BEST PLACES TO LIVE 2019

Pleased to see Stroud mentioned again in a ‘best places to live’ list – this time for the Sunday Times, April 2019.

My personal view is that part of being a Member of Parliament, political candidate and local politician is being an area’s biggest champion on top of being public servants for everybody that lives here. It is therefore a great joy for me to see Stroud receive recognition and national newspapers champion the place too.

The note that the Times included to explain their decision is below.

’Not everyone is sipping absinthe or the latest cold-press here, but Stroud really is the bohemian capital of the Cotswolds – and everybody’s welcome. With a sizeable community of artists, musicians, authors and, increasingly, creative entrepreneurs, the Stroud Valley is reluctant to bow the the Establishment. There’s a strong history of protest here, dating back to the riots of 1825. Threatened trees still stand, as do the maternity hospital and Uplands post office; and, this year, hundreds of pupils joined global protests against inaction on climate change. Stroud’s green credentials – its organic cafe, Woodruffs, was the first in the country when it opened more than 20 years ago – may only be let down by the need for a car.

Everyone converges on the Saturday Farmers’ market, which is one of the biggest and best, with ceramics and artisans’ stalls as well as amazing cheese and other food, not to mention banter and musical accompaniment. Stroud has also become a festival town, with fringe, film, book, folk and sacred music events adding to the colourful Stroud Wassail in January. In fact, there’s so much going on that the town needs a monthly magazine, Good on Paper. It’s free, but deliberately not online, to “encourage our readers to visit the venues, shops, galleries, cafes and pubs that stock it”.

Education here gets top marks for all ages: the town’s two grammars, Stroud High (girls) and Marling (boys), make the top 150 in our Parent Power league table, and the local University of the Third Age has 50 groups. Best address: Hilltop houses on Rodborough Common.
Why we love it: Loud, Proud and Stroud’