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Southampton ranked 4th in latest edition of book
But all of that has not stopped Southampton being named the fourth “crappest” town in the UK in a new book.
Crap Towns Returns, which is published this week, ranks only Chipping Norton, Bradford and top city London above Southampton on its list of the worst towns and cities in the country.
It is the third in a series of books edited by Sam Jordison and Dan Kieran, although Southampton did not make it onto the shortlist for either 2003’s Crap Towns or 2004’s Crap Towns II.
The authors produce their list following nominations from the public, based on interviews with residents and take in data including house prices, crime statistics, transport and other factors.
The six-page entry on Southampton described it as a “cultureless abyss with amenities and nightlife that make Chelmsford look like New York.”
It was partially written by Southampton-born journalist Owen Hatherley, who wrote: “Over the last 25 years it has built one giant mall after another, each bigger and more hideous than the last, until finally WestQuay ate most of the city centre, which is now a continuous strip of chain pubs.”
He added: “So what do the people who grew up in the place do? They get out, if they can – and if they can’t, they fight each other, in a small city that has a level of violent crime close to that of Manchester.”
Mr Jordison, a freelance journalist and publisher, said the book was “mainly tongue in cheek”, while some of the sections were “exaggerated for effect”. But, he added: “At the same time they are based on the opinions of people who wouldn’t write to us unless they honestly had something to get off their chest.
“Southampton got a lot of attention this time, lots of people wrote in about the city, and while some of them spoke up for Southampton therewas an awful lot of complaining as well. WestQuay is very controversial, while somebody called Southampton the ‘biggest small town in the country’.
“There was also the lack of cultural amenities, the retail parks, the tower blocks and people who said that it’s a cruise port which has nothing for the people coming off the ships.”
“It reads as though it was written by someone who hasn’t really ever been to Southampton, and certainly hasn’t spoken to local people.
“The best thing about Southampton is the people, who make the city such a friendly place to live, but there are also the fantastic achievements in the city, whether it’s the invention of optical fibres at the university, a successful port or a fantastic Premier League football club.”
In 2003, when the original list was compiled Southampton didn't make the top 50, while Winchester and Basingstoke were both among the 10 worst, with Portsmouth in 11th.
The Top Ten Crap Towns 2013
1 - London
2 - Bradford
3 - Chipping Norton
4 - Southampton
5 - York
6 - Gibraltar
7 - Coventry
8 - Nuneaton
9 - High Wycombe
10 - Stoke-on-Trent
Previous top tens:
1 - Luton
2 - Windsor
3 - Sunderland
4 - Glasgow and Edinburgh
6 - Clapham
7 - Bath
8 - Nottingham
9 - Corby
10 - Middlesbrough
1 - Hull
2 - Cumbernauld
3 - Morecambe
4 - Hythe (Kent)
5 - Winchester
6 - Liverpool
7 - St Andrews
8 - Bexhill-on-Sea
9 - Basingstoke
10 - Hackney
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