Normanton is only six miles away from Wakefield, but a world away in atmosphere. A small town, with around 12,000 inhabitants, 12 miles away from Leeds with excellent access to the M1 and M62 motorways. I grew up in this town, and have just returned after 15 years to be closer to my family. The place has hardly changed a bit in all these years. Progress is a thing that Normanton hasn't quite got the hang of, despite the amazingly busy Europort freight terminal, and several large industrial estates being built on the edge of town. Neighbouring Castleford seems to have been the beneficiary of jobs and increased commercial activity. Local unemployment is still quite high, but this seems to be more an unwillingness to travel, than a lack of nearby jobs. House prices are very cheap indeed. It is possible to get a three bedroom house, double glazed, central heating, gardens and garage for a little over £30,000. We rent at the moment, and where we were paying £500 a month in Leeds, we got a better place in Normanton for almost half the price. With Trains and buses to Leeds and the proximity of the motorways it's a great base, not good for local shopkeepers, but good for the landlords. Local shops have taken a battering in the last few years. The high street was pedestrianised and the local council imposed pay and display parking for the first time. Both of these measures were unpopular with local traders, who asked the council to come up with ideas to revitalise the high street. The council promptly responded by granting planning permission to build a cut price supermarket on the edge of town! Brown envelope anyone. So if you're looking for a shoppers paradise this isn't it, although it has enough to get by and the local shopkeepers are incredibly friendly, as are the locals. Local schools are good, the park is beautiful, and safe, the police station closes at 6pm, so if you are going to require
police assistance please be considerate and call them during business hours. Local pubs have a good atmosphere, as they usually do when a high proportion of customers are steady regulars. If you are looking for more excitement in the evening, nearby Wakefield has more than enough(see opinion on Wakefield) Although some people have taken advantage of the lack of a police presence, on the whole crime hasn't got that quality of life destroying impact in Normanton, as it has in most other local towns and cities. At the moment, the place is perfect for me. Schools, shops,pubs, take-aways, trains, buses and a mother and grandmother who are willing to baby sit, all within short walking distance of a nice cheap house. I have only used my car once in the last 3 months ( another saving). So all in all it isn't the most exciting place around, but it is friendly and easy going, and if you work in Leeds but could do without the stress and expense of living there take a look at Normanton. The money you could save would maybe mean an extra holiday a year, or even the new PC you keep promising yourself.