ONCE HACKNEY was reviled as one of the Crap Towns in books of that name. This week it’s named one of the 100 best places to live in Britain.
True, it comes last, yet the area that was notorious for a hospital A and E department “worse than Soweto’s”, burglary 11 times the national average and spiralling investigations into council corruption is now seen as a “textbook example of gentrification”.
The borough is a “go-to destination” for the middle class, although it keeps its hipster edge, which cuts sharpest in “artsy and vibrant Dalston”.
The list comments: “You can raise a family and enjoy park life, but keep the urban cool.”
Education has improved since the last Labour government privatised it 10 years ago, and though it is now back in council hands, semi-autonomous schools such as Mossbourne and City academies have attracted children who would previously have been sent to another borough at secondary stage, says the list.
Citing Victoria Park and London Fields, it adds that green space is a benefit, and that Victoria Park Village and Broadway Market are good for independent shops and foodie haunts.
The obvious downside is that as soon an area is praised by a list-maker, in this case in The Sunday Times, property-owners and estate agents will start drooling. And, as the list notes, prices are already high (Loving Dalston would say out of control).
Four-bedroom family houses near the parks sell for between £1.3 million and £1.6 million.
Top place to live, incidentally, is Skipton, in rustic North Yorkshire.
Hamish Scott 160314
* Main picture shows Broadway Market.
* Emboldened underscored words in most cases indicate a hyperlink, a reader service rare among websites. If a link does not work, it is probably because the site to which the URL refers has not been maintained.