I have been living in Telford since 1997, having moved to England from Cananda.
Although Telford does lack culture, it makes up for it in having everything else you need in shops and services. You won't get anything much in restaurants apart from the chain ones, but if that suits you then Telford is the place to be - if not, then Shrewsbury is on 20 mins by car down the road, where the restaurant scene is totally different!
So, living in Telford gives you the best of both worlds - you can get all the run of the mill shops you are used to - Debenhams, B&Q, Primark, Marks & Spencer, etc, but if you fancy something different, then Ironbridge and Shrewsbury are only down the road.
Lots of charity shops in Wellington and Oakengates too, if that is your scene!
The town centre is the main indoor shopping mall, flanked by a few well stocked retail parks. The town centre is going to change a lot in the next few years though, with a new hotel, cinema and leisure complex, plus new housing, to be put in place - check out "The heart of Telford" on the internet if you want to find out more! Parking for shopping is ample, but you do have to pay, but the rates are the same as anywhere else.
Lots of cycleways to use as well.
People find it confusing to drive round if they are not from Telford, as there are lots and lots of roundabouts!
Still a town to find its feet, but give it 20 more years and I think it will be just right!
I just decided to see whether anyone had reviewed my home town of Telford and was amazed (and a bit sad) to find that the answer was yes - but neither was particularly positive, so I thought I should review it myself and maybe even up the rating.
I won't lie to you, Telford has its problems, but I think they are ones which any town across the UK can identify with to a certain extent, I am sure there are worse places to live - and it does have some good points. Lets look at the accusations which have been levelled at it first.
1) Nothing to do - Telford is a 'new town' (it was 'built' in the 1960's but what they mean by this is that a number of smaller towns - Oakengates, Wellington, Dawley etc - were amalgamated into one and a load of new estates built in between). As such it has grown at a fast pace over a small amount of time and this means that some things are still not particularly established, one of these is its own identity (more of which later) and another is a good nightlife scene.
Telford does have an ice rink though (which surrounding places like Wolverhampton do not), a bowling alley and an Odean cinema, the town park, a world heritage site (Ironbridge and associated museums), tons of pubs, bars and restaurants, miles of bridleways and cycle routes and an extensive shopping centre which has two department stores (Debenhams and House of Fraser). If you cannot find something to do in that little lot then im puzzled as to what you think is missing?!
The local centres of Wellington, Oakengates and nearby Shifnal (has a Telford postcode but is in fact a seperate town) have night life in the form of late licence bars and nightclubs. Yes - there is a problem with underage drinking and personally I never go to the clubs like Pussycats (Wellington) because I know it will be full of idiotic drunken teenagers, but if I was one still I am sure I would frequent the place!
I am certain that in future years the town will see an improvement in the nightclub scene, previous incanations of a 'central' nightclub at the town centre have failed due to allegations of drugs and violence but there is currently a facebook campaign to re-open and relaunch and I am hopeful at some point this will happen. Nowhere is perfect.
2) Chavs - Telford has been unfairly labelled the chav capital of the UK in the press and on various websites in the past. I laughed when I read this, I know what they are getting at but im sure it cannot be the chaviest place in Britain!? Unfortunately for Telford there are a number of sink estates (which were originally built to take overspill from Birmingham's council estates) and which are pretty rough, it is not uncommon to see burnt out cars and buildings, tons of graffiti and a lot of teenage mothers in these areas and the town centre can be a meeting point for gangs of kappa tracksuited teenagers - but these are problems the whole UK is facing, not just Telford.
3) Crime - yes crime happens more in Telford than in any other part of Shropshire, but thats because the rest of Shropshire (away from Shrewsbury and Ludlow) is mostly populated by sheep. It stands to reason that the largest community in the county is going to have the highest crime rate.
Personally I have had my car broken into a couple of times but nothing else. I have never been mugged despite the bad press and nor do I know anyone who has - however, if we were talking about nearby Wolverhampton then I do indeed know people who have been mugged and / or attacked there.
Now for some of the good points about Telford because YES! there are some:
1) Location - there are a couple of benefits to living in Telford, one is that if you are a business person like me you can commute easily to Wolverhampton and Birmingham and we are well placed both to get to Manchester (1.5-2hrs depending on traffic) and London (2-3hrs depending on traffic). We share the convenience of Birmingham in that sense but with the added bonus that we are actually surrounded by countryside. I like the fact that 5 mins from my door I can be surrounded by peace and quiet and fields.
The local landscape is beautiful and can be fully appreciated from the top of the Wrekin, an ancient and dormant volcano which is now a wooded hill on the north side of the town, it takes about an hour and a half to climb it but its worth it for the views, apparently on a clear day you can see all the way to the Liverpool docks although I have never achieved this. You get a real sense of how rural we are here from this viewpoint though, fields as far as you can see in some directions.
2) Shopping - I know I am biased but I do love Telford Town Centre for shopping, everything is under cover so the weather cannot affect your trip, the array of stores is great, two department stores and every big name you can think of, the only things I think we are missing are Gap and possibly a Lakeland (but thats because I am a kitchen store geek!). Every other big name - Lush, Boots, Zara, Waterstones, HMV, Monsoon, Body Shop, Hotel Chocolat and many many more are all there. Check out www.telfordshopping.co.uk for a full list of shops.
3) Cost of houses - it is more affordable to live in Telford than many places in the UK, prices have been falling and there are some nice areas which I would not mind living in if I ever move back there (I currently live on the outskirts in Shifnal), Priorslee, Ketley and Ironbridge are all fairly nice and some of the brand new community estates such as Lawley Village offer a fantastic little community hub with their own GP surgerys, dentists, shops and pubs. Less character? Maybe but you will see your money go further.
4) Transport links - even if you dont drive, Telford is linked by rail to the south through Wolverhampton and Birmingham to London and to the north via Shrewsbury to Manchester and north Wales. There is also a good bus system and National Express go from the Town Centre to many destinations across the country.
5) Ironbridge, Newport and Shifnal - these little 'mini towns' are all major centres for culture and history (Ironbridge) or eating out (all 3), tons of bars, pubs and restaurants, some with cracking views of the River Severn or the countryside, well worth a visit if you are in the area and lovely places to live too.
6) Education - Telford has a number of specialist academy schools including the oft-featured-on-the-news Thomas Telford which has been among the top performing state schools in the country for a number of years.
So there you go - I hope this is a more balanced view of my home town, much maligned in the past but not as bad as some would have you believe. Thanks for reading, I know this is a bit of a mammoth review but it was close to my heart!
Telford, like many places in England, is slowly becoming one of the biggest dumps around. Only ten years ago I remember moving here with my parents because it was so nice. So peaceful. I used to walk to nursery with mom and pass the fields with horses and sheep. There was a bank over the road from me that I would hide in and build little dens. Now let me tell you what I see. I now see the fields whilst I’m on the bus (I’m getting too old to walk!) and they are no longer full of wildlife. In fact, there's a whole new village on their which seems to have been magically built in one and a half years! Everywhere I look there is smoke because Telford has become a big factory residence. We are supposed to be proud of ourselves, being one of the UK's main industrial estates but it really isn't nice. Everywhere I look there are big grey factories staring at me. Houses have become so decreased in value that people can't be bothered to repair the slates hanging off the roofs. If you walk down my road you will see smashed windows, the bank that once had lovely trees now is black where kids have set fire to it, the bridge is covered in graffiti. Only the other day I was in the car when he had to turn the other way because a man was going to jump off the bridge and the police were trying to get him down. I know how you feel mate. People say to me "oh Telford, I know where that is, Ironbridge is there". I don't know how Telford ever got to be seen as the beautiful town it is because of one stupid bridge. So it was the first bridge ever to be built from Iron, have you ever seen it when the rain falls and turns the houses into one big mudslide? It gets so bad that people have to canoe out of their houses and I’m not exaggerating. If you love all the hustle and bustle of a town, you probably still wont like Telford. At night there is absolutely nothing to do and we all have to suffer t
he awful transport system in an attempt to get to Wolverhampton or anywhere far away from this boring town. Ok, so we have a ten screen cinema which is clean, an ice rink that’s also used for a *ahem* club and a bowling alley but none of these are worth visiting after the 100th time. The over 18 clubs are full of drunken twelve year olds and the under 18s are full of adults trying it on with the children. If you pick up the glorious Shropshire star and take a good look in there you can guarantee that half of the happenings in there have been from Telford. There is not a day that goes past when someone hasn't been raped or mugged and that really sickens me. If you come to visit Telford then I really would advise you against it. We have a big shopping centre but it is full of sport and food shops or banks. Although the centre has just had a new design the shops in it are ancient. Why do we need 2 card shops, 3 computer game shops and 6 travel agents? If this all sounds your cup of tea then get down here. Some people are actually quite nice and not everyone here likes to ruin what used to be a beautiful town. My friend’s mom just moved here and on her first night in her new house her car tyres were slashed and her catering van had 300 eggs taken from it. The next day she woke up to find the eggs on the front of her house. I actually feel embarrassed to be living here and that's not because I'm a snob in the slightest. Telford. A place for money grabbers that don't care about the people around themselves. Please God.. Make me pass my A levels so I can go to university away from here.
Telford is a New Town in Shropshire. It's a bit of a strange place in that unlike most other new towns which are closely built, Telford is very spread out and stretches for miles. It basically comprises of some old villages tied together by motorways, and lots of new housing estates added in-between. So it has a variety of housing types and tenures. Housing in Telford is much cheaper that elsewhere- for example the same New Build estate house would cost around 30,000 less than in nearby Shrewsbury- perhaps the land is cheaper, I'm not sure exactly why but there is a big difference. You could buy a 3 bedroomed house for 40K, if you weren't too fussy where you lived. It is also very much a 'house society', flats are less available and, generally tend to be in the poorer areas. There is a great variety of areas- from council estates to very large detached houses. The main centre is a purpose built shopping centre. There are various amenities around this,a cinema, an ice rink, bingo hall, and a very large Town Park. The park is landscaped, so not exactly anatural woodland, but there is a substational amount of it about - andthe further back you get the more attractive it is. The centre is soulless, but if you want to merely shop in big name stores and have easy parking it is fine. Not an exiting place though. If you were looking for an unusual present you would be unlikely to get it there- although the have an occasional craft fair which offers 'different' and more 'unusual' things, although not always different in an attractive way. It's very much a drivers town, the car is king and 99% of people drive from 17 on. but it is not easy to get around by public transport- between 'townships' pavements are rare and it's basically a 'take a risk walking along the dual carriageway' situation. There are cycle routes, but you have to know where they are always feel the la
ck of decent public transport is a pity, people have little choice but to drive- not many buses at night - and many places would be cut off on a Sunday. For example if you wanted to go to the cinema one evening, you would take the bus to the bus station, walk across busy roads ( roads with no pedestrian crossings) or go through deserted underpasses to get to the cinema. If you have a car fine, if not less fine. There are some pubs and clubs in the older areas so you can go out- but nothing really 'happening'.The theatre at Oakengates is large and has some reasonably 'big' acts. There's a fair amount of industry and a fair amount of decent jobs, but not all. There's a lot of people that look pretty badly off - and loads of temp agencies where low paid factory jobs abound. I am trying to be fair, but I really don't like the place, although I realise that it all goes on what you like/value in life. If you want a big house and aren't really into doing much at night and are happy to drive everywhere Telford will meet your needs, if you prefer pavements to walk on you probably won't be happy there.