams

Good schools, access to green spaces, good employment prospects, affordable housing and commuting times - these are all factors which contributed to an area of Norwich being named as the second most desirable place to live in England.

The NR6 area of Norwich - which includes Old Catton and Hellesdon - was found by Royal Mail to be one of the most sought-after places to call home.

It was pipped to the top spot by CH63 in Bebington, Wirral.

The study, from the Centre for Economics and Business Research, looked back at the past two years and calculated the results based on a range of factors including good schools, access to green spaces, employment prospects, working hours, affordable housing and average commuting times.

Ivan Shettleburgh, who lives in the Warren, Old Catton, said he enjoyed living in the area.

Hellesdon - Dixon's shopping centre. Photo: Bill Smith

Hellesdon - Dixon's shopping centre. Photo: Bill Smith - Credit: Archant © 2012

'I find it relaxing here. It's just a lovely place to live,' said the retiree.

Mrs Walford, of The Paddocks, also in Old Catton enjoyed the scenic walks. She said: 'We moved here in 1969, and we've never left. It's a fantastic area for bringing up children, and we love the fact we're able to walk to the city from here.'

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In Hellesdon, Mr Anthony, of Ferdale Close, said: 'I moved to Norfolk in 1974, after leaving the Army. My reason was for my love of the Broads; this is a great place to live.'

Government statistics from 2010 show the area is safer, on average, for every category of crime. The most stark is robbery where the area was 100pc better than the national average.

NR6 key things to do. Photo: Archant Graphics Unit

NR6 key things to do. Photo: Archant Graphics Unit - Credit: Archant Graphics Unit

And according to property website Zoopla, the average value of a property in NR6 is £227,801. This is slightly higher than the national average of £219,544.

Hellesdon Parish Council chairman Shelagh Gurney welcomed the news but also said she was worried the accolade would push house prices up.

'It is a testament to the tireless work of civic, community leaders and groups, and the residents of Hellesdon as a whole that this has been achieved.

'However, it comes with a price. That as soon as a community becomes desirable to live in, for all the right reasons, housing prices escalate, and consequently affects the opportunity for first time home buyers to afford to live in Hellesdon.'

NR6 in numbers. Photo: Archant Graphics Unit

NR6 in numbers. Photo: Archant Graphics Unit - Credit: Archant Graphics Unit

10 NR6 highlights

1. Hellesdon Mill

Although no longer in use as a mill, the water of the River Wensum still passes through the old arches, giving residents a relaxing walk along the riverbank.

2. Catton Park

Shelagh Gurney, county and parish councillor. Photo: Shelagh Gurney

Shelagh Gurney, county and parish councillor. Photo: Shelagh Gurney - Credit: Shelagh Gurney

The development of the area now known as Catton Park was carried out over a period of a hundred years from the 1770s onwards and was the work of successive owners of the Catton Hall. Now the 70 acres are enjoyed by many.

3. And the parkrun there every Saturday

A popular branch of Parkrun, many turn out every Saturday to take on the free 5k route in Catton Park.

4. Anna Sewell House

This house, in Old Catton, is where Anna Sewell wrote her 1877 novel Black Beauty. It went up for sale in 2015 for £650,000.

5. Dixon's Indoor Shopping

Open in its current form since 1983, Dixon's was started by Ken Dixon when he opened a DIY shop in 1936. Now, the centre is opened by the same family, with more than 20 shops under its roof.

6. Arden Grove Infant and Nursery School

Arden Grove was judged to be outstanding in all categories in 2015 by Ofsted, The inspection team found pupils' behaviour to be exemplary, and said the headteacher 'places no ceiling on what pupils can achieve and is relentless in his drive and ambition for them'.

7. Heather Avenue Infant School

Another outstanding school, in Hellesdon, Heather Avenue was given its rating in 2012, and prides itself on the support given and expectations set for pupils.

8. Norwich Airport

Living in NR6 gives residents quick access to Norwich airport, with various destinations to get away to at a moment's notice.

9. Hellesdon Barns

A quirky collection of independent businesses, including cafes, a potteries, an art gallery and more.

10. St Mary's Church, Hellesdon

While the people of Hoxne in Suffolk may disagree, it is possible that the Saxon church may mark the spot where King Edmund was interred in 869 before his removal to Bury St Edmunds in 880.

Cultural centre

As well as NR6 being found to be a top place to live, the whole of Norwich has been heralded as one of England's most cultured cities, thanks in part to its art galleries.

Using websites TripAdvisor and VisitBritain, Norwich was found to be the third most cultured city in England - behind Durham and Exeter.

And TotallyMoney.com - who carried out the study - found: 'Norwich's outstanding feature is its art galleries, with the most per person in England. The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts is a highlight, but while there, visitors should also be sure to have a look at Norfolk Castle. '

Also on the top five list were Oxford, and Brighton and Hove.

Joe Gardiner, TotallyMoney.com's Head of Brand and Communications, said this showed there was more to England than just London when international visitors were planning a trip.