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Is It Really An Advantage To Live In Central London?


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I know a lot of people assume that the more central you live in London, the better...

Surely it's only really the case if you have a lucrative job there?

Otherwise you have to put up with:

i Worse air pollution

ii Worse noise pollution

iii Most things are more expensive

iv Congestion that makes it difficult to drive anywhere

v An overload of tourists especially in summer months

The things that people claim make living in London worthwhile - the shops, the theatre shows, the book shops, the fancy restaurants - are places you can visit on a day trip anyway. Am I missing something?

..the best thing about not living in London from say the North West is you can fly to Heathrow from Manchester ...or bypass it altogether... :rolleyes:

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.....easy to find a £50k job?....what planet are you on? ;)

Tell you a funny story.....near to work there was a quite obvious abandon car on yellow lines, been there for at least three weeks, smashed windows and head lights, had three penalty notices attached to the windscreen....anyway walking past saw an enthusiastic traffic warden writing a fourth ticket. Hello I said, can't you see that that car is abandoned, would it not be more productive for you to see it is removed rather than adding another ticket.....that is what you have to put up with. :lol:

Don't the traffic wardens get a bonus for all the tickets they issue? Not in their remit to actually solve a problem.. B)

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....a feeling of being in the centre of the world when in London that is completely missing at the other end of the scale - living in a rural isolated place. .....

...it's an illusion usually afflicted on the young ...you will soon grow out of it and find the real world.... :rolleyes:

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i love central London, its a great place to live in your twenties doing the stuff you do in your twenties,

On the downside

i dont think its a great place to bring up kids

Its a bit grotty although nowhere near as bad as Paris

and fundamentally Its high popn density and Ponzi central to the global credit blowoff which is a potentially volatile social.combo in the years/decade to come

Edited by Georgia O'Keeffe
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"It is dif­fi­cult to speak ade­quate­ly or just­ly of Lon­don. It is not a pleas­ant place; it is not agree­able, or cheer­ful, or easy, or exempt from reproach. It is only mag­nif­i­cent. You can draw up a tremen­dous list of rea­sons why it should be insup­port­able. The fogs, the smoke, the dirt, the dark­ness, the wet, the dis­tances, the ugli­ness, the bru­tal size of the place, the hor­ri­ble numeros­i­ty of soci­ety, the man­ner in which this sense­less big­ness is fatal to ameni­ty, to con­ve­nience, to con­ver­sa­tion, to good man­ners – all this and much more you may expa­ti­ate upon.

You may call it drea­ry, heavy, stu­pid, dull, inhu­man, vul­gar at heart and tire­some in form. I have felt these things at times so strong­ly that I have said – “Ah Lon­don, you too then are impos­si­ble?” But these are occa­sion­al moods; and for one who takes it as I take it, Lon­don is on the whole the most pos­si­ble form of life. I take it as an artist and as a bach­e­lor; as one who has the pas­sion of obser­va­tion and whose busi­ness is the study of human life. It is the biggest aggre­ga­tion of human life – the most com­plete com­pendi­um of the world." - Henry James

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Where are you talking about when you say "Central London"?

Because (almost) nobody lives in The City or the West End. A lot of commentators seemed to have a very skewered image of London.

Eg today i'm sure wandering round Hyde Park or Hampstead Heath would be lovely.

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Where are you talking about when you say "Central London"?

Because (almost) nobody lives in The City or the West End. A lot of commentators seemed to have a very skewered image of London.

Eg today i'm sure wandering round Hyde Park or Hampstead Heath would be lovely.

zone 1.

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Very different in Henry James's time too. Even 20 years ago zone 1 seemed a lot nicer. The overcrowding on the tube is significantly worse last 5 years I think and many tourist sites like the British museum are now mobbed even on weekdays. From a living point of view, factor in a heftly premium on plumbing/other trades prices plus childcare and related stuff and in fact most things. Two people I know moved in from suburbs 5 or so yrs ago bought small flats in soho/covent garden. One driven out by incessant noise from clubs etc (rubbish lorries do their rounds from 3am to pick up empties from pubs and restaurants, noise needs to be heard to be believed when they up-end a bin full of those). Another mugged and decided to call it a day (there is a lot of street crime in the west end).

The thing is people assume its desirable just because prices are so high but as we know the latter is largely because wealthy non residents are using properties to park cash and in fact they represent v poor value for money IMO as just someplace to live.

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. Two people I know moved in from suburbs 5 or so yrs ago bought small flats in soho/covent garden. One driven out by incessant noise from clubs etc (rubbish lorries do their rounds from 3am to pick up empties from pubs and restaurants, noise needs to be heard to be believed when they up-end a bin full of those). Another mugged and decided to call it a day (there is a lot of street crime in the west end).

Your aquaintences are idiots.

Fancy moving to soho and then complaining about the late night noise. It's like moving to Hounslow and being shocked by the planes.

I'm sure your friends would have been perfectly happy in Chelsea, St John's Wood, Clerkenwell or any of the other central(ish) London areas.

As i said, almost noone actually lives in the West End.

Edited by gadget
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Very different in Henry James's time too. Even 20 years ago zone 1 seemed a lot nicer. The overcrowding on the tube is significantly worse last 5 years I think and many tourist sites like the British museum are now mobbed even on weekdays. From a living point of view, factor in a heftly premium on plumbing/other trades prices plus childcare and related stuff and in fact most things. Two people I know moved in from suburbs 5 or so yrs ago bought small flats in soho/covent garden. One driven out by incessant noise from clubs etc (rubbish lorries do their rounds from 3am to pick up empties from pubs and restaurants, noise needs to be heard to be believed when they up-end a bin full of those). Another mugged and decided to call it a day (there is a lot of street crime in the west end).

The thing is people assume its desirable just because prices are so high but as we know the latter is largely because wealthy non residents are using properties to park cash and in fact they represent v poor value for money IMO as just someplace to live.

Yes, it's as though one section of the population agreed to vote for a candidate if they were bribed with free transport in London. Which is a god damn fortune BTW.

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Your aquaintences are idiots.

Fancy moving to soho and then complaining about the late night noise. It's like moving to Hounslow and being shocked by the planes.

I'm sure your friends would have been perfectly happy in Chelsea, St John's Wood, Clerkenwell or any of the other central(ish) London areas.

As i said, almost noone actually lives in the West End.

Yep, there are several rather nice residential areas in central London, although obviously nowadays they're too expensive for anyone apart from very rich people.

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Yep, there are several rather nice residential areas in central London, although obviously nowadays they're too expensive for anyone apart from very rich people.

Yes, I'd probably put Pimlico as a well-desired place to live. Even though I've heard there's a lot of people-trafficking takes place in that area... and that spy death doesn't augur well either. But it seems like one of the nicer places to live in central parts.

Edited by Trampa501
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Your aquaintences are idiots.

Fancy moving to soho and then complaining about the late night noise. It's like moving to Hounslow and being shocked by the planes.

I'm sure your friends would have been perfectly happy in Chelsea, St John's Wood, Clerkenwell or any of the other central(ish) London areas.

As i said, almost noone actually lives in the West End.

I live in the West End, about 200 yards from Piccadilly Circus and work in a busy GP practice, with far too many (all local) patients, with high densities of people living in Soho, Chinatown, Fitzrovia and Covent Garden.

I walk everywhere and find living in zone 1 no more expensive compared to East finchley and Golders Green, where I used to live. Mainly because the differential in rental prices between zone 1 and zone 5, for instance, is tiny compared to the differential in sales prices. No need for a car, which is actually a nuisance, and you learn to frequent non-tourist shops/area/restaurants/streets and family-based businesses with large improvements in quality of life. As well as the fact you can rent from a professional company (in my case shaftesbury plc) rather than some paranoid/greedy/emotional/bullying landlord who will throw you out at a moment's notice to install a friend/relative on Housing Benefit, which has happened a couple of times in the past when living further out

:)

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I live in the West End, about 200 yards from Piccadilly Circus and work in a busy GP practice, with far too many (all local) patients, with high densities of people living in Soho, Chinatown, Fitzrovia and Covent Garden.

I stand corrected. It always looked to me mostly retail, offices etc with just a few residential pockets.

In terms of absolute numbers though it must be dwarfted by the more properly residential areas of central london.

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I know a lot of people assume that the more central you live in London, the better...

Surely it's only really the case if you have a lucrative job there?

Otherwise you have to put up with:

i Worse air pollution

ii Worse noise pollution

iii Most things are more expensive

iv Congestion that makes it difficult to drive anywhere

v An overload of tourists especially in summer months

The things that people claim make living in London worthwhile - the shops, the theatre shows, the book shops, the fancy restaurants - are places you can visit on a day trip anyway. Am I missing something?

i & ii) fair enough, unless you're perhaps lucky to live somewhere along the Thames where you might get slightly better air quality.

iii) Food is still same price (Tescos seem same price in London as elsewhere). But to counteract, in general you get a bit more pay working in London.

iv) True, but you don't need a car living in central London so might save yourself a fair bit of money (which you can spend on travel card/extra rent/mortgage lol)

v) Yes, but I'm guessing tourist (in addition to tax payers) are the cash cows for many of the businesses and thus jobs in the area.

I think one of the big advantages of London is the public transport is actually usable and you can get around without a car, and thus don't have to get fleeced quite so badly in petrol costs, road tax, insurance etc..

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If you have a decent job, then living in the centre of London is a great idea. The West end is silly money, but in places like Islington you can get a family house with a decent garden, garage and off street parking for less than a mill. If you work in the city, it is a 20 minute walk to work. Any number of decent restaurants within a few minutes, ditto shops. If you have a bike or moped you can be pretty much anywhere in Zone 1 in 20 minutes. Air pollution - doesn't seem to be a problem, especially since they got rid of the route master buses. Noise? You get worse living in the country as the road speeds are higher.

Downsides - it is a shit place to bring up kids. We got out for exactly that reason.

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You want to live in London? Be my guest. Who am I to tell people where you should live. All I'm saying is you wouldn't get me living in that pretentious overblown expensive shithouse. Just don't all come to live up north and steal all our water.

Edited by The Dude
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When I first graduated I wanted to live in London: there's so much going on. And it wouldn't really be so much more expensive: OK I'd pay more for a flat, but as against that I'd save the cost of running a car which was ... um ... normal for a professional person in the ... um ... provinces? So I got a job in W1, just off Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Street.

It would probably have worked, if the rental floor set by housing benefit hadn't been so much higher than my income. :angry:

I wonder if the information age makes a difference? If I'd had the 'net as we now know it, I'd've been able to check up on the real-life price of a flat and it wouldn't've come as such a shock.

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London rents tend to be quoted per week. That's enough to put me off!!

I suspect the londoners on this thread who say its as cheap to live there really have no idea how much they are paying for housing relative to other cities. I agree with the price of other things though, London isn't much different to other southern cities at least.

There is a buzz for sure, and although it is busy with people there are some wonderful parks where you can get some quiet time. Culture wise I personally think the difference between London and other cities these days is small and getting smaller.

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There are many pros and cons, obviously.

The reasons I lived there were two simple ones;

- I f&&king detest suburbia, and

- If I needed a new job, there were five in central London for every one within a two hour commute of anywhere else

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Yes the job thing too. I have friends who cannot get employment in their chosen field outside of London, such is the way of our society.

P.s. the whole "everywhere outside London is rural or suburbia" is another annoying but endearing trait of londoners.

Edited by Lagarde's Drift
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My friends who live centrally tend to make the most of it, they are always out at bars, clubs and pubs etc, into their music or other "specialist" entertainment. They tend to be the guys who are out drinking most nights and always seem to be hooking up with someone or other.

Not my thing (well it might be if I didn't have kids ;)!), but they seem to be having the time of their lives!

Personally I would recommend the suburbs. I commute in from S. London / Surrey, it's a 30min train ride, 10 min walk at each end. We could afford a decent sized family house here, we can walk to open spaces, we have outstanding primary and secondary schools, low crime rate, good facilities. Jump in the car and you have a load of great family friendly places to visit, or even be at the seaside within an hour! Rail fares are pretty reasonable as long as you are still in the "zone" system.

The down side is getting home after a night out, last train to my station is about 11:30, although I used to be on a line with 24hr trains. But that's not so much of an issue when you have young kids! What surprises me is the people who live in the 'burbs but never venture to central London, why are you here?!

Edited by kazap
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