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.

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY -

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. “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.

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