People who live in Stamford have known it for ages, but now the whole of Britain knows it too...Stamford is the best place to live!
The town has topped the Sunday times list of the best places to live in Britain. The newspaper said it was basing its list on hard data such as crime statistics, schools, house prices and life expectancy and also information on transport links, the beauty of the local area, community spirit and even if there was a Waitrose nearby!
Whatever the criteria though, it seems everyone is agreed that Stamford has much to offer residents and tourists alike.
Mayor Bob Sandall was delighted with the accolade.
“I agree entirely it’s the best place to live - it’s a marvellous town,” he said.
“I have lived in Stamford all my life. I was born here and I have never wanted to leave.
“We have got some of the finest stone buildings in the country. There is great history and Stamford was mentioned in the Magna Carta.
“I hope being chosen as the best place will bring some much-needed tourism business for traders.”
Sunday Times reporter Matt Rudd spent Thursday last week seeing the sights of Stamford. In his article he highlighted a number of landmarks, praised the town’s shops and wrote about the quirks of the town’s residents.
He was shown around the town by Tourist Information Centre supervisor Mary Davies.
She said: “A lot of people don’t know that it is so lovely so I think it was a bit of an eye opener for him.”
Since the article was published there has been a surge of interest in the town.
Mrs Davies added: “We have had a lot of people in the office. It can only be a positive effect.
“I think sometimes when you live here you don’t tend to look at the good things that are there for us to see. I just love telling people how lovely it is.”
The article also praised the community within the town.
Sector inspector Mike Burnett began working in Stamford in March last year. He said: “The accolade is a reflection of our community and their values and ethics.
“It shows that Stamford as a community is working together.
“People in the street say thank you for the work you carry out and it is the old-fashioned values that stand out.”
One of Stamford’s most iconic venues, The George, was singled out for its history.
House manager Mike Evered said: “A number of things are unique about Stamford. Burghley House is at the top of that list. They have done a lot for Stamford, like not letting the railways come through here.”
One of the criteria on which Stamford was judged was its housing.
Grant Murray, a partner at Murray Estate Agents, which has an office in Red Lion Square, said: “People move here because it is in the heart of England, so it is accessible.
“It is one of the finest market towns in the country.
“Most people within the town tend to move within the town itself. And we have a cross-section of accommodation.”
Also praised was the quality of schools in the town and the surrounding area.
Principal of Stamford Endowed Schools Stephen Roberts said: “We are very lucky to live in a great town with wonderful facilities and education.
“I live in Stamford and I like living here.”
Isobel Copley is community business development co-ordinator at Bourne Academy, which was one of the schools mentioned in the article.
She said: “Bourne Academy is delighted to be mentioned by The Sunday Times as contributing to Stamford as the best place to live.
“The school continues to strive to be one of the best in the area and a school of which the area can be justifiably proud.”
New College Stamford principal Andrew Patience said: “It’s nice to think we are making our little contribution to the picture of Stamford as the best place to live in Britain.”
The accolade has made Stamford the feather in the cap for both the county and district councils.
South Kesteven District Council leader Linda Neal (Con), said: “We have always known it’s a fabulous place to live, but this confirms it on a national stage and it looks like another of our best kept secrets is out.”
Coun Martin Hill, leader of Lincolnshire County Council, said Stamford has always been a beautiful town and it thoroughly deserved this national recognition.
“I have enjoyed seeing it develop over recent years.
“I hope that as a result of the Sunday Times article, many more visitors come to Stamford and enjoy its unique character and heritage.”
Stamford has a long and fascinating history, much of it chronicled by the 301-year-old Mercury which was referenced in the Sunday Times article.
Editor Eileen Green said: “I am extremely pleased Stamford is getting national recognition.
“We all know it is a great town, with fascinating architecture, wonderful shops and wonderful people.”
And author Rae Earl, who grew up in Stamford and based her book My Fat Mad Teenage Diary on her experiences, wrote a column in The Guardian praising Stamford.
In it she wrote: “One day I’ll be back to not just the best place in Britain but, to me, the best place in the world.”
David Vines, 44, Stamford police community support officer, said: “I am a bit biased as I am the sixth generation of people from Stamford. I am very fortunate to work and live in such a wonderful town.
“People are so warm and friendly and there is a low crime rate. I would welcome visitors to our lovely town.
“The award is a fantastic advert for the town.”
Peter Taylor, 76, Wharf Road, said: “It’s a great accolade which Stamford deserves. Personally I like the arts centre which I think is incredibly diverse.
“I was surprised it didn’t mention Stamford Endowed Schools or the Burghley Horse Trials which is an international event. It adds to the prestige.
“It’s a great town to live in.”
Fiona Ruddick, 73, of Empingham Road, said: “I totally agree, Stamford is marvellous. I have lived here for 34 years now and I think it’s a smashing place.
“It is extremely beautiful and I love all the history.
“Parking is a problem and always has been. The old houses were never meant to have cars parked outside.
“But there is so much going on and it appeals to so many tastes.”
Emma Lambert, 28, of Rutland Heights, said: “We are Stamford born and bred and I think it is the best place to live in Britain.
“It has Burghley House close by, which is beautiful, plus all the churches and old buildings.
“I would want a Next and a lot of the shops are too expensive.”
Lauren Boyd, 21, of Corby, who works as an estate agent in Stamford, said: “Stamford has a nice history, beautiful buildings and Rutland Water is close by.
“It is great if you are looking for a place to go and eat and there are lots of homely pubs.”
And Kim Russon, 36, Red Lion Square, unemployed, said he was a bit baffled by the news and added: “I would like to see bigger shops, with sports equipment, music and menswear.
“I have lived here all my life. It’s a nice place to visit but I wouldn’t move here now. It’s definitely a nice little town in the summer. But like every small town it is struggling with jobs.”