Why Surrey is one of the UK's most popular places to live
PUBLISHED: 19:23 10 April 2014 | UPDATED: 19:23 10 April 2014
The chairman of the Surrey Hills Society, Chris Howard, on why our county remains one of the UK's most popular places to live
Surrey is recognised as one of the country’s leading business centres and is a major contributor to the Exchequer. There are three answers regularly quoted as to the reasons companies choose to locate themselves here. An obvious one is the “excellent transport links”, especially being sited between two international airports – Gatwick and Heathrow. There is also the easy access to London by rail.
Interestingly, the second reason often quoted is “the beautiful countryside”. Business people, in their leisure time, want “easy access to attractive green space” to cycle, run, walk or just picnic in with their families. And here in Surrey of course, we have the stunning Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to enjoy.
The third answer often given is “access to excellent schools”. Surrey has one of the best performing state sectors in the country and some of our private schools have international reputations.
Recently, I had the pleasure of visiting Box Hill School, near Dorking, with our society. We were in awe of the beautiful Victorian mansion with its Gothic styling and exquisite stained glass windows. We also learnt about the school’s association with the international Round Square Association, where the ethos is to develop the child beyond academic excellence through personal development and responsibility.
I have also had the pleasure of visiting Belmont School in Holmbury St Mary and Amesbury School in Hindhead. Like Box Hill School, they embrace the ethos of healthy outdoor activities as part of the development beyond academia. Both too have remarkable histories – Belmont was originally the home of Edwin Waterhouse, of the famous management consultancy firm, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, and Amesbury is the only school designed by the celebrated Victorian architect Edwin Lutyens.
We also have internationally famous schools like Charterhouse and Cranleigh School nestled in our beautiful countryside.
These are just some of the reasons why our green and leafy county is such a popular place to live – though, for my part, it will always be the spectacular Surrey Hills, covering a vast swathe of the county, that is the clincher for me.
If you would like to join the Surrey Hills Society, visit surreyhillssociety.org