Comment: For many Londoners it’s the middle class dream - but is St Albans too staid?

"Staid and middle class"?: George Street, St Albans

"Staid and middle class"?: George Street, St Albans - Credit: Archant

How would you describe St Albans? “A buzzy little city”, maybe, or “staid and middle class”?

Perhaps you think it’s neither, or – like a writer from the Evening Standard’s Homes & Property section – you may think it’s both.

As the latest subject of the London paper’s ‘commuter cities’ series, St Albans again finds itself being discussed as a possible alternative for capital-dwellers looking for a change of scene.

Described as “a buzzy little cathedral city with a great street market and a fantastic selection of restaurants and bars” it begins as a case of so far, so fabulous. Who wouldn’t want to live somewhere so delightful?

The piece continues: “It also has the kind of schools that tempt parents to leave the capital, plus plenty of parks, open countryside, commons and forests for those who love the great outdoors.” Sounds about right.

It’s not all good, however: it seems that there are downsides to life in the cathedral city and, not surprisingly, the “London-style” property prices are the first thing to get a mention followed by the lack of “obvious kerb appeal” of many of St Albans’ 20th century homes.

No mention is made of the proliferation of coffee shops, often awful commute (it’s actually described as “pretty unbeatable”) or the ever-shrinking catchments of the most sought-after schools. No, there’s an even lower blow than any of that: “While pretty and peaceful, St Albans is desperately middle class and can be a bit staid.”

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Desperately middle class! Surely not?? Well, OK, maybe. Actually, yes – definitely. “A bit staid” is another matter and surely at odds with the “buzzy little city” description.

What do you reckon? Does this sounds like the St Albans you know and love? Email with your thoughts, staid, middle class or otherwise.