England

'Quality of life' and pets behind London to Birmingham moves

Birmingham skyline Image copyright Rex Features

Last year more people leaving London moved to Birmingham than any other UK city.

More than 6,000 people moved from the capital to Birmingham in 2015 with reasons such as the cost of housing being behind the trip up the M40.

Four people who have made the same move over the years tell us why they did it.

Caroline Smyth, 32, moved to Birmingham in 2014

Image copyright Caroline Smyth

Caroline works in advertising and lived in London for four years before moving to Birmingham.

"I am from Warwickshire originally, so knew the old Birmingham before all the developments, but in recent years it feels like a totally different city.

"I love how much space I now have.

"For the same money that a room in a flatshare in London cost, I have a huge apartment with a garden.

"The advertising market is increasing in Birmingham as the overheads are lower and another big agency has just relocated from London.

"My quality of life has vastly improved. I definitely made the right choice."

Aimee Burnham, moved to Birmingham in 2016

Image copyright Aimee Burnham
Image caption Aimee Burnham's dog Poppy

Aimee works in financial services and was living in Croydon before concerns about high rent and transport problems saw her move away this summer.

"I moved to a very small village in east Warwickshire where I can get into central Birmingham in 40 minutes and London Euston in just over an hour. I now feel I have the best of both worlds.

"Most importantly I bought a three-bedroom property, something I could not have done in London.

"I have the flexibility to move my office location and enjoy exploring all Birmingham has to offer.

"I do miss elements of London, but mainly my friends who all moved there after university.

"I am now the proud owner of a very cheeky Westie called Poppy, something I could not have done in London, as I couldn't have a pet whilst renting."

David Bird, 34, moved to Birmingham in 2002

David, a heating engineer, had moved between Paddington and Perivale in London. He was renting a room in a flat when his landlord told him he was selling the property.

"Moving to Birmingham was the best thing I did. People are friendly here. They will actually speak to you if you ask them for directions.

"In London, everything I was earning was just going on surviving. Now I own a couple of homes.

"London is good for the rich but everyone else struggles."

Anna Smith, 38, moved to Birmingham in 2014

Image copyright Anna Smith

Anna was "born and bred" in east London before moving to Birmingham in March 2014 to be with her partner, who had moved there for work.

"I'd visited Birmingham but never for more than a few days so I didn't really know what to expect.

"Most of my London friends thought I was giving up a lot to move away and we always expected it to be a temporary move with a longer term plan to return. Now, two-and-a-half years on, I'm not so sure.

"Birmingham has everything London has, just on a smaller scale - three theatres rather than 300.

"I relish how friendly everyone is and am taken aback at the speed and closed nature of most interactions when I return to London.

"Recently a group of my London friends visited and when they left, they said they couldn't see why we'd ever go back. We haven't quite decided yet, but that reality seems more and more likely.

"That said, and I can't explain this one, somehow I still miss the Tube."

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