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Last Updated: Sunday, 22 October 2006, 14:30 GMT 15:30 UK
Hackney hits back at 'TV snobs'
Hackney Town Hall
Hackney's mayor is striking back at its critics
Hackney has accused television producers of "middle class snobbery" as it hit back at a survey branding it the worst place to live in the UK.

The London borough came bottom in the Channel 4 survey of the UK's 434 local council areas.

But the area's directly-elected mayor, Jules Pipe, rubbished the survey, which is based on crime, environment, lifestyle, education and employment.

Past shows had said Hackney was a great place to invest in property, he said.

There aren't knife-wielding hoodies on every corner, choking in the smog as they gorge their way through processed kebabs, before choosing which defenceless granny to attack
Hackney resident

The borough replaced Hull, which was ranked the worst place to live in last year's survey.

Property pundits Sofie Allsopp - sister of the better-known Kirstie - and Phil Spencer will present the full results in forthcoming show The Best And Worst Places To Live In The UK: 2006.

London boroughs dominated the list of worst places, with four - Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Newham and Islington - in the bottom five, joined by Merthyr Tydfil in South Wales.

'Vibrant arts'

Mr Pipe defended Hackney, saying: "This kind of programme panders to the worst sort of middle England snobbery.

"Of course Hackney has problems, as do all inner city boroughs, but it is an amazing place to live.

Tower Hamlets
Merthyr Tydfil
Blaenau Gwent
Source: The Best and Worst Places to Live in the UK: 2006, Channel 4

"It is diverse and exciting with fantastic architecture, a vibrant arts and cultural scene, and a bright future as an Olympic borough.

"If Hackney is such a terrible place, why have Phil Spencer and Kirstie Allsopp made several programmes in the past about what a great place it is to invest in property?"

Neil Leahy, of north and east London estate agents Keatons, said Hackney's property market was booming.

"It's the only London borough that hasn't seen a price drop in the last four years," he said.

"It's got a great atmosphere, a bohemian feel, fantastic markets and nightlife. Schools are improving and, all in all, it's a great place to live."

The survey, which also ran last year, compares levels of violent and sexual crime, burglary and car theft.

It also looked at factors including GCSE or equivalent pass rates for local schools, the number of retail outlets nearby, sunshine hours and rainfall, access to parks, life expectancy and rates of unemployment.

And Ms Allsopp said: "All the research is rock solid, we look at every single local authority, all 434 of them, and the figures speak for themselves."

A tale of two boroughs
30 Jun 04 |  Politics

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