A town on the up, with location and value on its side
Selby scored well in a rural quality of life survey. No wonder it’s an up and coming destination for house hunters. Sharon Dale reports
AFTER years of being shunned and playing second best to York and Leeds, it’s little wonder that Selby’s self-esteem is lower than it ought to be.
The town and its surrounding villages is the top Yorkshire area in the Halifax Rural Quality of Life survey. It is number 27 in the best 50 local authority districts in Britain with East Yorkshire at 37 and Hambleton at 48. East Cambridgeshire is number one.
The survey, compiled by The Halifax, awards points for employment, the weather, health, education, burglary rates and housing.
Yet long-time residents can’t quite believe the accolade. Estate agent Sarah Jane Taylor, of Preston Baker, grew up in the area and says: “I am surprised because Selby rarely gets any recognition but then again I’m not surprised.
“Selby used to be well-known for its coal mines and they created a lot of employment. When they closed the bottom fell out of the market here but things have changed significantly since then.
“We’ve certainly benefited from the ripple effect from Leeds and York, where house prices are a lot higher. We are just outside the golden triangle. In fact we are becoming a dormitory town. People live here and work elsewhere.”
Richard Taylor, of Keith Taylor estate agency, says house prices are at least 20 per cent cheaper in the Selby area compared to those in Leeds and York.
“You can get a terraced house from about £85,000, which is why we attract a lot of first time buyers from other areas,” he says.
“Prices are certainly reasonable and it is now on the radar for buyers outside the area. They realise that their money goes a lot further here.”
A three-bedroom semi costs from about £140,000, a detached from £160,000 and a detached country house with a couple of acres can be had for £500,000.
The cheapest property in town at the moment is a one bedroom apartment on Bainbridge Drive, Selby, for £54,950. The most expensive is a five bedroom detached on Leeds Road for £595,000. Both are for sale with Keith Taylor. A stunning 18th century farmhouse in the sought-after village of Cawood is £625,000 with Blenkin and Co.
The area offers great value for money but equally attractive are the superb transport links. The A1/M1 and M62 are close by. York and Leeds are a half hour drive away and the town has a train station and a train from Selby to London takes just twoand-a half hours. The villages are also well served by buses.
“The town centre suffered a lot of congestion,” says Richard. “It was a bottle neck but now we have a new bypass and that has made a huge difference .”
The most desirable areas are Leeds Road in Selby and villages such as Cawood, Wistow and Brayton, and the uninitiated will be surprised at how attractive the town is and how pretty the villages around Selby are.
“Cawood in particular is beautiful and very historic. It is by the river and has a castle and Cawood Garth. People from outside the area are always surprised when I tell them they can be in the centre of York in 25 minutes from there,” says Sarah Jane.
The visual highlight in Selby is the beautiful, historic abbey. There are three supermarkets, Morrisons, Tesco and Sainsbury’s, plus a Monday market and a monthly farmers’ market. There is a leisure centre, temporarily closed after a fire but due to reopen, and a number of private gyms. There are a number of primary schools in the area rated excellent by Ofsted, though most of the high schools rank average in the league tables.
The usual signs of an upand-coming area are all there. Developers have targeted the place, interesting, independent shops and eateries have opened and Wetherspoons is planning to open up.
“It’s stalled because of the recession but I think that will pick up again. It is definitely an upand-coming area,” says Richard.
Those moving in will usually find a warm welcome. “It’s a friendly market town,” says Sarah Jane. “In fact it’s a town with a village mentality.
Preston Baker, tel: 01757 291466, www.prestonbaker.co.uk
LEADER OF THE PACK: Selby topped a recent quality of life survey for Yorkshire. The town with its historic abbey is close to both York and Leeds.