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How can I find out what an area is REALLY like.

(22 Posts)
beatie Wed 09-Mar-05 11:22:46

We're hoping to move house in the summer. We're moving out of a city and have a choice of 3 areas with train stations so DH can commute to the city to work. 2 of the areas I know are nice and I have no qualms about them but they are at the top end of our price range. Another area is the nicest suburb of a rather large town but we would get more for our money. I guess I want to know that the nice suburb isn't affected too much by the areas in the rest of the town.

How can you know that an area is a nice place to live? What things do you check?

I suppose what is important to us is a nice park for DD to play in, a decent leisure centre for swimming, green spaces where we can walk, a town centre that's not full of foul mouthed mothers, plenty of activities I can go to with DD.

However, all of those things I can check out. what is also important to us, like everyone, is that there's no evidence of anti-social behaviour around the immediate vicinity. How could we possibly know about these things?

I live in an area where a high house price no longer determines somewhere as a nice area.

God - I hope I don't sound like a snob. We're not moving to a mansion, far from it, it's just we live in a city and deal with a fair amount of anti-social behaviour from time to time.

TracyK Wed 09-Mar-05 11:26:11

try picking up the local paper for a good few weeks - it's v. enlightening! but sometimes depressing.

otto Wed 09-Mar-05 11:28:49

upmystreet.co.uk used to have chats about areas. I haven't looked at it for a while, so may no longer apply. You put in a postcode and it will give info on schools, crime stats etc, but also enable you to ask a question about the area, or read chat. Also, look at the land registry website. Sorry, can't do links and don't know the URL, but if you google it you should find it. I think it may offer similar.

Snugs Wed 09-Mar-05 11:30:46

upmystreet.com

piffle Wed 09-Mar-05 11:33:11

tell us where it is and mners will inform you!!!
upmystreet is really good though
Also a quick call to local police and/or council pays off too, we did that as we had huge problems where we lived previously

Marina Wed 09-Mar-05 11:34:26

Definitely acquaint yourself with your local paper. Many UK counties are covered by a big group of local paper publishers and you can usually track them down by typing http://www.thisiscountyname.co.uk
Or out yourself to the extent of telling us where you are moving and if anyone on here lives there they can give you the low-down.

Gwenick Wed 09-Mar-05 11:36:04

upmystreet is naff - unless you happen to find someonoe on the forums part of it. VERY inaccurate as it only takes the first part of the postcode.........try it in areas you know really well - crime figures are for the whole borough/council etc, and really not very helpful.

I'd 2nd the getting the local paper for a while, have a look and see if it's available online.

beatie Wed 09-Mar-05 11:38:00

I'll try the local paper. What a good idea.

Snugs Wed 09-Mar-05 11:40:33

Gwenick - 'up my street' must use more than the first part of the postcode. I have just compared my own to my mums (same 1st part, different 2nd) and got a lot of different info.

Bearess Wed 09-Mar-05 11:41:35

sounds drastic and I know prob wildly impractical - we were going to move out of London to Colchester, anyway the plan is now on hold for time being but we were going to sell up here then rent for a while, puts you in better position to buy anyway - but I think that's the only real way you get the feel of an area.

misdee Wed 09-Mar-05 11:42:51

if u can drive round in the evenings and observed. look for signs of trouble.

TracyK Wed 09-Mar-05 11:50:45

we were v lucky - thought about renting before buying but then fell in love with our current house and thought bugger it! the neighbouring towns are a nightmare but we (luckily) are far enough away not to be a prob.
Go up for at least 1 weekend and scout about and pick up local papers - then you have web addresses for them and you can keep up to date.

harrymum Wed 09-Mar-05 12:02:50

go to local park and look for graffii and needles etc.

good luck

Gwenick Wed 09-Mar-05 12:03:56

snugs - I had two friends in my old town, both live 'quite' close to each other but in starkly different areas - one was new really nice houses, quiet, idylic etc etc, the other lived in a pretty rough council area, lots of anti social behaviour, high crime, noisy etc etc - but when I put their seperate postcodes in they came up with the same information!!!

When I do 'my' postcode the informaiton in brings up

Crime - the whole of the council averages
Schools - doesn't even mention the one I live next door to!

And the Acorn profile - well completely inaccurate!

People - again a 'whole' council figure rather than postcode one

Unemployment - only includes the 1st part of the 2nd part (ie ww1 4 - not the numbers afterwards) so includes my OLD postcode area too - which is acompletely different area to here

Infact most of the information deostn' include the 'full' postcode - only the 1st section and the 1 number of the 2nd bit - which in a lot of areas can encompass a very wide ranging areas

beatie Wed 09-Mar-05 12:59:02

Snugs - do you and your mum perhaps have a different local authority?

Snugs Wed 09-Mar-05 13:07:02

beatie - no, same authority.

Gwenick - I know a lot of the info is the same, I'm not denying that, but there is also a lot of information that is more specific.

If it only searched on the first part of my post code, it would cover about 1/10th of the town. Some of the specific info on there (good local schools for example) actually covers an area of only about 20 streets.

Gwenick Wed 09-Mar-05 13:39:36

snugs - the schools, ISN'T accurate - I live NEXT DOOR to a school yet when I enter my postcode it shows the closest primary school as being one further away!

Most of the details on there are for 'part' postcode or whole authrotiy - ie NN12 4 (without the last 2 leters). Not very helpful when NN12 4 may cover 1/3 of a town (as it does in our town).

I've 'tried' to use UMS severla time when moving house and found it completely useless. For me NN12 4 - covers 2 rought council estates, our 'non estate' area (for which it gives a totoally in accurate Acorn profile) and the poshest part of our town!

bonym Wed 09-Mar-05 13:42:47

beatie - I agree with piffle - post on here, there is bound to be someone on mumsnet who knows the area.

Snugs Wed 09-Mar-05 13:45:10

Must be different around the country then Gwenick, because the info is spot on in my area.

katzguk Wed 09-Mar-05 13:49:22

its wrong school wise for my postcode, and i'd say the house prices were wrong too!

lou33 Wed 09-Mar-05 16:44:27

we asked the ice cream man!

Seriously, we asked him when we were having a looka round one day, as we thougth he would see what it was like all the time, and if the view we had was the right perception or not

Maybe you could ask in local shops, knock on a few doors in the neighbourhood (we also did that) etc.

slotnicki Wed 09-Mar-05 21:00:37

I very happy with the place where I live, but even areas within 'good' areas can vary. I have been choosing a primary school for my daughter and have looked at schools throughout my town.

I certainly think that the local newspaper is a good idea, though as an avid reader and being very knowledgable about what is going on, they don't have the space for everything. One thing that I have found really useful is to visit school fetes. When I have gone round schools, I have also asked them for previous copies of their newsletters, so that I could see whether the PTA was active and whether the school's activites reflected the direction I want my dd to follow. The head of the school which I will probably go for said that she, too had done this.

When visiting school fetes, I have had a good look at the children, parents, at the range of stalls and on the items sold, to see whether I felt that I would have common interests there.

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