was named 2014 Local Authority Planning Team of the Year. Home owners in the area can sleep easy, knowing they are in safe hands. This metropolitan borough in the West Midlands is perfect for anyone looking to find their first home (three-bedroom semi-detached properties in West Bromwich sell for around £135,000). On the market: four-bedroom family home in Salters Lane, West Bromwich: £349,995 with Connells (connells.co.uk). Wales generally levies lower council taxes than England, and in Newport the average Band D charge is just £671. There is a debate in the Principality about whether efficiency savings could be made by merging councils, but Newport continues to try to serve its residents well in straitened economic times. Great value for money, with terraced houses available for less than £120,000 and detached homes around £170,000. On the market: charming threebedroom cottage with panoramic views of the Usk Valley (pictured below): £499,000 with Savills (savills.com).
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