TWO of Merseyside’s most picturesque towns are among the top 10 places to live in the North West according to a new guide.
Both Crosby and Heswall were named in The Sunday Times Best Places to Live supplement.
A wide range of elements were taken into consideration to compile the rankings including transport links, quality of schools, natural beauty, low crime rate, property prices, cultural life and unemployment figures.
Each area was also assessed on its own assets, whether it has a local festival, fascinating architecture or proximity to an airport.
Crosby, which can boast Cherie Blair, Kenny Everett, Anne Robinson and Olympic Opening Ceremony writer Frank Cotrell Boyce as famous residents past and present, is picked out for praise for its world famous art installation Another Place by artist Antony Gormley, known locally as the Iron Men.
The town’s schools are also mentioned, with Merchant Taylors’ and St Mary’s College both highlighted, as are the house prices which can range “from under £100,000 for a one-bedder to £224,000 for a new two-bedroom flat overlooking Blundellsands” according to the guide.
Crosby’s independent shops were praised with Pritchards Bookshop described as an “independent bookshop where owner Steve Pritchard knows his customers well enough to order stock with individuals in mind”.
Peter Harvey, vice chair of community group ABetterCrosby, said: “I think there are three factors why Crosby is so desirable – our outstanding schools, our community spirit and, of course, the equally steadfast Iron Men.
“Their arrival in 2005 put Crosby on the map regionally, nationally and across the globe. They are worth millions in marketing and PR terms.”
With its outstanding views of the Dee Estuary and the Welsh Hills, Heswall has long been a target for musicians and pop stars alike. Sir Paul McCartney bought his dad a house there and John Barnes, Jamie Redknapp and Paul Ince have all called the Wirral town home. The guide praises the area’s schools, calling it a “magnet for families” while also picking out the region’s natural beauty and “lots of sporting facilities, including leisure centres and a golf club.”
The birthplace of DJ John Peel, cricketer Sir Ian Botham and newsreader Fiona Bruce is also described as a “rural bliss” with a “village atmosphere, from top to bottom”.
Dennis Clegg, chairman of Heswall Society, which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, said: “I think the Sunday Times have hit the nail on the head. Heswall is a super place to live. I moved here 45 years ago and have never wanted to leave because it is such a vibrant town with beautiful countryside. There are lots of active societies and plenty to do.”
The guide names the 10 most desirable locations in the North West as: Kendal in Cumbria, Crosby, Lytham St Annes in Lancashire, Heswall, Chester, Clitheroe, Northwich and Hale in Cheshire, Didsbury in Manchester and Ramsbottom in Lancashire.