Developing

Do you live in a 'crap town'? Prepare to be surprised by the latest nominations for the dubious honour

Shakespeare's birthplace and David Cameron's home town shock entries in the longlist...

To some, they are towns that imbue a sense of pride in their historic: cobbled streets, stone cottages and bijou restaurants.

But to others they are simply rubbish.

That’s the conclusion residents of some surprisingly well-heeled places have made after suggesting their hometown be included in the new book Crap Towns Returns.

Among a list of 100, which online voters will whittle down to a top 50 ahead of the October publication of the third in the 'Crap Towns' series, are Chipping Norton, York, Bury St Edmunds, Leamington Spa and Stratford-upon-Avon.

Of course, the more obvious hardy perennials of urban decay, such as 'Smackhead-on-Sea' (one resident's moniker for Rhyl) and Southampton – a 'cultureless abyss with amenities and nightlife that make Chelmsford look like New York,' according to one disaffected denizen – dominate this register of allegedly rubbish places.

View of Rhyl in Wales

But it is the more genteel, affluent towns featuring on the 'crap map' that will turn heads and lead to lattes being spilt.

Perhaps the contender likeliest to send a collective shudder down the spines of Middle England is Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire.

The quaint Cotswolds town is home to the so-called Chipping Norton Set, a group of chums who also happen to be among the most powerful political and media figures.

Among their members are Prime Minister David Cameron, the hated former News International boss Rebekah Brooks and Top Gear loudmouth Jeremy Clarkson.

And that, it seems, is the main problem some residents have.

Daniel Layte, writing on the Crap Towns website, complains: "It’s a pretty place but a microcosm of everything that is wrong with the country, now with extra expensive cheese."

Sam Jordison, the co-author of the now decade-old Crap Towns series, told Yahoo! News: "Chipping Norton sums up anger about cuts, the Coalition government and the phone hacking scandal. It is also highlights Britain’s inequality.

"For example, when I visited I went to a shop called Dalesford Organics.

"It’s meant to be about wholesome, ecological living, but the costs of many things are way beyond what most people can afford.

"For example, I saw a garden urn there on sale for £14,000.

"And most of the customers I saw drove Range Rovers and you can only get there by car, which sort of blows a hole in the whole environmentally-friendly theme."

A wintry scene in Chipping Norton (Rex)

Not every resident agrees that Chippy, as it is known to locals, should be listed among the worst towns in Britain. But few seem willing to wholeheartedly praise it either.

Beryl McNamara, 77, whose late husband Terrence set up the Wychward Place Residents Association in Chipping Norton, said: "I’ve lived in better towns. I used to live in Gerard’s Cross in Buckinghamshire.

"It’s fair to say we don’t have the best shops. For clothes or furniture I have to go elsewhere.

"But there are many good things, such as nice restaurants and the theatre is great.

"Also people are nice, we’re surrounded by lovely countryside and the house prices are reasonable.

"It is touristy but it is more of a working town than some other, smaller places in the Cotswolds, such as Bourton-on-the-Water and Moreton-in-Marsh.

"That said, if I could afford it, I would move back to Gerard’s Cross."

Also among the trashed towns that might surprise its inhabitants- and the millions of tourists who flock to the city each year – is York.

The Shambles at Christmas in York

Although the reasons some residents dislike it might be considered a bit odd.

Dave Lynot complains about museums that 'dice on the edge of credibility'.

He notes with particular disgust one devoted to quilts 'which makes no attempt to explain the meaning of the word "tog"'.

But councillor Sonja Crisp, of York District Council, told us: "York has been named as one of the best and most beautiful cities to live in.

"I have to agree and I’m not alone: over seven million visitors decide to come and enjoy our city every year and we’re a fast-growing city because people want to live here.

"Don’t take the naysayers’ word for it: come and make up your own mind."

Another shortlisted 'crap' town that will no doubt have its residents raging in their Range Rovers is bucolic Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.

The Cornhill Shopping Centre in Bury St.Edmunds in Suffolk

Writing on the Crap Towns Returns website, Andrew Martin grumbles that the 'pavements are covered in wonky paving slabs' and 'the kids have nothing to do'. And as for the adults, well they apparently 'fill their time with petty squabbles'.

He adds: "To top it all, a huge sugar beet factory looms above the skyline and every so often (normally on a lovely sunny day) emits a cloying, sickly stench over the town like a shimmering shroud of doom."

But Dr Alaric Pugh, a Tory member on St Edmundsbury District Council and responsible for tourism strategy, told us: "I think anyone suggesting Bury St Edmunds is one of the worst towns in Britain is being mischievous. It’s a real gem of a town.

"I would like to point out that we have just been cited by English Heritage as the exemplar of what a modern town should be.

"It has great history, is very attractive and it combines all this well with modern amenities.

"I am familiar with the smell of the sugar beet factory that some people complain of, but I really don’t think it’s that much of a problem."

Jordison, who was inspired by his 'gloomy' hometown of Morecambe to begin the series, says a lot has changed since Hull topped the first list in 2003, followed by Luton in 2004.

He and co-writer Dan Kieran have noted how much praise places like Liverpool – which a decade ago was hugely criticised - now receive.

Jordison said: "Since then lot of towns and cities have improved their streets and environments – and I hope we and our readers might have had a positive impact.

"The main reason why we do this, though, is to give local people a voice about the true nature of their towns because other media often provide a rose-tinted view.

"Some people might think some of the places on the list are surprising, but they really just reflect people’s honest opinions."

Here's the 'hot 100' in alphabetical order:

1.    Aberdeen
2.    Antrim
3.    Bacup
4.    Banbury
5.    Barnsley
6.    Bedford
7.    Belfast
8.    Bicester
9.    Blackburn
10.    Blackpool
11.    Boston
12.    Bradford
13.    Brighton
14.    Broxburn
15.    Burnham Market
16.    Bury St Edmunds
17.    Calais
18.    Camberley
19.    Castleford
20.    Chipping Norton
21.    Chorley
22.    Coventry
23.    Craven Arms
24.    Crawley
25.    Croydon
26.    Dagenham
27.    Derby
28.    Doncaster
29.    Dudley
30.    Dufftown
31.    Dundee
32.    Dursley
33.    Easington
34.    Felixstowe
35.    Fort William
36.    Four Marks
37.    Garstang
38.    Gateshead
39.    Gibraltar
40.    Glastonbury
41.    Great Yarmouth
42.    Grimsby
43.    Hackney
44.    Hartlepool
45.    Hatfield
46.    Haverhill
47.    Haworth
48.    High Wycombe
49.    Hull
50.    Huntingdon
51.    Ilfracombe
52.    Jarrow
53.    Jaywick
54.    Kilmarnock
55.    Leamington Spa
56.    Lewes
57.    Lincoln
58.    Liverpool
59.    London
60.    Loughborough
61.    Louth
62.    Lowestoft
63.    Luton
64.    Maidenhead
65.    Medway towns
66.    Merther Tydfil
67.    Milton Keynes
68.    Morecambe
69.    Newhaven
70.    Newquay
71.    Newton Stewart
72.    Nuneaton
73.    Oxford
74.    Peterlee
75.    Plymouth
76.    Pontefract
77.    Poole
78.    Portsmouth
79.    Rhyl
80.    Scarborough
81.    Sheerness
82.    Sheffield
83.    Slough
84.    Southampton
85.    Southport
86.    Stafford
87.    Staines
88.    Stockton-upon-Tees
89.    Stoke On Trent
90.    Stratford-Upon-Avon
91.    Swansea
92.    Thetford
93.    Thurso
94.    Tilston
95.    Warrington
96.    Woking
97.    Woodstock
98.    Worksop
99.    Wrexham
100.    York

*To vote for your town, go to the Crap Towns website

*Crap Towns Returns: Back By Unpopular Demand will go on sale in October
POLL
Loading...
Poll Choice Options