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Inside the UK’s ‘blandest’ towns: Cornish seaside residents welcome title in the hope it drives away second home owners (but Croydon and Peterborough agree their towns ARE depressing)


People living in some of Britain’s most depressing towns have blamed high crime rate, human excrement on the streets, and rude Gen-Zers for the unwanted tag. 

Satirical website iLiveHere published its top 20 list of the bleakest areas to live that was surprisingly topped by ‘gorgeous’ seaside town Falmouth, in Cornwall. It was propelled to the number one spot due to ‘the power of social media and word of mouth’, according to the team at iLiveHere. 

It was branded as ‘bland and boring’ and that it had an air of ‘soul-destroying mediocrity with a gaping cultural void’. 

Homes in the town – which has the third largest natural harbour in the world – sell on average for around £400,000, with celebrities such as Flog It!’s Paul Martin and novelist Joseph Conrad once calling the area home.

Locals were left furious to see their beloved hometown at the top spot and came out in fierce defence, blaming second home owners for sucking the life out of the community.   

Serial winners Peterborough, in Cambridgeshire, were pushed into second place, which also saw the likes of Alloa, in Scotland, Crawley, in West Sussex, and Croydon, in south London, make the list. 

MailOnline chatted to people in Falmouth, Peterborough, and Croydon to get their reaction and to find out whether their towns deserved to be polled so highly in the annual survey. 

An annual poll on satirical website iLiveHere has revealed the most 20 depressing towns to live in Britain

An annual poll on satirical website iLiveHere has revealed the most 20 depressing towns to live in Britain

‘Gen-Zers are ruining our seaside town in Falmouth’

Locals in Falmouth have blasted Gen-Zers and second home owners for driving up house prices for the seaside town becoming a depressing place to live.

People reacted with surprise to the verdict when MailOnline visited the Cornwall town, arguing it was last year named the second-best place to live in the county.

Falmouth is also one of the country’s top destinations for cruise ships with dozens mooring in the harbour every year and hundreds of thousands of holidaymakers visiting.

Residents and traders admitted life has got harder as a result of soaring house prices – with some complaining of locals being kicked out of homes so landlords could turn them into holiday lets which are mostly left empty all winter.

Tasha Berks, 58, who has lived on the same street in the centre of Falmouth for her entire life and now runs a bookshop blamed the growth of the town’s university – and revealed woke students have even tried to cancel her for selling books on slavery and suicide.

Tasha Berks, 58, says rude Gen-Zers come into her bookshop and tell her she shouldn't be selling books on slavery

Tasha Berks, 58, says rude Gen-Zers come into her bookshop and tell her she shouldn’t be selling books on slavery

Fishmonger Steve Lowndes, 54, thinks Falmouth is a great place to live and doesn't understand the criticism

Fishmonger Steve Lowndes, 54, thinks Falmouth is a great place to live and doesn’t understand the criticism

Residents admitted life has got harder as a result of soaring house prices – with some complaining of locals being kicked out of homes so landlords could turn them into holiday lets

Residents admitted life has got harder as a result of soaring house prices – with some complaining of locals being kicked out of homes so landlords could turn them into holiday lets

Ms Berks added :'It's a beautiful place and I can understand why they [students] want to be here, but they don't understand working class fishermen and that's what this town was'

Ms Berks added :’It’s a beautiful place and I can understand why they [students] want to be here, but they don’t understand working class fishermen and that’s what this town was’

She said: ‘As a trader I have never been more depressed because of the way young people are quite rude to me.

‘It’s not all of them – most are nice people – but I’ve had students come in and tell me I can’t have books on suicide and slavery on display.

‘One boy was taking photos of a book, I said ‘I hope you’re not just going to buy that cheaper online’ but he said he was checking if it was racist.

‘The university has got too big, there are 7,000 students living in houses local people used to live in. It’s a beautiful place and I can understand why they want to be here, but they don’t understand working class fishermen and that’s what this town was.

‘In the last three or four years most of the people we used to see all the time have left. I wish more locals would come into town and we would see old friends again, but they stay away.’

Locals also hit out at being labelled a ‘cultural void’ saying the town boasts numerous independent shops, art galleries and hosts annual oyster and sea shanty festivals.

Art gallery manager Katy Gusterson, 24, says she has always loved Falmouth and returned to the area straight away after studying at university in London.

She said: ‘There is so much culture in Falmouth, you just need to look around. The university helps create a buzz around the town.

‘The town is alive, there is great nightlife. People call it Falifornia because we have so many great beaches. It’s a busy cruise destination for a reason.’

Fishmonger Steve Lowndes, 54, opened his business after moving from millionaire’s playground Poole in Dorset and says he much prefers life in the South West.

He added: ‘Falmouth is a great place, Poole where I was before is meant to be the place to live but it’s better here.

‘There is a good community here, it is really pretty and still has a high street full of independent shops.

Falmouth is also one of the country's top destinations for cruise ships with dozens mooring in the harbour every year

Falmouth is also one of the country’s top destinations for cruise ships with dozens mooring in the harbour every year

Phil Jones, 56, said the idea that Falmouth is depressing was 'a load of rubbish' saying it is one of the best places to live in the country

Phil Jones, 56, said the idea that Falmouth is depressing was ‘a load of rubbish’ saying it is one of the best places to live in the country

Dog walkers stroll along one of the scenic beaches in the seaside town as their little pooch trots ahead

Dog walkers stroll along one of the scenic beaches in the seaside town as their little pooch trots ahead

Art gallery manager Katy Gusterson, 24, says 'people call it Falifornia because we have so many great beaches'

Art gallery manager Katy Gusterson, 24, says ‘people call it Falifornia because we have so many great beaches’

Falmouth has the third deepest natural harbour in the world, and is the deepest in western Europe

Falmouth has the third deepest natural harbour in the world, and is the deepest in western Europe

Martin Parsons, 66, was perplexed by the poll and questioned how many places had the respondents visited

Martin Parsons, 66, was perplexed by the poll and questioned how many places had the respondents visited 

‘It’s a nice pace of life, nobody rushes anything and being remote is what makes it special.

‘When you’re young you do everything possible to move away but people always come back.’

Phil Jones, 56, said the idea that Falmouth is depressing was ‘a load of rubbish’ adding: ‘Falmouth is one of the best places to live in the country. It’s definitely not a cultural void.

‘It’s a brilliant demographic full of interesting people and the uni helps with that.’

Martin Parsons, 66, said: ‘Last year it was one of the best places to live – that’s quite a drop. How few places have these people been to?

‘Why would you not want to live in Cornwall – there is so much to do down here.’

In 2022, comedian, artist and musician Seamas Carey said he could no longer afford to rent let alone get on the property ladder in Falmouth because of people flocking to the area to buy homes.

‘I am only too well aware of the issues going on here right now; the lack of affordable housing and the high demand which is pushing house prices up and up; I’m worried about the lack of infrastructure, hospital beds, the roads filling up, the bins overflowing, the surging footfall in the countryside causing damage to the landscape and the eco system,’ he said.

Mayor Kirstie Edwards says residents in the Cornish seaside spot have taken the news with a ‘pinch of salt’.

But Ms Edwards, who took up the position in May last year, took a lighthearted view of the iLiveHere survey.

She said: ‘Falmouth is often highlighted as an exemplar of partnership work despite the many and varied challenges thrown at us as a town, county, and country.

‘We do everything possible together as a community to make it a varied, inclusive, fun and supportive place to live.

Falmouth was branded as 'bland and boring' and that it had an air of 'soul-destroying mediocrity with a gaping cultural void'

Falmouth was branded as ‘bland and boring’ and that it had an air of ‘soul-destroying mediocrity with a gaping cultural void’

In 2022, comedian, artist and musician Seamas Carey said he could no longer afford to rent let alone get on the property ladder in Falmouth because of people flocking to the area to buy homes.

In 2022, comedian, artist and musician Seamas Carey said he could no longer afford to rent let alone get on the property ladder in Falmouth because of people flocking to the area to buy homes.

‘The current ‘news’ online hasn’t spoken to local people or visited our lovely town – so for now I’ll take it with a pinch of salt.

‘The response from people in Falmouth has been fairly humorous with many stating it’s a great article – as it might make it affordable for local people to live here and make the beaches quieter. You’ve got to love the Cornish sense of humour!’

Another local suggested the poll may been rigged by envious residents of rival towns.

Jade Thipps, 29, who works at Good Vibes Cafe in Falmouth, said: ‘The poll is not true and totally unjust – I’ve never lived anywhere less depressing or boring.

‘We heard the whole thing was started by other people whose town always gets voted the worst. I think some people are jealous.’

Falmouth University welcomes thousands of students back each year. A spokesperson said: ‘As Cornwall’s University, we’re probably a little biased.

‘But it’s more telling that Falmouth is routinely voted one of the UK’s best places and happiest places to live over the years according to The Sunday Times, Coast Magazine and many others.

‘Our location is one of the major draws our students cite for wanting to study here, coupled with Falmouth’s flourishing music scene, reputation as a cultural hotbed and foodie hub.

‘Along with our incredible facilities and staff, creative industry links, world-class research and a multi-disciplinary approach to learning, it’s a great place to live, work and study.’

Falmouth trumped Peterborough by 27 votes, while Aberdeen and Alloa in Scotland came third and fourth on the list.

Locals also hit out at being labelled a 'cultural void' saying the town boasts numerous independent shops, art galleries and hosts annual oyster and sea shanty festivals

Locals also hit out at being labelled a ‘cultural void’ saying the town boasts numerous independent shops, art galleries and hosts annual oyster and sea shanty festivals

Best thing about ‘grim’ Peterborough is ‘road out’

Meanwhile, in Peterborough locals thought the Cathedral city was deserving of its place on the list with some saying the best thing about it is the ‘road out’. 

Grubby, boring, crime-ridden with too many migrants, homeless, druggies and drunks, they chorus when asked why the Cambridgeshire city keeps spiralling downhill.

The list goes on: Shops shutting, burglaries, e-cyclists tearing through pedestrianised streets nearly knocking people over, tree branches toppling on the few remaining stalls and an uncaring council.

But there must be one good thing, MailOnline asked, with Lithuanian Vodafone worker Arvydas Kurauskas, 23, echoing the sentiments of others, replying: ‘I would need to think quite a lot about that – there is nothing good!’

Locals were happy to moan and groan to our visiting team this week and many people using expletives to describe the undesirable East of England commuter city.

Some have lived here forever and despite their disparaging remarks refuse to move out, with great-grandmother Sheila Hammond quipping: ‘Better the devil you know!’

The retired carer, 81, scoffed: ‘There’s nothing decent about this place. It’s a dump. But would I move, no way.’

Cathedral city Peterborough was dubbed by locals as grubby, boring, crime-ridden with too many migrants, homeless, druggies and drunks

Cathedral city Peterborough was dubbed by locals as grubby, boring, crime-ridden with too many migrants, homeless, druggies and drunks

Other gripes included shops shutting, burglaries, e-cyclists tearing through pedestrianised streets nearly knocking people over

Other gripes included shops shutting, burglaries, e-cyclists tearing through pedestrianised streets nearly knocking people over

Shattered glass in the door of the British Heart Foundation shop on Bridge Street which was vandalised

Shattered glass in the door of the British Heart Foundation shop on Bridge Street which was vandalised

Police officers on patrol in the city stop and chat with shoppers on a wet and dreary day

Police officers on patrol in the city stop and chat with shoppers on a wet and dreary day 

Engineer Vasile Laza, 28, a Romanian resident, and his Spanish girlfriend Elena, 24, who is visiting from her home near Seville

Engineer Vasile Laza, 28, a Romanian resident, and his Spanish girlfriend Elena, 24, who is visiting from her home near Seville

Rough sleeper Stephen Shears, 33, said it was depressing place to be and imagined it was one of the worst cities in the country

Rough sleeper Stephen Shears, 33, said it was depressing place to be and imagined it was one of the worst cities in the country

Locals were happy to moan and groan to our visiting team this week and many people using expletives to describe the undesirable East of England commuter city

Locals were happy to moan and groan to our visiting team this week and many people using expletives to describe the undesirable East of England commuter city

Some locals did point to the city's many lovely buildings, such as The Guildhall (pictured) in Cathedral Square

Some locals did point to the city’s many lovely buildings, such as The Guildhall (pictured) in Cathedral Square

Teresa Atkins, 54, a former hospital cleaner, said 'there's loads of crime and we're too scared to come out at night'

Teresa Atkins, 54, a former hospital cleaner, said ‘there’s loads of crime and we’re too scared to come out at night’

Graffiti scrawled over one closed down shop in Bridge Street with a sleeping bag and cushions outside the front which were being used by a homeless person

Graffiti scrawled over one closed down shop in Bridge Street with a sleeping bag and cushions outside the front which were being used by a homeless person

There were plenty of shoppers out and about in the city and visiting The Queensgate shopping centre (pictured)

There were plenty of shoppers out and about in the city and visiting The Queensgate shopping centre (pictured)

The mother-of-five, who is on sick benefits for mental health issues, was out shopping with her daughter Lyn Hammond, 51, who said bluntly: ‘It’s a s*** hole. The best thing about Peterborough is the road out!’

Ms Hammond, who has kids aged between 23 and 33, told how the local Asda supermarket loos were ‘absolutely disgusting’.

She said: ‘We complained to the cleaners because the toilets were were filthy and there was nowhere to change my grandson, no changing table so I had to take my coat off and put it on the floor to give the baby a new nappy.

She added: ‘The best place is the bus station, get the bus out and get bl***dy gone. There’s nothing good about this place.’

Fruit and veg trader Stephen Wetherill said: ‘The amount of crime here, homelessness, drug addicts, down and outs urinating on the streets, anti social behaviour is escalating. It is horrendous.

‘The queues at the Job Centre opposite my stall are getting longer, the time cops pound the street is getting shorter and crime is growing daily.’

Mr Wetherill said: ‘In my eyes the people who run the place are partly to blame – the council, doesn’t care, neither do police.’

The long serving trader from Spalding, Lincolnshire, who lost his pitch on the popular market when it closed several years ago, admitted: ‘I wouldn’t want to live here!’

He said: ‘I work here, I have to, but it has become a depressing, dangerous place to be. People living here are on very low wages and don’t have any spare money.’

The trader, with a queue or regulars at his Bridge Street pitch, spared time to show our team video footage of a thug recently kicking in a shop window, saying: ‘This behaviour is disgraceful but he gets away with it.’

Grocery store worker Janet Russell, 58, gave the city a bit more praise although did admit it was a boring place to live

Grocery store worker Janet Russell, 58, gave the city a bit more praise although did admit it was a boring place to live 

The Long Causeway in Peterborough with the city being bluntly described by one unimpressed person as a 's***hole*

The Long Causeway in Peterborough with the city being bluntly described by one unimpressed person as a ‘s***hole*

Norman Donson, 59, a former ex security worker, now off work and surviving on sick benefits, said 'it's no surprise it's ranked as one of the worst'

Norman Donson, 59, a former ex security worker, now off work and surviving on sick benefits, said ‘it’s no surprise it’s ranked as one of the worst’

Police officers pound the beat in Peterborough's Bridge Street earlier this week

Police officers pound the beat in Peterborough’s Bridge Street earlier this week 

The River Nene with an empty can of lager discarded on the side as swans swim past, In the background sits the still unopened Hilton hotel despite being advertised as opening in September 2022

The River Nene with an empty can of lager discarded on the side as swans swim past, In the background sits the still unopened Hilton hotel despite being advertised as opening in September 2022

Vasile Laza, 28, Romanian resident, engineer and his Spanish girlfriend Elena, 24. Vasile said it was a boring place to live and there was nothing to do

Vasile Laza, 28, Romanian resident, engineer and his Spanish girlfriend Elena, 24. Vasile said it was a boring place to live and there was nothing to do 

Fruit and veg trader Stephen Wetherill said 'crime, homelessness, drug addicts, down and outs urinating on the streets, and anti social behaviour is escalating'

Fruit and veg trader Stephen Wetherill said ‘crime, homelessness, drug addicts, down and outs urinating on the streets, and anti social behaviour is escalating’

Wendy Dockerill, 55, said 'it is so sad to see so many shops closing and no future for the city. That is a depressing thought'

Wendy Dockerill, 55, said ‘it is so sad to see so many shops closing and no future for the city. That is a depressing thought’

Shoppers walk past the Peterborough town hall. One person we spoke to claimed there were 'yobs tearing around on e-bikes'

Shoppers walk past the Peterborough town hall. One person we spoke to claimed there were ‘yobs tearing around on e-bikes’ 

He added: ‘No one even wants to shop here any more, John Lewis closed down, M&S is closing.

‘When shoppers do come out they risk getting felled by falling branches or yobs tearing around on e-bikes in pedestrianised places.’

Shop worker Donna Reed, who lives in the city, said: ‘It’s my home, there’s good points and bad points like with most places.

‘I’ve moved away a couple of times in the past but I always come back. Sometimes I wonder why.’

The mum-of-three, 48, tried to enthuse: ‘There are beautiful buildings but they are a bit run down and people here are quite friendly.’

She added: ‘Me and my kids keep ourselves to ourselves and we daren’t venture out at night.’

Fellow resident Teresa Atkins, 54, said: ‘Sometimes it’ so depressing here, all the best shops have closed or are closing down, there’s loads of crime and we’re too scared to come out at night.

Her partner Norman Donson, 59, a former ex security worker, now off work and surviving on sick benefits, said: ‘It’s no surprise it’s ranked as one of the worst and most depressing places to live in the country. I’d put it bottom of the table.’

Resident Janet Russell, 58, told how she had lived in the city for 20 years after moving up from London to be near her parents.

She confessed: ‘On a plus, it is a less stressful place to live than the capital but on the downside it is becoming a bit more scary with more crime happening, but there seems to be crime everywhere.’

The grocery store worker said: ‘It’s boring here and nothing to do for the kids – play groups and youth clubs have closed and for the adults there’s no culture or even good shopping.

‘It’s a lack of funding by the council, they have problems managing their money, causing some problems.

Some have lived here forever and despite their disparaging remarks refuse to move out, with great-grandmother Sheila Hammond quipping: 'Better the devil you know!'

Some have lived here forever and despite their disparaging remarks refuse to move out, with great-grandmother Sheila Hammond quipping: ‘Better the devil you know!’

People visit the shops that remain in Bridge Street, Peterborough, which was named as one of the most depressing places to live

People visit the shops that remain in Bridge Street, Peterborough, which was named as one of the most depressing places to live 

‘It used to be such a lovely place and people would come from miles around to visit the market and other decent shops which have now all closed.

‘But we have some nice people here, many very friendly and we accept different cultures and nationalities.’

Even rough sleeper Stephen Shears, 33, agreed the city was depressing.

The jobless tiler and carpenter said: ‘There’s a lot of homeless here, it’s got worse. It’s a depressing place to be and I can imagine one of the worst cities in the country to live in.’

Settled in his spot opposite bakery and sandwich shop Greggs with all his worldly goods tucked into his backpack, he told how kindhearted passers-by often treated him to a favourite meal of a ham and cheese toastie washed down with a latte coffee.

The friendly young man, huddled under a sleeping bag, said: ‘You see the same faces on the streets, people in and out of jail come back, and then a few new faces pop up.’

He told how he had become homeless after his mother died five years ago and said the council ‘gave away our home and kicked me out’.

Two friendly community police officers – a male and female on patrol in the troubled city – stopped to chat to shoppers.

Visitor Wendy Dockerill said: ‘It is so sad to see so many shops closing and no future for the city. That is a depressing thought.’

The former teaching assistant, 55, said: ‘Businesses are closing very day because the rents and rates are too high and they can’t afford to pay them.

‘There’s no independent shops because of that problem so we are left with a city with a bare minimum of shops.’

Romanian resident Vasile Laza complained about the place, saying: ‘It is so boring There is nothing to do!

Croydon is a ‘toilet’ with ‘excrement everywhere’ 

In Croydon, high street shoppers braving the rain were far from glowing about the town, with some describing it as a ‘toilet’.  

They cited a lack of shops, high crime, and litter as among the reasons why the south London town was deemed to be a dismal place to set up home.

Bin man John, 64, who was shopping with his wife, said he had lost count of the number of times he had been threatened on the streets with a knife.

‘Croydon is an absolute toilet,’ he said. ‘There is human excrement everywhere on the streets.

‘All you can smell is urine and cannabis everywhere. We can’t afford to move so we are stuck where we are.’

In Croydon, high street shoppers braving the rain were far from glowing about the town, with some describing it as a 'toilet'

In Croydon, high street shoppers braving the rain were far from glowing about the town, with some describing it as a ‘toilet’

They cited a lack of shops, high crime , and litter as among the reasons why the south London town was deemed to be a dismal place to set up home

They cited a lack of shops, high crime , and litter as among the reasons why the south London town was deemed to be a dismal place to set up home

Empty boarded up shops in George Street with graffiti along the front makes the area look like a bit of an eyesore

Empty boarded up shops in George Street with graffiti along the front makes the area look like a bit of an eyesore

One grandmother blamed boredom for the high crime and had high hopes that plans for a Westfield shopping centre would reinvigorate the dull looking centre

One grandmother blamed boredom for the high crime and had high hopes that plans for a Westfield shopping centre would reinvigorate the dull looking centre

Debbie Monckton, 62, (left) and her daughter Vicky Monckton, 32 (right) were born and raised in the area and feel very scared shopping in the town centre now

Debbie Monckton, 62, (left) and her daughter Vicky Monckton, 32 (right) were born and raised in the area and feel very scared shopping in the town centre now

The couple have lived in the area for 30 years and are saddened by Croydon’s demise, saying that it used to be a nice place to call home.

John added: ‘It used to be a lovely place where you could bring your kids. It’s really sad what has happened here.

‘I wish that they would clean up Croydon, it could be a good place.’

Roxanne Hall, a 64-year-old grandmother from nearby Thornton Heath, has lived in the area since she arrived from South America in 1971.

Visiting the town centre with her 84-year-old mother, the semi-retired sectional health worker believes Croydon has seriously gone downhill due to the amount of illness and crime.

She said: ‘I don’t come to Croydon anymore. It is not safe for women like my mum.

‘It was a lovely area, but it is all junkies now. Lots of the people coming here are sick already and it’s not their fault.

‘I am scared to walk down here because someone could come up to me. I had an experience by the station the other day where someone begged me for a pound, and I said ‘no’ so she stalked me.’

Another grandmother who has seen the town’s deterioration was 65-year-old Anne Marie, from South Croydon, who was visiting with her granddaughter to do some shopping.

She blames boredom for the high crime and had high hopes that plans for a Westfield shopping centre would reinvigorate the centre after a gluttony of big named stores started to disappear from the high street. 

‘They started slowly closing all the shops to make room for it and still nothing has happened, she said. 

Roxanne Hall, a 64-year-old grandmother from nearby Thornton Heath, has lived in the area since she arrived from South America in 1971. She says the town is boring

Roxanne Hall, a 64-year-old grandmother from nearby Thornton Heath, has lived in the area since she arrived from South America in 1971. She says the town is boring 

One couple who had lived in the area for 30 years are saddened by Croydon's demise, saying that it used to be a nice place to call home

One couple who had lived in the area for 30 years are saddened by Croydon’s demise, saying that it used to be a nice place to call home

Philip and Sandra Cooper, both 78, have lived in the area their whole lives and experienced no issues

Philip and Sandra Cooper, both 78, have lived in the area their whole lives and experienced no issues

Another person said: 'It was a lovely area, but it is all junkies now. Lots of the people coming here are sick already and it's not their fault'

Another person said: ‘It was a lovely area, but it is all junkies now. Lots of the people coming here are sick already and it’s not their fault’

Dylan Reid, 21, left Croydon for four years to live in Plumstead, south east London, and only came back to the area last August, which made him realise how good he had it in the town

Dylan Reid, 21, left Croydon for four years to live in Plumstead, south east London, and only came back to the area last August, which made him realise how good he had it in the town

Metal fencing around a building in Croydon which has been tagged with graffiti

Metal fencing around a building in Croydon which has been tagged with graffiti

Rubbish bags piled up on top of wheelie bins in the centre of Croydon town centre

Rubbish bags piled up on top of wheelie bins in the centre of Croydon town centre

Rubbish piled up outside a boarded up premises included plastic green chairs, a mattress and cardboard boxes

Rubbish piled up outside a boarded up premises included plastic green chairs, a mattress and cardboard boxes

‘We haven’t got anything, all the big shops are gone. It is sad to see. In the last year this place has seriously deteriorated.

‘There is nothing for young people to do. It needs renewing and the shops need to come back. Crime has gone up because there is nothing else to offer.’

She has found that living in Croydon has become shameful because of its bad reputation.

She added: ‘We need to put the pride back in Croydon. It is very depressing here. I used to feel proud telling people that I lived in Croydon, they found it nice.

‘Now I don’t want to tell people that I live in Croydon, I lie. I don’t know what the council is going to do about it because we have no money.’

Debbie Monckton, 62, and her daughter, Vicky Monckton, 32 were born and raised in the area and feel very scared shopping in the town centre now.

Debbie said: ‘It was all good. You came to the shops, held your handbag and you didn’t have to worry about it.

‘It has got depressing. There is nothing here. You do have to look over your shoulder when you walk around here. If my mum were here, she’d have a fit.

‘When they go past me on their scooters, I hold on to my purse.

‘My daughter says not to put my bag on my trolley but I can see it there. If I put it on my shoulder, people will just grab it. She thinks I should keep it inside instead.’

Debbie said that when raising her children she sent them to a school outside Croydon in the hopes that they would be more safe.

Vicky added: ‘It’ll be a lot better when Westfield comes here but it won’t change the people. The gangs and all this face recognition. It’s awful.

‘I don’t let my mum go anywhere around here by herself.’

The area was commonly acknowledged as a particularly dangerous place for women, as noted by 29-year-old Bianca Otelea from Romania, who says she doesn’t feel safe walking home from work.

A sign erected in Croydon town centre by the Croydon Bid team tries to depict a warmer environment with sunflowers and the tagline: 'Delivering brighter streets'

A sign erected in Croydon town centre by the Croydon Bid team tries to depict a warmer environment with sunflowers and the tagline: ‘Delivering brighter streets’

A plaque in the town centre commemorates the widening of the high street from a width of 29feet to 50 feet

A plaque in the town centre commemorates the widening of the high street from a width of 29feet to 50 feet

A depressing looking area in Croydon with graffiti daubed over telephone boxes

A depressing looking area in Croydon with graffiti daubed over telephone boxes 

A metal fence outside Turkish restaurant Anfora which is currently temporarily closed, according to Google

A metal fence outside Turkish restaurant Anfora which is currently temporarily closed, according to Google 

People walk along the streets of Croydon with the town's famous tram lines seen to the right. The transport links have been highly praised by some

People walk along the streets of Croydon with the town’s famous tram lines seen to the right. The transport links have been highly praised by some

More empty shops along the street in Croydon which appears to be one of main gripes among the people we spoke to

More empty shops along the street in Croydon which appears to be one of main gripes among the people we spoke to 

One person said: 'I like living in Croydon. The tram is amazing and there are lots of nice things to do'

One person said: ‘I like living in Croydon. The tram is amazing and there are lots of nice things to do’

People walk along a street in Croydon to a background of empty shops with their shutters down

People walk along a street in Croydon to a background of empty shops with their shutters down 

Croydon police worker Jay, 23, said that he has been very busy in the month that he has worked there

Croydon police worker Jay, 23, said that he has been very busy in the month that he has worked there

A mattress and tent supposedly used by one of the many homeless people in the town

A mattress and tent supposedly used by one of the many homeless people in the town 

There appeared to be quite a few people milling around, despite Croydon being voted as one of the most depressing places to live

There appeared to be quite a few people milling around, despite Croydon being voted as one of the most depressing places to live 

The High Street shop worker said: ‘If it wasn’t for my fiancé I would have moved away from here a long time ago.

‘I finish work at 9pm and if my boyfriend can’t come and get me then I need to get an Uber home because I am too scared.

‘People always ask you for money and cigarettes and if you say no then they scream and shout at you.

‘Just the other week one of them was shouting at me threatening to kill me. It is not safe.’

Croydon police worker Jay, 23, said that he has been very busy in the month that he has worked there.

He said: ‘There are definitely a lot of problems here, especially with crime.

‘They have a specific crime unit for this town centre because there is so much to deal with. It is really busy.’

However, not everyone hates living in the area. Some residents said that they disagree with their ranking and think Croydon is a safe, happy place to live.

Husband and wife Philip and Sandra Cooper, both 78, have lived in the area their whole lives and experienced no issues.

Philip said: ‘There is a superb transport link to central London and lots of lovely shows.

‘I have never seen any trouble here. I know that there is trouble, but I have never seen it and I have never felt threatened here.’

Sandra added: ‘I like living in Croydon. The tram is amazing and there are lots of nice things to do.

‘There are issues, but I have not experienced anything, so I do feel safe here.’

The retired couple did however note that ‘so many lovely stores have closed’ and the area is not quite what it used to be.

Dylan Reid, 21, was born at Croydon University Hospital, known back then as Mayday Hospital.

He left for four years to live in Plumstead, south east London, and only came back to the area last August.

He believes that time away made him realise how good people really have it in Croydon.

He said: ‘Coming back to Croydon has given me a new appreciation that it’s not as bad as everyone thinks it may be.

‘Croydon gets a bad reputation but there are certainly worse places to be, especially in South London.

‘It might just be a nostalgic thing, being out of my own area made me appreciate being here. Maybe it is as bad as everyone says.’

Agnes Ackon, 25, works as a cache processor, and loves the area. She disagrees with its bad reputation as it is such a great integration of so many cultures

Agnes Ackon, 25, works as a cache processor, and loves the area. She disagrees with its bad reputation as it is such a great integration of so many cultures

Two London buses pass each other on a wet and dreary day in Croydon

Two London buses pass each other on a wet and dreary day in Croydon 

A battered fence with moss ravaging the panels with a dilapidated looking building in the background

A battered fence with moss ravaging the panels with a dilapidated looking building in the background

A line of shops including a dental centre, nail bar, Browns cafe, and a Subway along Wellesley Road

A line of shops including a dental centre, nail bar, Browns cafe, and a Subway along Wellesley Road

Many shoppers believe the town will be a lot better once Westfield shopping centre opens with it being included in Croydon's regeneration plans

Many shoppers believe the town will be a lot better once Westfield shopping centre opens with it being included in Croydon’s regeneration plans

He laughed as he added: ‘When you’ve been in another s**thole, you appreciate your own s**thole more.

‘Where I work, I’ve got one of the townlink radios so I can hear the Croydon Rangers and it’s rife.

‘I don’t feel threatened or intimidated walking through Croydon, but I can easily see how others would.’

Agnes Ackon, 25, works as a cache processor, and moved to Croydon with her family from Italy five years ago.

She loves the area and disagrees with its bad reputation as it is such a great integration of so many cultures.

She said: ‘It’s multicultural, that’s what I like about Croydon. People trying to live together regardless of their differences and try to find common grounds.’

She added that in Croydon and surrounding areas, there is a lot for young people to do like youth centres, gym and libraries.

‘If you don’t involve yourself in activities or go out, it would be depressing for you.’



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