Garstang was in a state of shock today after being nominated amongst the UK’s worst places to live.
Residents of the double Britain in Bloom winner admitted they were “horrified” to learn their picturesque home had been named on a list of 100 “c**p” towns for inclusion in a new book.
“Your heart just sinks when you hear something like this,” said jeweller Damien Carr of Garstang Chamber of Trade. “We are really trying our best and then you get someone saying really hateful and spiteful things. Obviously they don’t know what they are talking about. They can’t have visited our lovely town.”
Garstang sits alongside such tourism hotspots as Jarrow, Doncaster, Dagenham and Gateshead in the list suggested by the public. Blackburn, Blackpool, Chorley, Bacup, Morecambe and Southport are also up for consideration as author Sam Jordison tries to whittle it down to 50 before publishing “C**p Towns Returns” in October. His previous two books caused outrage as they poured scorn on villages, towns and cities around Britain.
In the first edition “C**p Towns – The 50 Worst Places To Live In The UK,” published in 2003, Morecambe came third. A year later the sequel “C**p Towns – The Nation Decides,” placed Preston 30th. Now, after a gap of nine years, “C**p Towns Returns” – described as a Doomsday Book of misery – will produce a brand new list of places based on readers’ grim recommendations. I can’t believe it,” said a spokesman for tourism group Visit Garstang. “We get nothing but compliments from people who come here. They say it is one of the loveliest places they have been to. I’ve never heard anyone say anything derogatory about Garstang. In fact it is always the complete opposite.”
Author Sam, a journalist with the Guardian, admitted there was more than a little tongue in cheek about the whole enterprise. Surprisingly, he hails from Cockerham, just five miles up the road from Garstang. He admits he knows the town well.
“I’ve always quite liked Garstang,” he revealed. “But it’s not me who judges the towns. It’s based on nominations from members of the public.
“People write in and we’ve certainly had a few comments about Garstang. I agree that as a survey it’s pretty unscientific and it’s not the most comprehensive. But what it does do is give a real glimpse into people’s opinions. There is something genuine there, there’s real feeling. It’s a good way of telling the truth that doesn’t really get spoken.
“But c**p doesn’t mean it is necessarily a dump. Chipping Norton isn’t a dump either and that is in the list, even though it’s affluent and quite pretty.”
With several weeks of voting to go, Sam admits he is sworn to secrecy about which 50 will make it. He hinted Garstang could escape, saying: “Things aren’t looking too bad.”