They keep coming and even the council doesn’t stop them


I did wonder about writing a column this week, given the altogether less light-hearted “Down from London” story a few days ago.

I’m not really sure how a council with a housing crisis has managed to allow some perfectly good homes to go to families shipped in from London.

I’m certainly not able to make any humorous observations, as it seems to be either astonishing incompetence, or just a complete lack of concern for struggling local people.

Or both.

The more I discover about Canterbury the more I keep bumping up against the realisation that it is a wonderful area, spectacularly ill-served by its council. Maybe, after I’ve lived here long enough, I’ll start voting for the same people over and over, every few years, in the hope that they might be better next time.

I’ve not been entirely put off by the council, even they can’t ruin it for me. In fact, I seem to have become a bit of an advocate for the area. That’s right, we’re actively trying to convince our friends to move down from London.

This is exactly what many of you fear: one DFL will surely bring more, until the whole place is full of us. I’m not sure I’m that much of a draw, but one of my greatest pleasures is showing off where I live to visitors.

Just recently we had friends down and, after they’d finished being amazed that we had a garden and both floors of a house, we were faced with the usual choice: A walk in Blean woods, a trip to the seaside, or maybe a stroll around the city and a pub lunch – and those were just the first few that sprung to mind.

We decided to take a trip to the sea and headed off to Tankerton. You see an almost physical change in Londoners down for the day; the hard-metropolitan carapace falls away, the eyes gain a little sparkle, and they even seem to grow a few inches. Especially when strolling in the early spring sunshine on the way to Whitstable.

As we sat with our beers and oysters, it felt like we were on holiday, if only for a few hours. Of course, it had to end, and our guests started the long journey back to the big smoke, whilst we pootled off home in time for tea.

It’s not like this every day naturally, but it is often enough. But I’m not sure that it’s the sea, the oysters, the countryside, or any of the other great things about the area…it’s that we don’t have to go back.

I loved London, and lived there for a long time, but I much prefer to visit it now, then come home. And home it is, I’m pleased to say.

By the way, we’ve not managed to convince anyone to move down yet, and I’m not sure why. Maybe they’ve read about the council?


  1. You really have to get over it. Being a Londoner in Canterbury is not particularly special. Canterbury has residents who have come from all over the country, indeed, all over the world. It has a huge international student population and all this combines to make it the fascinating, vibrant place to live. So when a London resident comes here, good. Providing newcomers join in, take a good look round and realise that every city seems to have an incompetent self-serving bunch of councillors at the helm, all will be well. Just don’t think your neighbours as country bumpkins, and all that is London is superior. Remember, it was Londoners who voted Boris Johnson as mayor….

  2. I remember reading and article once where a pilgrim arrived at a town and asked an old man what the occupants were like “how did you find them where you came from” came the reply. Oh they were miserable, grumpy and never did anthing for the good of others” ” Likekly youll find the folk here the same then” the old man replied. Pehaps this article says more about you than the indiginous population.


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