PROUD Staffordians will find out on Thursday if their home has landed a place in a new book of “crap towns”.
When writers of Crap Towns Returns announced in July that Stafford was in the “long list” of towns and cities being considered for the book the news sparked fierce debate in the county town.
The long list of 100 has now been whittled down to 50, which will be revealed when the book is published by Quercus.
Stafford has missed out on a spot in the “top 10”, which was announced last week. But nearby Stoke on Trent was not so lucky, entering the chart at number 10.
Nuneaton has come in at number eight, while Coventry was number seven and York number five. London took the top spot.
The book, which hits stores on Thursday, is described as “the genuinely rough guide to Britain”. Previous titles in the series – Crap Towns and Crap Towns II - featured tales of unsightly architecture and unsavoury encounters with locals in 50 locations. Wolverhampton earned a place in one of the earlier editions, but has not featured in this year’s long list.
In July residents including Paul Milgate contacted the Newsletter to defend the town against the dubious honour, highlighting historical gems such as the Ancient High House and beauty spots including Victoria Park as plus points, alongside the friendliness of locals.
But others suggested that traffic problems, the “proliferation” of advertising boards in the town centre and the decay of some of Stafford’s historic buildings had contributed to its inclusion on the crap towns list.
Stafford Borough Council also stepped onto the battlefield.
Councillor Mike Smith, deputy leader of the borough council, said the list was nonsense. “First of all, Stafford is not crap,” he said.
“But I don't think anyone takes this sort of book seriously. Although to be on a list with the likes of Oxford, York andStratford upon Avon is never usually a bad thing.
“Whenever I chat to shoppers in the square who are from outside the area the comment I often hear is ‘we come toStafford because there is always something going on’.”