The national Guardian published a piece on moving to Lancaster last weekend, claiming one local described the town as the "Brighton of the north" (a claim usually reserved for Morecambe, so I imagine Councillor Sands will be having words).
"Lancaster has that right combo of heritage and heresy," wrote Tom Dyckhoff. "It's a much prettier place than you'd think, crowned with the twin confections of a castle and the folly-to-end-all-follies, the Ashton Memorial."
Here at virtual-lancaster we did wonder if he had actually visited at one point, since he seems to have missed the fact that Lancaster now has two universities, not one (St. Martins now re-branded as the University of Cumbria), and the Morecambe gaffe was pretty stupid. However, he soon put our minds at rest: despite noting Lancaster is well connected, he despaired of the one way system, a sure sign of the unwary casual visitor who arrived by car.
"How the devil do you get out of it?" Tom wailed. "We were shuffling round the ring road in terminal traffic for an eternity. The centre may have its highlights, but it can suffer from the old provincial dreariness."
Didn't you know this was a Cycling Town, Tom? Or perhaps you should have come by public transport?
Places to move to? Tom suggests southside near the university, Haverbreaks, "and close to Williamson Park, with great views. Aldcliffe, too, near the canal. Primrose and Freehold for lovely, cheap, sandstone terraces."
Of course, you'll have to find an estate agent that's still open to buy a house from, given the departure of Reeds Rains and the Halifax from our streets, and the fact that some agents are on part time weeks right now thanks to a very quiet housing market. So take these suggested Market values with a pinnch of salt: Detacheds, £280,000 - £420,000, but up to £800,000 on the swankier fringes. Semis, £120,000-£260,000. Town houses, £230,000-£400,000. Terraces from £95,000, larger terraces from £150,000 up to £220,000. Two-bed flats, £90,000-£220,000 for swanky warehousey ones.
• Read the Guardian article