New York Times

13189896_f260Once again Whitstable has featured in the New York Times, with a story about Beacon House on Tankerton Beach in its Great Homes and Destinations section. The previous occasion was in 2009 when the town appeared in the Travel section as “A Day Out From London”.

Then it concentrated on restaurants. This time it focuses on house prices.

The only quote from someone other than the owners is from Paul Jordan of Ward & Partners who tells us that property prices in the area have continued to rise in recent years, adding that “in comparison to London prices they would look very good value.”

So what does that mean? Are we to expect an influx of wealthy New Yorkers now to add to the boho Londoners who have already colonised whole segments of the town?

I know from my job as a postal worker that there are certain streets which are virtually empty in the winter months, in which the majority of houses are second homes.

Not that I’m complaining about Katrina Brown and James Drury’s ownership of Beacon House. It is a beautiful place to live.

As it says in the article, it was “unmortgageable and uninsurable” when they bought it, being only 15 metres from the sea at high tide. It needed a wealthy family to bring it back to life.

Who hasn’t walked passed the cottage on a stroll along the shore and not imagined what it would be like to live there?

Jobs

The problem is that children brought up in Whitstable are consistently being forced to move somewhere else. Not only are house prices and rents unimaginably high, but there aren’t any decent jobs available.

How many people working at Tesco are able to sustain the kind of mortgage that living in Whitstable requires these days?

This can’t be good for the life of the town.

It’s great that our town attracts artistic people like Ms Brown and Mr Drury, along with celebrities and musicians and other creative types, but without ordinary people to help give it perspective, maybe Whitstable is in danger of drowning in its own pretentiousness.

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