Small town that is getting bigger and better for home buyers
It got the Royal seal of approval last month but house hunters have already woken up to the benefits of Boroughbridge. Sharon Dale reports.
THE wealth of potential in Boroughbridge has been well and truly tapped by developers, who have built scores of new homes in the small market town over the last 25 years.
A glance at the map reveals why they were so keen to invest in an area that boasts character, history and a great geographical location.
The town may have been by-passed and lost its Great North Road traffic in 1963, but given 21st century congestion, that now looks like a blessing. It means its heart isn’t clogged with of thousands of vehicles, making it a pleasant place to shop. Meanwhile, the upgraded A1 is just minutes away taking travellers to Leeds, York and Teeside in just over half an hour.
The road links, combined with lower prices, have lured house hunters into the area. Property is between 10 and 15 per cent less expensive than the nearby Golden Triangle hotspots of Harrogate and Wetherby.
Estate agents Paul Johnston, of Lister Haigh and John Lightowler, of Dacre, Son and Hartley, have each served the Boroughbridge patch for over 30 years. Both say a host of incomers have discovered the town’s delights and continue to do so.
“When I first moved to live in this area no-one was interested in east of the A1, but that has changed. There has been a lot of new development here and that has brought in a lot of new people. The upgraded A1 is a big draw. It means that you can be in Leeds as quickly from here as you can travelling from Harrogate,” says John.
Paul adds: “It is still a small town, but not as small as it was. People are discovering it. It is much more of a commuter place thanks to the A1 and the fact that our prices are lower than Harrogate’s. You can buy the same house by the same developer here for 10 or 15 per cent less.”
The population has swelled to about 3,500, still small enough to engender a sense of community and big enough for supermarket giants Morrisons to open a store, though the high street is full of independent shops.
It may not be as busy as in days of yore when, according to the town council’s excellent website www.boroughbridge. org.uk: “Two thousand cattle a day were driven across the bridge on their way from Scotland to markets in the south” and there were 22 inns, horse traders who came to do business on Horsefair and gipsies who flocked to the Barnaby Fair, but says Paul Johnston: “We now have people from Harrogate, Knaresborough and Ripon travelling here for the shops, which says a lot about the success of the place. It is definitely prospering. The free parking probably helps.”
Those looking to settle in Boroughbridge have a choice of the aforementioned newbuilds along with Victorian and Georgian properties. There are no defined good or bad areas in the town, which makes life tougher for first-time buyers.
There is very little for sale under £100,000. A one-bedroom flat costs from £115,0000, a twobedroom townhouse starts from £160,000 and a three-bed semi from between £190,000 and £220,00. Detached homes can be bought from £230,000.
The latter are snapped up by families who are attracted by the high school, which has good performing arts provision and scores 66 per cent GCSE’s A star to C grades in the latest league tables.
Those who want a status address and something more rural are drawn to surrounding villages, where prices reflect the desirability, especially in soughtafter Aldborough.
The kudos of this village increased significantly recently when Prince William and Kate Middleton attended the wedding of their friends Harry AubreyFletcher and Louise Stourton.
“Other villages that are desirable include Roecliffe, Marton-cumGrafton and Lower and Upper Dunsforth,” says Paul.
Back in Boroughbridge, the townies are quickly out in the country thanks to riverside walks on the Ure and it is a short drive to both the Dales and the North York Moors.
Other amenities include a sports centre at the school, which is open for community use and a library. The latter is under threat of closure, but local volunteers are keen to take over.There is also a plan to create new allotments on the edge of town.
“Boroughbridge has a lovely, vibrant community and the quality of life here is good. We are looking to the future with optimism,” says John Lightowler.
Developers will be too when mortgage lenders loosen their grip. There are still pockets of land allocated for housing in the area.
PRIME LOCATION: Boroughbridge is a bustling small town with lots of independent shops and a supermarket.