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Chichester, East Sussex vs Canterbury & Kent with Disability

5 replies

limoncelloandlinenwater · 22/05/2023 15:22

Hi there, I just wonder whether anyone would please be willing to shed some light on the above areas with some specific Protected Characteristics in mind. I live with a hidden autoimmune disease (common for women so there must be a few of you out there!) and I made the mistake (oh, such a mistake!) of moving to a (non-disclosed) rural part of the UK a few years ago. Without going into too much detail as I wish to remain anon - it has been harassment central. Like moving back in time. Have been here long enough to know that it's also a very concerning place for many other people with diverse characteristics (i.e. black people, migrants, people of different orientations, plus lots of other disabled ppl and their families with absolute horror stories, DV stats through the roof and further horror stories of those meant to help putting fingers in ears). Indeed, if I wrote a list of all the incidents either witnessed, experienced or relayed to me since my feet touched the soil in this area it would cover at least two sides of A4. So... to cut to the chase, am thinking of moving to the sunny South Coast. Maybe Chichester or Canterbury. Would anyone please be willing to shed some light. Perhaps even though who have disabilities and/ or other Protected Characteristics themselves? I see super helpful threads on here for black people and others with diversity concerns. I am intrigued by things such as: mobility - how easy are these cities to get around? Also cost of living. Also how many new and 'buy scheme' homes are being developed in these areas. Finally, any observations on employment for those with disabilities. West Sussex and New Forest apparently have smallest disability employment gap - who knew?!

OP posts:
Nagado · 22/05/2023 16:36

I know Canterbury city centre very well. Mobility wise, it’s hit and miss. Some parts are new and very mobility friendly (the Marlowe theatre and the new shops up by Fenwicks for instance. Other parts are incredibly old. Narrow, high pavements, cobbles etc. Due to the age of some of the buildings, I don’t think it has been possible to make all of them completely disability friendly, although I’ve found everyone very helpful wherever they can be (I need a chair occasionally). Parking can be a bit of a bugger in the city sometimes.

The city is full of students and tourists so it’s very diverse. There are annual Pride celebrations and I couldn’t imagine anyone taking any notice of anyone because any of their protected characteristics.

Employment wise you’ve got the high speed rail connection to London, via Ashford, and Dover is just up the road.

Bluevelvetsofa · 22/05/2023 17:19

Chichester town centre is pedestrianised and there are level car parks. It has cobbled streets, which are quite uneven, but wheelchair users do use them. The university is close to the centre, so there are plenty of students around. The Festival Theatre is very well thought of and there’s the Minerva as well. There are museums in the town centre and the cathedral. Many of the shops have gone, but I have noticed one or two new ones moving in. Plenty of restaurants, cafes and coffee shops.

Trains from Chichester to London are frequent, plus trains to Brighton, Portsmouth and Southampton.

The general area had many Eastern European immigrants, many of whom worked at local farms, but I think not all those that went back during the pandemic have returned.

There is a lot of new building in Chichester itself, as well as surrounding villages. Some local people are not altogether happy about that, but the council has been charged with building a certain number of houses and so there are developments in the area.

It’s known as one of the sunniest places in England, with a micro climate. The hospital is close to the town centre and is rated in the top twenty in the country.

limoncelloandlinenwater · 23/05/2023 09:14

Thank you so much for these thoughtful responses, Nagado and Blue Velvet! I want one of those too btw (fantasy loaf chesterfield - maybe if I ever marry an accountant?! Lolz). Yes, your responses have absolutely highlighted the essence of the dilemma. Chichester is probably the most accessible and manageable. That’s my impression. However, the locay of Canterbury is so incredible - fast to London and France thus broadening opportunities especially if I do indeed end up with DCs.

I heard about the building in and around Chichester from reading some local news there. Interesting! Does make me chuckle how people who live in literally the most desirable spots still find reasons to moan and complain. There’s a lot of stuff online trashing Chi but I mostly think it’s people who have never lived in genuinely deprived areas (which I also have earlier in my life).

I am a touch perplexed re what’s going on in terms of building and property in Kent. Any decent schlep through RightMove seems to indicate that about 90% of all Buy Scheme homes have been purchased and packaged for the over 60s?! I am alone in finding this annoying?! I know our elders deserve sunny retirements but don’t boomers have most of the property to start with?!

Are any of the governments new builds being thrown up in Kent at a similar rate to Sussex? Or does it seem that far more are in Sussex, presumably because… why? More available land? Less expensive land? The idea that Sussex is rammed with young, first time buyers (which clearly it is?). Please can anyone comment on the property situations in each as this is a key consideration for me. Thanks ever so much in advance!

OP posts:
Ginmonkeyagain · 23/05/2023 10:00

Both Chichester and Canterbury are pretty expensive for property. Will you be looking to by or rent - in Canterbury you will be competing with students and also holiday homes and Canterbury is a VERY popular tourist destination.

Dover will be a lot cheaper but it is also a lot less well off and in some places pretty run down.

Bluevelvetsofa · 23/05/2023 10:33

There are some new builds that are good quality, with green spaces around. There are also some that are less good. Arun council has been charged with building 25000 new properties within a time frame and that’s why so much is going on just now. I don’t think they are young first time buyers though. There are many family houses and there is discussion about needing extra school places.

Chichester itself has more expensive property, but surrounding areas are both cheaper and more expensive. Bosham is beautiful, but pricy, so is Emsworth, Birdham and West Wittering. Pagham, Rose Green, Oving, Bersted and others have a mix. The other side of Chichester going towards Havant, so Funtington, Southborne, Nutbourne, Rowland’s Castle has more individual houses and therefore more expensive. There’s a new development about a mile from the town centre which has a mix of houses from several developers.

Wherever you are, you’re not far from the South Downs or the sea. I think people are uncomplimentary about places like Chi, because they regard it as the epitome of middle class England. I suppose the cathedral and the Prebendal School adds to that impression.

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