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Fram named nation's best place to live

PUBLISHED: 08:41 11 August 2006 | UPDATED: 16:57 25 February 2010

Celebrating Framlingham's best town in Britain award by Countrylife Magazine are (left to right) Tony Baldwin, Crime Prevention Panel, Tracy Clifford of the Crown Hotel, Eileen Coe, Town Clerk, Rev Graham Owen of St Michaels Church, Bill Bulstrode and Ste

Celebrating Framlingham's best town in Britain award by Countrylife Magazine are (left to right) Tony Baldwin, Crime Prevention Panel, Tracy Clifford of the Crown Hotel, Eileen Coe, Town Clerk, Rev Graham Owen of St Michaels Church, Bill Bulstrode and Ste

WITH its 12th Century castle, picturesque mere and medieval parish church, there is plenty to admire about Framlingham.

And now the Suffolk market town has further reason to boast - after it was voted as the best place to live in Britain.

Framlingham Castle

WITH its 12th Century castle, picturesque mere and medieval parish church, there is plenty to admire about Framlingham.

And now the Suffolk market town has further reason to boast - after it was voted as the best place to live in Britain.

According to the Country Life magazine, Framlingham is the “essence of the English market town”, steeped in history, with good schools and thriving shops.

The town beat Presteigne, in Powys, into second place and Beverley, in East Yorkshire, into third to secure the title. The award comes four years after it was placed ninth in a similar poll, topped by Alnwick, in Northumberland.

A view from interior walls of Framlingham Castle

Community leaders in Framlingham spoke last night of their delight - and surprise - at the honour.

Syd Vice, 70, chairman of Framlingham Gala, worked in the town for 50 years and has been involved in the sporting community for a similar length of time.

He said: “I think it's a good place to live. I've never wanted to live or work anywhere else.

“Whether it's the best place to live in the UK, I wouldn't like to say but it's flattering to receive this recognition.

A view of Castle Street in Framlingham

“It has everything here if anyone wants to get involved with sports and it's a nice tidy town. There's a good community and a good spirit. There are still a lot of volunteers who do a lot of work for people in the community.”

The Rev Graham Owen, priest in charge of St Michael's Church, Framlingham, said it was the people who hold the key to the town's enduring appeal.

He said: “It seems to me the important thing about Framlingham is that it's a proper community.

“I think it's got something to do with being the right size and that seems to work. There are a lot of people who look after each other and it's very good in that respect.”

Eileen Coe, Framlingham town clerk, agreed with the ranking.

She said: “We're a small market town and that makes us quite unique really.

“You get to know people. It's not like it is in big towns, where quite often people don't know their neighbours.

“We've got everything here that you could want. We've got a castle, a beautiful church and a thriving twice-weekly market.”

Country Life editor Clive Aslet picked the UK's top 10 small towns and asked Suffolk Coastal MP John Gummer, also chairman of the Conservative Party's Quality of Life Commission, to add his comments. Here is what they said about Framlingham:

Mr Aslet: “You don't have to be in Framlingham for very long to realise it is a much-loved town. The lettering of notices around the town is carefully considered, the Co-op supermarket is so cleverly tucked away that only the locals know of its existence. This was an important place in the Tudor period. The Dukes of Norfolk were buried in the Church of St Michael, and it was at Framlingham Castle that Mary Tudor rallied her forces to prevent Lady Jane Grey usurping the throne.

“Not a lot has happened since. However, good schools - private Framlingham College, and the model comprehensive, Thomas Mills High School, which has the best reputation in Suffolk - ensure that it remains vibrant, and Goodbrey Antiques in Double Street is not to be missed.”

Mr Gummer: “Framlingham is the essence of the English market town, presided over by its castle, ennobled by its medieval parish church, enlivened by its market and its thriving shops. There is no better small town in England.”

Population: About 3,000

Average house prices in 2006: Detached £305,147; semi-detached £175,142; terrace £147,366.

There has been a market in Framlingham since 1270, now held on Tuesday and Saturdays.

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