Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Initial assessment

Now this is interesting, to me anyway.

I've made a list - off the top of my head, before I seriously get down to any proper research - of which aspects of my everyday local life matter to me personally. This is for my Sussex home village (but including the facilities of nearby towns, including Brighton), Salisbury in Wiltshire (where I am right now), and my target location to move to in North Devon (probably Northam, just outside Bideford).

It won't be everyone's list. I'm not concerned about jobs and schools for children, for example. I have given each aspect a score from 3 down to 0, where 3 means 'very good for this', 2 means 'averagely good', 1 means 'somewhat deficient', and 0 means 'poor, or this doesn't exist'.

Here's how it comes out.

Making new friends
Sussex 0
Wiltshire 2
North Devon 3
I can't (because of M---'s presence) get involved in the things going on in my village. So the chances of forming new friendships there are virtually nil. Brighton is a big place, with the usual big-city problems for individuals looking for fresh company. Salisbury and its surroundings have better prospects for making new connections.

Distance from family and existing friends
Sussex 2
Wiltshire 1
North Devon 0
Except for my Brighton friends, I am not geographically close to anyone at present. Moving to North Devon would make matters rather worse for those in the South East, better for the others.

Road connections
Sussex 2
Wiltshire 3
North Devon 2
Sussex is a bit isolated from the rest of the country, London being in the way. North Devon, though far to the west, is in fact easier to reach. Wiltshire is in the best position for access from every direction.

Public transport
Sussex 2
Wiltshire 2
North Devon 1
Rail services in Sussex and Wiltshire are good or even wonderful, but local bus services are not convenient where I am. Buses in North Devon are good or very good in the Bideford-Barnstaple area, and the rail link to Exeter is useful.

Local social activities
Sussex 0
Wiltshire 2
North Devon 3
This parallels the 'making new friends' aspect.

Local cultural activities
Sussex 2
Wiltshire 1
North Devon 1
Sussex has Glyndebourne and the universities at Brighton. It's well-endowed with culture, and the treasures of London are within easy reach. Wiltshire less so. North Devon has artists and writers and musicians, but no major museums or galleries.

Eating out
Sussex 3
Wiltshire 2
North Devon 1
All three areas have some great dining pubs. But only Sussex has the supremely wide choice to be found in Brighton. North Devon has fewer big-spending residents and can't support many fine dining places.

Medical services
Sussex 3
Wiltshire 3
North Devon 2
In North Devon there is just the big hospital at Barnstaple. I think that some specialist treatments would be at Exeter, an hour away at least. I am not yet sure whether I could find a local GP group practice that would be just as supportive of my particular medical needs.

Supermarkets
Sussex 3
Wiltshire 3
North Devon 3
No issues here. In North Devon I'd have a very good Morrisons nearby, and Barnstaple has all the main supermarkets.

Other shopping - smart clothes and quality home furnishings
Sussex 3
Wiltshire 3
North Devon 2
North Devon is not such a consciously smart or stylish place as Wiltshire or Sussex. The attitude is more laid-back: you can get away with surfing or rambling wear for almost any ordinary occasion. People dress themselves and their homes more casually. I would hope to get involved in some things that required a good standard of personal appearance, so scope for buying nice clothes would remain important. It's all available at Exeter, of course.

Coastal scenery
Sussex 1
Wiltshire 0
North Devon 3
North Devon wins hands down.

Inland scenery
Sussex 2
Wiltshire 2
North Devon 3
Each area has something special. Chalk downland in Sussex and Wiltshire. North Devon has hills, lush valleys - and Exmoor.

Freedom from the pull of London
Sussex 0
Wiltshire 1
North Devon 3
Presently I live in the London Commuter Belt. I don't like it. It affects everyone's lifestyle and attitude. The further away from London, the less traffic congestion, the less stress, and the greater sense of peace and repose.

Effect on my financial position
Sussex 1
Wiltshire 2
North Devon 3
A move to North Devon would free up capital, and give me an increased income if I had enough left over to buy more State Pension.

Head appeal
Sussex 3
Wiltshire 2
North Devon 2

Heart appeal
Sussex 0
Wiltshire 2
North Devon 3

And the overall scores:

Sussex 27
Wiltshire 31
North Devon 35


As I say, this is an initial assessment. And I am giving each aspect equal weight, which isn't quite realistic! North Devon is however the clear winner, and scores 30% more than Sussex does. Is that enough to warrant a Westward Move? Would weighting each aspect profoundly alter this first appraisal? I will be pondering these things.

2 comments:

  1. Please may I make a bid to increase North Devon's score on Distance from... existing friends to "1"? 2¼ hours travelling seems a lot but I've a feeling that we would see more of each other. We might even meet half way - perhaps the Mendips.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think I can agree to that, Angie!

    Lucy

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