They have been joined by BBC North’s director, Richard Deverall, who has taken a job in London, at a time when many BBC personnel have pledged to go North. But why the resistance? A feeling that up North it’s all frothy beer, flat caps and Coronation Street style terraces?
Challenging this assumption, the County Homesearch Company, the largest independent network of homefinders in the UK, gives the top ten reasons media professionals should be leading the way by making the move to Manchester.
Working in Salford offers a choice between living in the vibrant cosmopolitan city of Manchester, or in one of many picturesque towns and country villages in Cheshire, Lancashire or the Peak District. You can drive from Manchester city centre to the outskirts in 20 minutes and many desirable towns and villages are within a 45 minute commute, saving the typical £3000 annual cost of commuting in to London by train.
Cheaper house prices
Property in Manchester is almost half the price of that in London, so you can get a lot more for your money. An apartment in Manchester City Centre will cost on average £168,000, while a similar property in Shepherds Bush, close to the BBC’s White City studios costs £311,349. Last year the average price of a detached family home in a desirable market town such as Knutsford, Cheshire, was around £500,000, whereas in Weybridge it was at least double at £1.12m
An excellent education
Manchester has some of the best state grammar and comprehensive schools in the UK, such as Altrincham Grammar School for Boys (6th in the national GSCE tables last year) and Altrincham Grammar School for Girls also achieving 100% GCSE passes at grade A*-C. It also has some of the UK’s top performing independent schools such as Manchester Grammar or Withington Girls School; the latter named as The Sunday Times Parent Power Independent Secondary School of the Year in 2009
Five star dining
Every culinary taste is catered for. Double Michelin star winning celebrity chef Michael Caines runs a restaurant in the Abode Hotel, amongst other top restaurants in Manchester. There is also a plethora of country inns or gastro pubs within a short drive of the city centre.
Shopping ‘til you drop
Not only does it offer high end shops such as Harvey Nichols and Selfridges, there is an array of independent boutiques across Manchester and the surrounding towns and villages. For fresh food shopping there are many farmer’s markets and local delicatessens to choose from. It’s not just black pudding up North!
There are many museums in Manchester, such as The People’s History Museum, The Museum of Science & Industry, The Imperial War Museum and of course, The National Football Museum due to open in 2012. Stately homes, such as the beautiful Tatton Park abound in the surrounding areas of Manchester (with many offering free entry to their grounds). Other National Trust estates include Dunham Massey with its 300 acre deer park, and Lyme Park – made famous as the backdrop to where Darcy met Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice – also make exciting family excursions.
Art and music to sing about
There are over 100 professional theatre venues in the North West and the celebrated biennial Manchester International Festival offers contemporary performance and visual arts. The famous Manchester Art Gallery has an extensive collection and is free to enter and the riverside cultural hub, The Lowry, on Salford Quays houses theatres, galleries and restaurants.
Britain’s longest established permanent professional symphony orchestra, the Manchester Hallé, will entertain classical music lovers, while The MEN Arena, 02 Manchester Apollo and many other smaller venues cater for every musical taste.
World class sport
As well as being home to eight UK Premiership football teams, the North-West also hosts the European Sportcity Complex where sports fans can watch aquatics, cycling, athletics, golf, squash, tennis and more.
The Government has earmarked £200m for the improvement of regional railways, part of which will go towards improving journeys in the Manchester area.
The proposed £85m Northern Hub scheme will enable trains from Leeds, York, Hull, Middlesbrough and Newcastle to use Manchester Victoria station and continue on to Liverpool as well as Manchester Airport station, increasing trains between Leeds and Manchester by 50% and generally providing faster and more frequent services between Leeds, Manchester & Liverpool.
One of the most important living conditions is a friendly community – something which Manchester has in abundance. The famous Northern charm is not a myth; Northerners tend to be incredibly hospitable and people who move to Manchester rarely have problems fitting in or building new friendships.
Lisa Green, Director of The County Homesearch Company in the north-west, comments:
“Though there has been more positive sentiment recently, with many not earmarked for the move volunteering to relocate, many BBC workers still do not seem to realise that working in Salford means having the enviable choice between living in the centre of vibrant Manchester or in a picturesque market town or village nearby.
“Some southerners have predetermined negative views of the North, often based on outdated stereotypes; for some Salford is synonymous with the paintings of LS Lowry and the terraces of Coronation Street. Much has changed. The truth is Manchester is a vibrant, cosmopolitan and exciting place to live, set to become the media hub of the UK. Furthermore, Salford itself is already on the up, with the MediaCityUK development where the BBC will be based being key to proposals to regenerate the wider area.”
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