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Basingstoke avoids Crap Towns tag
THE GAZETTE has been proclaiming that Basingstoke is A Place to be Proud of for a decade – and the town has now shaken off an unwanted tag.
Amazingstoke has – thankfully – missed out on the dubious honour of being listed as one of the 50 worst towns in Britain.
A book set to be published in October, called Crap Towns Returns, will list the worst towns to live in as voted for by disgruntled people across Britain.
The publishers, Quercus Publishing, along with editors Sam Jordison and Dan Kieran, are currently whittling down a shortlist of 100 towns and cities, which includes places as diverse as Aberdeen, Belfast, Blackpool, Liverpool, Merthyr Tydfil and London.
Closer to home, Portsmouth and Southampton are contenders, as well as Four Marks and Camberley.
The book follows Crap Towns: The 50 Worst Places To Live In The UK, first published in 2003, which ranked Basingstoke in ninth place.
After that book was published, Gazette editor Mark Jones – who just days before had launched the paper’s Basingstoke A Place to Be Proud of campaign – invited the authors to come and see Basingstoke for themselves.
Joined by then borough mayor Councillor Gerry Traynor and council leader Cllr Rob Donnelly, the pair went on a tour of the town – and they warmed to the place and people they met.
The humorous book, published in association with The Idler magazine, sold more than 120,000 copies, with Hull earning the title of Britain's Crappiest Town.
“To be honest, I had expected a few more nominations for Basingstoke this time,” quipped Sam, referring to the 2013 book.
He admitted the lack of criticism might be an endorsement that Basingstoke is not such a bad place.
However, he said: “It might just be that fewer people were motivated to nominate this time.
“It would be interesting to do a survey about how much residents like the town. It certainly has its good side, but it isn't the prettiest place on the planet either.”
Recalling his tour of the town in 2003, Sam said: “I remember the visit well and enjoyed it immensely. And we did get to see the brighter side of Basingstoke. I also remember meeting some teenagers who told us they hated the place, so we got a good mix of opinion.”
Sam added: “I'd always be willing to come back to Basingstoke and see more.”
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