Why it's time to move to Royston
PUBLISHED: 08:33 29 October 2010 | UPDATED: 18:05 20 February 2013
A real community spirit and a wealth of amenities and events make Royston an increasingly popular town, as Pat Bramley learns
If ever there was a town with a Can Do philosophy, its Royston on the Hertfordshire/Cambridgeshire border. Unlike places where improvements are shelved until a grant from the government foots the bill, local businesses in Royston have agreed to stump up an extra two per cent on top of the rateable value of their premises specifically to improve local amenities and ensure the town centre attracts trade by making the most of its many assets.
Within the first three months of dibbing into the central pot to fund extra police patrols last year, crime figures fell by 25 per cent. Other initiatives ranged from placing attractive screens in front of empty shops and finding ways to stop pigeons roosting in the high street.
Among future plans is a proposal to raid the kitty to give shoppers half an hours free stay in town centre car parks after 3pm each day. Even more ambitious is a suggestion by local business leaders to open a community cinema in the town hall. One way or another, its safe to say, move to Royston and youll be going places.
Road: A1M, M11, A11, A10 and A14 are all either close or reasonably close.
Rail: Royston is on the mainline into Kings Cross. Six miles away theres a service into Liverpool Street from Whittlesford Station.
Air: Stansted is a 20 minutes drive down the road.
Royston has four first schools, two middle schools and a Roman Catholic primary, so plenty of choice in the state sector for families with young children. For 13 to 18-year-olds, The Meridian School has specialist maths and computing status.
On her website, Royston born and bred Alison Balsom, internationally acclaimed trumpet soloist voted Female Artist of the Year at last years Classical Brit Awards, pays particular tribute to the music teachers who taught her at Tannery Drift First School and Greneway Middle School. This year the 32-year-old musician who was one of the soloists at the Last Night of the Proms in 2009 is honorary president of Royston Arts Festival from September 23-26.
LEISURE AND SHOPPING
Roystons historic heritage is the pride of the town, not that the area and all it offers to residents havent moved with the times.
For a town only nine miles from Cambridge it has so many advantages for those who revel in whats available on their own doorstep: good shops, a twice-weekly charter market, a state-of-the-art leisure centre, wonderful museum and art gallery, successful football team, a wildlife park and Therfield Heath covering 420 acres.
Thats just for starters. Theres always something to get you out of the house whether its the May fayre, the summer kite festival, the September art and music festival.
Its not pie in the sky to say this is a town which one day may be as well known throughout the world as Bayeux and for just such a reason.
For more than 15 years, volunteer embroiderers have been working on The Royston Tapestry, a fabric which when it is finished will be 110ft long. It depicts scenes from the past drawn by local artists in a frame designed and constructed in 1993 by a trustee of the local museum. The needleworkers are using stitches and wools similar to those used in the famous tapestry. Already the Royston work has been on display in cultural centres to critical acclaim.
HOW MUCH TO LIVE HERE
Expect to pay from 130,000 for a flat in the town centre but youll need at least 150,000 for a two-bedroom pad in a newish block.
Buyers from London and Cambridge tend to be pleasantly surprised by how much they can get for their money.
In Royston itself and the pretty villages surrounding the town theres a mixture of property styles ranging from the oldest buildings built in the 15th and 16th centuries through to Victorian and Edwardian houses and modern developments.
Four-bedroom family homes in central locations close to a station fetch upwards from 500,000 but a million is more the mark for larger residences with land in the villages.